I hope you are all having a great fall start! The California Community Colleges (CCC) Online Education Initiative (OEI) team is holding implementation meetings with our pilot colleges to get them ready to participate in the OEI Exchange.
Exchange pilot activities are scheduled to begin in the 2017 spring and fall semesters and there’s a lot going on!
I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know some of what’s been going on lately. We are creating a work plan for expending the $20 million augmentation dollars the state has granted us in the budget revision. As the funds are designed to increase the ability of colleges to offer online courses to increase access to students, we have been working on plans to do just that.
Invest In Online Course Accessibility
One of the first activities is to make sure that all of the courses that have been involved in the review process are compliant with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s one of the most difficult things to accomplish in online course design and we are in the process of connecting faculty in our pilot courses with instructional designers who will address any accessibility issues in the courses.
We think this is a really important resource for faculty and one that we all should be working to accomplish, whether you are planning on participating in the online course exchange or not. When I was teaching multimedia courses online, the most difficult thing for me to do was make all of my content ADA-compliant. I needed help and it was often hard to come by.
While we have the funding for the courses we are piloting to make that kind of assistance available, not all faculty members across the state currently have access to that kind of support. So, we are asking colleges that are using OEI resources at lower or no cost to put the resulting savings toward making their online courses accessible.
By OEI covering the cost of Canvas for the CCC, there is statewide savings of $8 million dollars. By negotiating contracts at scale for other services, like plagiarism detection and tutoring, the cost to the colleges is reduced by at least 40 percent. (Not to mention that when a college adopts the ecosystem of resources we have developed, they build accreditation compliance, too.) We strongly suggest that those savings be turned back into support for local distance education programs.
Professional Development Resolution
In the spring of 2015, the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges (ASCCC), passed Resolution 12.04 S15, as follows:
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges urge local senates and bargaining units to work with their administrations to ensure that any monetary savings which may result from a district or college transitioning to a Common Course Management System (CCMS) be used primarily to support the professional development needs of distance education faculty making the transition to the new CCMS.
The ASCCC recognized that there would be cost savings from the work of the OEI and recommended that those savings be returned to the distance education programs locally. A college can provide professional development in all areas of teaching online, including how to help make courses accessible, and we encourage that colleges consider building strong programs through professional development opportunities and creating effective environments that work well for all students.
General OEI Updates
- Canvas adoptions: Currently, 92 out of 113 colleges have committed to using the Canvas CCMS. Instructure continues to be an active partner in our systemwide work by listening to our requests for improvements and following through.
- ADA compliance in the course review process: Instructional designers will this month begin working directly with faculty to address accessibility issues in courses needing additional support.
- Exchange pilot: Registration in the exchange for the eight Full-Launch pilot colleges will begin at the end of October. Anticipated end of the pilot phase, all things technical and review related going well, will be Spring 2018, with additional colleges being invited into the exchange in Fall 2017. The consortium and steering committee are currently developing criteria for first entrance of new colleges.Stay tuned!
- Course Design Rubric: Feedback regarding the implementation of the OEI Course Design Rubric has been reviewed and the rubric is now undergoing a review and revision process as the pilots ramp up.
Conference season is about to start and members of the OEI team will be just about everywhere in the months to come. Please be sure to visit with us while we are out and about!
Pat James is Executive Director of
the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative