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California Community Colleges Online Education InitiativeFall terms are starting and we are running at full speed in the California Community Colleges (CCC) Online Education Initiative (OEI). There are many projects underway within the initiative and this post will be a true update of what’s happening as of Aug. 22.

We are finding that the colleges we are working with are interested in collaborating to create effective systems and to design amazing online learning opportunities for the students of our state.

This month our team visited more than 10 colleges discussing options to move to Canvas as well as how to integrate OEI resources for faculty and students. The conversations in these visits are always interesting and informative for everyone concerned. I learn something new with each conversation and I continue to be impressed by the great work the colleges continue to do.

I don’t think I have ever experienced such a time in my history with the CCC. There’s actually more than a buzz—it’s become a steady “hum” of ideas and activity that is exciting and incredibly positive. I will be updating on a variety of items in this post, but the theme is that our colleagues are designing together for the benefit of the students in our state. All of us are facing one direction: forward—with one mission: together we are working to educate as many Californians as possible.

Grant Funds

As you may have heard, we were given a $20 million augmentation to the 2016-17 budget by the legislature, bringing the total for year four to $30 million. “Wow”, was my reaction, then the nerves set in—as you might guess. The additional funds are available for us to “expedite and enhance the adaptation and development of courses that are available through the online course exchange of the Online Education Initiative,” as stated in the trailer bill language.

A portion of the additional funds will help colleges develop more high-quality online courses to increase the inventory of available courses across the system. Another portion of the money will be used to expedite the development of the full cross-registration mechanism, which includes helping with implementation at the college level (for those who choose to participate).

An exciting component of the Exchange is the “college adaptor”, which allows our varied student information systems to connect across the colleges. The adaptor is critical to the ability of students to register for the Exchange and essentially creates a bridge across our different student information systems. The benefits of the adaptor to the colleges and the system as a whole are just starting to emerge.

Our consortium members (currently the 24 pilot colleges) are coming up with ideas for how to really maximize the digital capability of the exchange. The ideas being generated will have a positive impact toward streamlining how colleges accomplish the business processes that have been a part of the “we have always done it this way” syndrome. Ideas range from shared regional degree and certificate registration to aligning eclectic capstone courses that are required, but not necessarily feasible, to be offered regularly.

Exchange Timeline

The timeline for the Exchange starts with registration for the eight full-launch pilot colleges this October for courses going live with students in Spring 2017. The 16 remaining pilot colleges will implement the technical components for registration in Spring 2017 with plans for live courses in the Exchange in Fall 2017. We hope to add interested colleges to the consortium and the Exchange in Spring 2018.

Canvas Adoption

The common course environment is capturing the imagination of the system, too. We have over 90 colleges that have either completed the application process, started implementation, or have just decided to make the move to the new system. We are also developing Canvas as an important infrastructure component for the system in order to secure its continued funding.

Reminder: Colleges do not have to participate in the course exchange in order to be eligible to adopt Canvas as their course management system.

Canvas Migration

A couple of things we’ve learned about migrating courses into Canvas are:

  • Source: PPIC report, June 2015It’s easier than people thought it would be, and refreshing a course that’s been online for a while, is actually interesting and effective! (Refresh benefit is supported by research, PPIC 2015)

  • We’ve heard from our colleges moving from Blackboard, that if they move items from folders in Bb to modules before they convert their courses, the result is a fairly clean migration.

  • There is a fair amount of assistance in moving to the new course management system, including a 24/7 help desk for faculty (and students) that’s proven to be very responsive. Our own OEI site has a strong list of resources including just-in-time videos that can help, too.

  • The Professional Learning Network (PLN) has contracted for the systemwide use of Lynda.com, which has videos for learning Canvas and can be accessed using your college email to register or log in, then go to the Learn link and choose Lynda.com.

  • Last, but certainly not least, @ONE continues to provide excellent opportunities for you to learn Canvas, with both facilitated and self-paced courses. The courses are Creative Commons-licensed and can be taught locally by your own staff, should you choose to do so. @ONE also offers support calls for faculty that can help individuals by connecting to the @ONE trainers for assistance.

    The Canvas Faculty Support Calls are more similar to office hours. Each call is an open forum where faculty can come and speak with an Instructional Designer from @ONE and ask questions about setting up and facilitating courses in Canvas. All questions and skill levels are welcome. (Support Call Schedule)

Readiness for Online Learning (Quest)

Smarter-Measure pre-assessment is now available at no cost to all of the system colleges as part of the readiness solutions provided by the OEI. For more information, use the contact form at our web site with Smarter Measure as the subject of the inquiry, or you may call our office at 650-949-6187.

Save the Date! Portfolium ePortfolio and Career Readiness Platform Webinar

The Foundation for California Community Colleges has developed a systemwide agreement with Portfolium, which offers a career/transfer readiness platform, allowing students to showcase evidence of their skills to four-year schools and employers in a very tangible way. Portfolium also offers world-class assessment capabilities for faculty and administrators as well as hiring solutions for employers and recruiters. This service is at no-cost to all 113 California community colleges.

A full description of why portfolios might be something you will want to use is planned for publication in the September issue of Technology for Student Success News. Meanwhile, please save one of the dates below to investigate Portfolium in September or October!

If you would like to activate Portfolium on your campus or cannot attend one of the webinars and would like to know more, contact Ashley Hyman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call her directly at 619-606-6345.

Thanks for touching base with us here at TechEDge News!

Pat


Pat James is Executive Director of
the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative