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Education Planning Initiative session at the Online Teaching Conference 2016.Offering courses online is a priority for the California Community Colleges (CCC). It is understood that students lead busy lives, juggling coursework with family and/or existing career requirements, in addition to other personal priorities.

Thus, it becomes imperative that the CCC offer options for these students to pursue their educational goals. In order to assist with learning information about these options, as well as other best practices, the CCC Chancellor's Office in cooperation with CCC Confer, 3C Media Solutions and @ONE, have organized the annual Online Teaching Conference (OTC).

As part of its goals to create coordination within and between colleges as well as to design effective management solutions, the CCC Education Planning Initiative (EPI) hosted several sessions at this year’s OTC in San Diego.

About The Online Teaching Conference

Beginning in the early 2000s, the OTC has become a premier event for “faculty, staff and administrators who are engaged or interested in online education, including delivery of online services, emerging technologies, student success, library and technical support,” according to the event’s website. In 2015, conference registration sold out, with more than 700 attendees participating in multiple sessions, visiting vendor booths, and listening to engaging speakers in the general session.

This year proved to be no different, with another sold-out crowd. The large number of attendees provides opportunities for educators to engage with colleagues and discuss best practices, share experiences and learn from one another.

EPI’s Presentation

EPI recognizes that in many colleges there is little interface between faculty, counseling and student services in working with students. To ensure success for students, colleges need to have technology-based systems that promote a holistic approach where counseling, faculty and student services can work together for the benefit of students.

EPI's Warren Whitmore and David Shippen presenting at the Online Teaching Conference 2016.Collective experience with online teaching perpetually reveals opportunities to improve collaboration and strengthen relationships to promote student success. One opportunity identified by the field is pairing of the Canvas learning management system with the Starfish early alert and student success suite. Working together, these tools help teachers, students and support services connect and collaborate in sustainable and synergistic ways.

Thirteen California community colleges have partnered with EPI and Hobsons to pilot the Starfish Enterprise Success Platform that is comprised of Degree Planner, Early Alert and Connect. During the EPI’s three packed sessions at OTC, a team representing the initiative discussed the toolsets, provided practical examples from the field, identified Student Success and Support Program metrics/reporting benefits, and helped attendees to understand how their colleges can access these tools. The presentation team was comprised of:

  • David Shippen, EPI Program Director
  • Warren Whitmore, EPI Program Manager
  • Kelly Kilby, Hobsons Account Executive

In addition to providing valuable information regarding the integration of Canvas into the Starfish platform, the team participated in a spirited question and answer session.

For Further Information

The EPI will be presenting at additional conferences throughout the summer, including the 2016 Curriculum Institute, sponsored by the Academic Senate for CCC, in July.

To view one of the EPI sessions from OTC16, and listen to a sample of the Q&A, please visit the EPI website at, and look for EPI Presentations under the Documents tab. And please continue to visit the website as additional presentations and professional development resources will be uploaded.

David Quintanilla is a project team member of the
California Community Colleges Education Planning Initiative