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California Community Colleges Education Planning InitiativeEvery week brings new developments in the California Community Colleges (CCC) Education Planning Initiative (EPI). Steering committee members are participating in engaging discussions, guest speakers are attending meetings, portal developments are emerging and education planning is progressively moving forward in implementation across the state.


As the initiative is involved in many facets of what our students, staff and faculty will be utilizing in the near future, it is exciting to see the possibilities that will be available for the system as we move closer to roll-out.

Pilot College Implementations Progressing

Pilot colleges have been working directly with our partner to implement the Starfish by Hobsons Degree Planner, Early Alert and Connect products. Each of the four districts that are in the first phases of implementation are knee deep in producing work with specialists to upload new electronic education planning systems and have those functioning in the hands of counseling staff and students by the end of the year and early winter.

City College of San Francisco has almost completed its degree program builds. The next step is review by the functional teams before moving on to the next portion of implementation. This is a pivotal point as they move forward in their schedule.

El Camino College has started weekly implementation calls with its implementation specialist and has been working through some foundational documentation that is necessary for the initial setup.

Imperial Valley College personnel demonstrate use of the Starfish by Hobsons Early Alert system, September 2015.Contra Costa Community College District has successfully submitted its course catalog files and is working on building foundational items for use with its Degree Planner.

State Center Community College District recently held internal kickoff meetings at its colleges where campus personnel were introduced to the team members and the overall initiative, asked questions, and generated excitement about the pilot among the State Center community. The district has also started with the foundational documentation necessary for initial setup.

Collaboration Highlighted

At the Education Planning Tool and Degree Audit System (EPTDAS) Steering Committee meeting, Imperial Valley College (IVC) was invited to discuss its use of the Starfish by Hobsons Early Alert system. The committee members were able to ask questions, see a demonstration and learn how IVC works with the faculty to obtain specific criteria to utilize the system in a more robust manner to effectively create change on the campus. It was a terrific learning experience for the entire group.

In coming months, the committee will hear from additional colleges to learn more about how they are using the products and their approaches to student success and faculty engagement.

Student Portal Design Set

A finalized design structure for the statewide Student Services Portal has been reached via repeated iteration, powered by student voting. The new design (pictured below) incorporates customizable college branding, allowing institutions who adopt the portal to configure colors, images and logos to promote their brand and ensure a fluid, trusted experience for students.

California Community Colleges statewide Student Services Portal interfaceThe design promotes a heavily prescribed student experience, bringing recommendations and required actions to the student’s attention, while still allowing for student exploration of useful information via the application launcher and pin board functionality.

Finally, several methods of communicating with students are present, including a user-interface notification allowing individual services (as well as school staff) to communicate with students throughout the matriculation process.

Robyn Tornay is a project manager for Education Planning and Student Services at the
California Community Colleges Technology Center.