OEI To Help Students Earn Transfer Degrees

California Community Colleges Online Education InitiativeThe Online Education Initiative (OEI) is a far-reaching, $57 million state-sponsored project that launched in December 2013. The first allocation was $16.9 million, and $10 million is slated to be forthcoming each year over four more years.

California’s legislature and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office have outlined some specific requirements that the OEI must respond to and meet.

A primary goal of the OEI is to create a sophisticated online education framework that can be utilized by all 112 community colleges in California. Within that framework, key elements of the OEI will include a common course management system, support for transfer degrees online, support for basic skills instruction and facilitating credit by exam, among others.

Comprehensive Online Environment

Overall, the OEI will leverage all the progress to be made by the Common Assessment Initiative (CAI) and Education Planning Initiative (EPI), as well as the critical mass of online courses and programs already in place at California Community Colleges, to provide comprehensive resources to students, faculty and staff system wide.

“The plan is to do it more cost effectively through centralized contracting or procurement or, in some cases, integrating services, such as assessment and orientation, for example,” said Joe Moreau, vice chancellor of Technology for the Foothill-De Anza Community College District and co-executive sponsor of the OEI. “We can build on the success that we already have as a system.

“Some of the main components of the OEI are to essentially establish a consortium and a governance model for how colleges can come together and collaborate and cooperate with each other on how we might expand capacity for online instruction,” Moreau continued. “The grant also has an emphasis on making sure we are doing things that recognize the specific needs of under-represented and under-served populations of students, and making sure we can close the achievement gap between all student demographic groups.”

Initial Task: Course Management System

CCC Online Education InitiativeA consortium is being formed to collaborate on developing a new CCC course management system, among numerous other objectives. The OEI steering committee and work groups are currently collecting and evaluating applications from colleges throughout the state that want to participate in this development.

Consortium members are expected to be announced this summer, and “We anticipate a common course management system to be identified in the fall of this year,” noted Steve Klein, the statewide program manager for the OEI. In addition, there is a student services work group and a faculty professional development work group, along with a prevailing goal to create an environment for students that will enhance and clarify articulation and transfer agreements between all state community colleges and universities.

“We are not operating in a vacuum, and the OEI is certainly not a top-down operation,” added Tim Calhoon, director of the CCC Technology Center and co-executive sponsor of the OEI. He emphasizes that the initiative is highly participatory in nature, with colleges throughout the state ultimately being the decision makers. “The pilot colleges are going to be most affected by the common course management system. They will be the deciders.”


George Lorenzo is a TechEDge contributing writer, and editor and publisher of
The SOURCE on Community College Issues, Trends & Strategies.
George is also president of Lorenzo Associates Inc., a content development service for higher education.


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  • +1 #

    Dean, Liberal Arts

    Kris Abrahamson 2014-06-04 07:22
    In a future edition, could you address how students could receive credit from multiple colleges. Would a student have to apply and be accepted at all the colleges?

    We already have the California Vitual College, which is not very workable.

    another problem is that online classes close so quickly in the GE areas, they would never be available to a student with lower registration priority. Will there be a component to develop more online courses to increase availability?

    -Kris
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  • 0 #

    A Reply for Kris Abrahamson

    Sandoval Chagoya 2014-06-05 15:08
    Hi Kris: Thank you for your comment regarding this story.

    A few quick answers: The Online Education Initiative will form a voluntary consortium of California community colleges. Students at participatory colleges would be able to take any course offered through the consortium with credit awarded by their home college. Multiple applications would not be necessary.

    The California Virtual Campus does not offer classes or grant degrees. It is simply a reference to online courses available from California institutions updated once per year.

    The Online Education Initiative does have a course development component and it is specifically charged with creating more pathways related to Associate Degrees for Transfer, as well as providing more opportunities wherever there is significant demand.

    Please note that the initiative is in a very early stage at this time. A call for pilot colleges to participate in crafting a service that truly serves the students of California has been issued and the initial colleges will be chosen soon.

    Allow me to provide this resource regarding the ongoing effort:
    The Online Education Initiative website:
    ccconlineed.org/

    You will find an OEI Interest listserv available for self-subscription on the home page. The first edition of the CCC Technology for Student Success Newsletter is also linked to the home page and it will provide ongoing news about the Online Education Initiative.

    And of course, we will continue to report out about the initiative via our newsletter here, CCC TechEDge.

    I am sharing your comment with my editorial team and we will be sure to address your specific questions in future articles.

    Best Regards,
    Sandoval Chagoya,
    Executive Editor,
    CCC TechEDge
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