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In October, the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (WCET) announced the CAHSEE: Stepping into Your Future program as a recipient of the 2009 WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Award.

The WOW Award recognizes innovative uses of educational technologies in higher education.

The California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) Preparation Initiative, CAHSEE: Stepping into Your Future, is a project of the California Virtual Campus (CVC) and the K-20 California Educational Technology Collaborative (K20CETC). The K20CETC consists of K-20 education leaders from across the state including the K-12 community, higher education and informal education partners such as libraries and community based organizations. The K20CETC mission is to support highly effective, innovative, network-enabled teaching and learning opportunities.

Teachers, faculty and staff from the K-20 education community, public libraries and nonprofit community technology centers worked together to develop and support student access to two engaging courses that prepare students for the CAHSEE. The two online courses have improved student retention and pass rates for K-12 students preparing for California’s English and Math high school exit exams.

Doug Cremer, CCC Technology Center and CVC Executive Director; Stephanie Couch, K20CETC Director; Pam Thompson CAHSEE Project Director; LeBaron Woodyard, CCC Chancellor's Office Dean of Instructional Technology CASHEE: Stepping into Your Future connects students across the state to an innovative and comprehensive instructional program. The program includes face-to-face meetings, the use of interactive technologies and online learning resources, accessible “any place, any time” to teach active reading, writing, math and test-taking strategies.

The strength-based program is grounded in research and provides a seamless point of entry for students, access to the learning material, data collections and participation in live, synchronized learning sessions. The technology provides a flexible, cost-effective distribution model. Interactive lessons, video ‘mini lectures’ and a Web-based conferencing tool for instructors to ‘meet’ with students statewide, are hosted on an open source learning management system.

“The WOW Award represents a way to recognize and celebrate the best and most promising practices within the WCET community,” said Janet Kendall, WCET Awards Committee chair and Director of Distance Degree Programs for Washington State University. “This year’s recipients reinforced the value of innovative solutions that improve access both to higher education and the teaching and learning process itself.”

WCET is a membership cooperative of institutions and organizations dedicated to advancing access and excellence in higher education through the innovative use of technology. WCET recognizes efforts that include increasing the academic effectiveness of programs and the quality of online courses, improving student interactions with faculty and other students, and using online courses to improve student outcomes on a statewide graduation exam. Celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, WCET has members in 46 states and six countries. <>

Jen Gednalske is a CCC Technology Center and California Virtual Campus Project Manager
and a TechEDge Editor.