Making a Difference:
KET Distance Learning
The quality of instruction was great. It wasn’t too fast, and I didn’t feel like I was being babied through the videos.
When Daniel Noble was just a boy, a visitor came to his class at school one day, and he was introduced to an unfamiliar and wonderful thing: the German language.
“I’ve been interested in Germany since I was a child,” said the 19-year-old freshman at the University of Kentucky. “I can remember a German woman coming to my kindergarten class and teaching us to count in German. That always stuck with me—her being, I think, the first foreigner I’d ever met in my life. So that really made an impact on me.”
Little did Daniel know that that first spark of interest would eventually ignite into a desire to study German in high school and beyond—eventually landing him a spot in the Max Kade House and Cultural Center at UK, where he and seven other students work, live, and breathe German.
Back in 9th grade at Corbin High School, Daniel enrolled in language class, eventually taking the three years of Spanish available to him. However, the German he’d experienced all those years ago tugged at him—but it was not taught at the southeastern Kentucky high school. His guidance counselor suggested he take German I via KET Distance Learning.
“It actually turned out to be a better learning experience for me because I could go at my own pace,” Daniel recalled. “If I did miss a day of school, I could do my work at home.”
KET Distance Learning classes are designed for schools which are, for a variety of reasons, unable to offer advanced courses. The current lineup includes German, Latin, physics, and the humanities. Since 1989, KET’s personalized approach to distance education has helped more than 50,000 students in 32 states achieve their academic goals.
In the courses, students learn through lessons on video, applying what they’ve learned through interactive activities on a companion web site or CD-ROM—plus, in the language courses, telephone tutoring sessions.
“The lessons were paced well,” Daniel noted. “There was a lot of information. I had a tutor named Petra—we would talk on the phone. It didn’t matter if it was 15 minutes or an hour, she would be there to help and get my language skills up to where they needed to be.”
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Daniel’s first experience with German went so well, he said, that he immediately signed up for another semester, taking German II.
“It flowed just as easily, and I was surprised because that was my last semester of high school and everything was very hectic. But that class was one I could easily keep up with, because of the flexibility.”
By this time, Daniel was hooked. A friend’s mom who matched students from abroad with American host families told Daniel about a scholarship program which would fully pay for a year of study in Germany. He applied, was interviewed, and in early 2007 was notified that he’d been awarded a scholarship in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program. Established in 1983, the program annually provides 250 full scholarships to American students. It is jointly funded by the German government and the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Department of State.
Another KET German student, Kelsey Weber of Gravel Switch, KY, is currently in Germany studying thanks to the same scholarship program as well as her preparation through KET Distance Learning.
In his year abroad, Daniel lived with a family in the German state of Saxony, in a rural area bordering Poland and the Czech Republic. “My host family did not speak English whatsoever. That really helped me. I would definitely consider myself fluent now, and I owe a lot of that to them.”
Daniel also praises his firm grounding in the language through KET’s Distance Learning courses.
“The quality of instruction was great. It wasn’t too fast, and I didn’t feel like I was being babied through the videos. You definitely had to get your work done, and on time. Just because the class was flexible doesn’t mean that it was easy!”
Today, Daniel is thinking about law school, with an eventual goal of working in the diplomatic arena. Whatever the future holds, he credits his experience with KET for giving him his start.
“I really had the advantage when I got to UK, being able to enter into a 300-level German class,” he said. “I think that’s a really good reflection on the quality of KET.”