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New Distance Learning Director, Bill Knapp

GRCC Sign in Front of Ford Fieldhouse

Bill Knapp, of Big Rapids, was hired as the Director of Distance Learning on June 19.

Knapp’s experience with Distance Learning dates back to 1997 when he was the Coordinator of Instructional Technology at Ferris State University.

In 2010, Knapp transitioned to Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio, to take on a similar role. Knapp is renowned speaker and leads seminars involving Distance Learning and education in general.

“Each position faces it’s own challenges,” Knapp said. “Those challenges are what is the demand in potential growth in Distance Learning. Which programs are useful to offer?”

Knapp believes in reducing transactional distance, and increasing interactivity amongst students and faculty and said he wants the students to feel connected and comfortable to reach out to their fellow classmates and professors..

After gaining a sense of understanding about the culture at GRCC, Knapp said he hopes to introduce a form of distance learning that includes the aspect of online learning, but also has a classroom setting.

Knapp said he hopes that his strategy will allow students and faculty to, “get a sense of understanding of the opportunity we have as a college.”

It is assumed among students that online courses are less challenging, but Knapp said that is a common misconception.

“Distance Learning courses requires self-discipline and better time management, because you are not in an actual classroom,” Knapp said. “It also demands organization and writing skills. It may be more convenient, but it may also be more challenging.”

Away from GRCC, Knapp is married and has a daughter. Knapp enjoys outdoor sports, kayaking and hiking with his wife. His wife is also a photographer and she combines those hikes with her husband as photo opportunities.

Overall, Knapp expressed his excitement to get started and said he “cannot wait to arrive on campus.” Knapp is scheduled to start at GRCC on Aug. 7.