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Martin Luther King. Jr. once noted that “we may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now.” For the California Community Colleges, this boat is the Online Education Initiative (OEI). Funded by the California Legislature in 2013, it represents an initial investment of $57 million to help our students achieve their educational goals through unified access to high-quality online learning.

"Throughout the history of California higher education, there have been moments and opportunities to move rapidly toward the future."

Watch this video at YouTube.

— Joseph Moreau, Vice Chancellor of Technology and Chief Technology Officer
at the Foothill-De Anza Community College District
and Executive Sponsor of the Online Education Initiative

CCC Confer, an OEI Partner

The framers of Foothill-De Anza and Butte-Glen Community College District’s Online Education Initiative Grant RFA No.13-082 described the challenge as follows:

"By putting the collective wisdom of California Community Colleges together into one program design, the opportunity is ripe to move the success and retention needle and build a scalable solution for the entire system."

— Henry Burnett, OEI Launch Team Director of Strategic Planning and Operations

OEI Commencement Letter from Dr. Linda Thor, Chancellor, Foothill-De Anza Community College District, and Kimberly Perry, President, Butte-Glenn Community College District

Through an Online Education Ecosystem comprising an Online Course Exchange and a common Education Management Platform integrated with point-of-need student services and robust analytics, the Consortium seeks to:

  • Increase the number of college associate degree graduates and transfers to four-year colleges
  • Improve retention and success of students enrolled in Online Course Exchange courses
  • Increase California Community Colleges education for the underserved and underrepresented including individuals with disabilities and those with basic skills needs
  • Increase ease of use and convenience of the online experience
  • Decrease the cost of student education
  • Significantly increase demand for online course delivery

Foothill-De Anza College District Chancellor Linda M. Thor affirms that this initiative “represents a unique moment and opportunity in California history to make good on the Master Plan’s promise of universal access to public higher education while also improving student success.” OEI Launch Team Director of Strategic Planning and Operations Henry Burnett envisions the initiative as developing a “spectacular experience” and becoming a “global game-changer.”

"Each college has had pieces of the puzzle, but none has ever had the funds or the broader collaboration necessary to put it all together until now."

— Sandoval Chagoya, OEI Launch Team Director of Outreach and Communications

3C Media Solutions, an OEI PartnerOEI Launch Team Members:

Henry Burnett Director of Strategic Planning and Operations
Tim Calhoon Executive Sponsor
Sandoval Chagoya Director of Outreach and Communications
Anita Crawley Chief Student Services Officer
John Ittelson Associate Executive Director
Jayme Johnson Director of Accessibility and Universal Design
Carol Lashman Operations Project Liaison
Ric Matthews Chief Academic Services Officer
Joseph Moreau Executive Sponsor
Fred Sherman Chief Technology Officer

At the statewide OEI Town Hall meeting simulcast on April 9, 2014, from the Campus Technology Forum in Long Beach and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office in Sacramento, Launch Team members shared their vision for a collaborative approach that emphasizes broad-based stakeholder involvement through steering committees well represented by faculty and the Academic Senate. “We were very pleased with the wonderful reception," notes John Ittelson. “One of the guiding principles for the project is an open and collaborative approach.”

Governance Structure of CCC Online Education Initiatives

"Both the governor and the legislature have provided our system a great resource to build an online ecosystem that can significantly improve the quality of instruction while taking advantage of an economy of scale for a system of our size. There is great potential in creating a whole new community of practice to engage in quality education throughout California."

— Patrick Perry, Vice Chancellor, Technology, Research and Information Systems,
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office


Source: California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, 2014

A line graph on the bottom left of an infographic recently released by the Chancellor’s Office shows that over the last five years, student access to the courses they need has declined by almost 80,000 sections. These data suggest the unprecedented opportunity this statewide exchange represents for students to enroll in the courses they need to complete degrees and transfer to four-year institutions.

@one, an OEI PartnerAccording to the Sloan Consortium, 411,000 new students took at least one online course last year for a new grand total of 7.1 million wired—and wireless—learners. Additionally, the California Community Colleges Management Systems Information Data Mart reports that online education accounted for over 110,000 FTES during the 2012/13 academic year.

As demand for time-and-place flexibility surges, OEI Executive Sponsor Joseph Moreau confirms that we are at the forefront of a “transformational moment in California higher education [that will] have a profound impact in terms of access and student success.” The success of this initiative will be a small step for our community of colleges and a giant leap for California.

Click here if you would like to subscribe to the OEI information e-mail list, or contact Sandoval Chagoya, Director of Outreach and Communications at (530) 879-4088 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..