GTF Grant Success Story #1: Shrey Bhakta

On October 1, 2022, DigiTex passed its one-year milestone for the Greater Texas Foundation grant, Harnessing Course Sharing to Support Guided Pathways at Scale. Having submitted our one-year report to Greater Texas Foundation, we are pleased to report that much progress has been made in the past year. To measure the progress of this grant project, DigiTex identified several success metrics. To fulfill one of these metrics, we will periodically be identifying students who have taken courses through our grant project and found these courses to be important to their success at their respective institutions. We are honored to share the first of these stories below! 

Written by Denise Robledo, Interim Executive Director, DigiTex

Shrey Bhakta is currently a freshman student enrolled at Texas Tech University (TTU).  Shrey is a 2022 graduate of Lamesa High School located in Lamesa, Texas.  One week prior to Shrey’s high school graduation he was awarded an Associate of Science degree from Howard College.  Shrey was determined to finish his associate degree while in high school as a dual enrolled student.  Due to Shrey’s academic accomplishments he was awarded the Dora Roberts Honors Scholarship from Howard College to take additional courses towards his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at Texas Tech University.  

Shrey didn’t want to lose out on his scholarship.  He only had the Summer 2022 semester prior to his start at TTU to enroll in a course and utilize his scholarship funds.  Shrey’s Howard College Advisor helped him to identify that General Chemistry I with a Lab was a required course for his first semester at TTU.  Unfortunately, Howard College wasn’t offering General Chemistry I with a Lab during the summer.  Shrey’s Howard College advisor suggested Shrey take his course through the Digital Higher Education Consortium of Texas (DigiTex).  DigiTex was offering a 5-week online General Chemistry I course with a Lab through Western Texas College (WTC).  Shrey really liked this option, as this meant that he could use his scholarship funds and complete his course in a month versus having to dedicate his entire Fall 2022 semester at TTU to completing the required course for his degree.  

Once enrolled in the DigiTex General Chemistry I course taught through WTC, Shrey was happy to learn that his General Chemistry I lab assignments could also be completed at home.  He said that his favorite part of the General Chemistry I course was his at-home laboratory assignments.  He also loved the flexibility of the online course delivery format.  Shrey appreciated that he could complete his coursework anytime during the day when his schedule allowed.  Lastly, Shrey wanted to recognize that his online instructor was also very supportive, quickly responding to any questions he had regarding his course materials or activities.  Shrey also couldn’t say it enough, that he felt being able to complete the General Chemistry I course in 5 weeks versus 16 weeks during a normal college semester was a wonderful advantage of taking the DigiTex online course offered by WTC.       

Another advantage of Shrey having completed his associate degree through Howard College and General Chemistry I course through DigiTex/WTC prior to his start at TTU was that his course schedule became more manageable.  Students like Shrey, who are enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree program at TTU who follow a degree plan to graduate in four years, have to complete on average 16 to 17 credit hours per semester to graduate on time.  Shrey pointed out that if he wanted to, he could graduate with his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from TTU in 2 to 3 years instead of four due to all the college credits he accumulated while in high school.  Once Shrey completes his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Shrey would like to continue studying to pursue his Master’s degree.                            

When asked if taking his online course through DigiTex/WTC had prepared him for success in his degree program at TTU, Shrey pointed out that the experience had been helpful.  When meeting with his new college advisor at TTU, it was his digital online learning experience with DigiTex/WTC that encouraged Shrey to explore online delivery options for another foundational Chemistry course he needed for his degree.  When his college advisor heard that he had already successfully taken an online college chemistry course through DigiTex, his new college advisor helped him enroll.  His new college advisor felt his prior experience  would make Shrey a good candidate to continue taking online Chemistry courses.  Shrey admitted that although most of his courses are face-to-face at TTU, having online courses can help as TTU is a big campus to navigate.  Walking from course to course on such a big campus can sometimes be a challenge.  Shrey is hoping that his more manageable course schedule and the availability of enrolling in online courses in the future will further enable him to take part in the social activities available to him on his college campus.  Shrey is looking forward to joining clubs and organizations that will allow him to better enjoy his college campus experience.