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California Community Colleges Education Planning InitiativeThe year 2016 saw much progress by the California Community Colleges (CCC) Education Planning Initiative (EPI), as products moved from development to implementation, and focused communication increased awareness of the initiative.

During the past 12 months, the EPI has seen success in implementation of its products, initiated Phase Two of its education planning tools, redesigned its website to enhance information dissemination, and developed a stronger connection with students and staff. Additionally, tools such as an Online Orientation product and Career Coach have also moved forward. Finally, through its webinar program, the EPI has increased communication with stakeholder communities.

As the EPI moves into 2017, the team will continue to build on what has been accomplished.

EPI’s Role In State Higher Ed Strategy

Since 2010, the state of California has taken broad steps to ensure legislative support for student success programs that support California’s college students. Laws that specifically call on the CCC and its Board of Governors to institute electronic planning and electronic transcripts include Senate Bill 1143 (2010), Assembly Bill 1056 (2011), and Senate Bill 1456 (2012).

EPI is an important component of California’s strategy. With structured pathways provided through a student services portal and education planning system, governance provided by inclusive and multi-tiered committees from across the system, and integrated professional development for student services professionals, the EPI will fulfill the following needs:

  • Help students make informed choices, clarify goals and plan for success
  • Assist under-resourced counseling services
  • Succeed despite funding challenges
  • Increase coordination within and between colleges
  • Align with legislation
  • Design effective management solutions

Education Planning Phase 2

An exciting step forward was Phase Two in the implementation of the education planning toolset. Building on lessons learned from the piloting effort, the EPI focused on a statewide rollout.

In order to answer questions regarding the Phase Two release of the education planning toolset to the field, the initiative hosted a webinar that provided additional information. The call featured David Shippen, EPI Program Director; Warren Whitmore, EPI Program Manager; and Barbara Fountain, EPI Project Manager. A 30-minute presentation offered additional details regarding:

  • Phase Two pilot program status
  • Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) resources
  • CCC Technology Center resources
  • Financial incentives
  • One-time and ongoing college expenses

Upon the conclusion of the presentation, the presenters remained on the line to answer questions from the participants.

Online Orientation Webinar

California Community Colleges Education Planning InitiativeIn addition, EPI, along with several representatives from several stakeholder groups, developed an Online Orientation tool as a resource for colleges. This was presented in a webinar that featured several speakers who represented the work group that came together to design the content.

Each speaker discussed a portion of the presentation, which began with an explanation of the purpose of creating the Online Orientation content. The presentation explained how Online Orientation fit into the Education Planning Initiative's goals of being student-focused and student-driven. It included a high-level overview of the product’s characteristics, and an explanation of why the work group decided to create its own content for distribution. The webinar offered a look at how the content was created, what would be included in Phase One, and showcased a sample of the content that was created.

CCC MyPath Student Testing

In August, members of the CCC MyPath development team traveled to one of the CCC MyPath pilot colleges, Santa Rosa Junior College, to allow students the opportunity to have hands-on interaction with the portal. The team, led by Statewide Program Director, David Shippen, and CCC MyPath Project Manager, Mike Caruso, provided students with several different scenarios, designed to simulate common student interactions with CCC MyPath.

Students were asked to give the site a grade, from A to F. The average grade given was a B, with students stating that the portal design was “very clear and not cluttered.” Students observed that CCC MyPath provided excellent, specific content, highlighting the four advisor cards located on the page. Participants indicated that the four cards, which provide information regarding career exploration, admission information, priority registration and financial aid information, “are good for every student.”

The students gave suggestions on items they would like added to the portal, such as a lock frame in the scroll bar and enlarging the icons in portrait view. Overall, the respondents indicated they enjoyed their experiences with CCC MyPath, with one student stating, “I just wish I had more time with it!”

As 2016 comes to a close, the EPI team would encourage readers to visit our website, The website contains vital background information concerning the initiative as well as status updates. Also, all webinars are archived for viewing. Be sure to visit the website to learn how you can partner with the initative as we move into another exciting year.

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