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California Community Colleges Online Education InitiativeThe California Community Colleges (CCC) Course Exchange is now live. Capping off years of team work, the CCC’s first-ever course exchange is cross-registering students at pilot colleges through the Online Education Initiative (OEI).

Despite snow, school closures and looming enrollment deadlines, Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC) and Fresno City College (FCC) became the first two colleges to activate the Course Exchange in January.

Treva Thomas, Distance Education Coordinator at LTCC, reflected on the process. “As we blaze these new trails, getting dirty along the way but dusting ourselves off, I know our students will benefit from gaining access to quality online courses and receiving necessary support services leading to successful completion of coursework and degrees,” she said.

Jodie Steeley, Director of Distance Education at FCC, shared: “Being the first to launch in the Course Exchange really feels like an historical event that is changing higher education as we know it.”

Removing Barriers

The Course Exchange, created through the OEI, provides students with access to fully online courses not available at the student’s home college. Instead of having students independently apply and complete matriculation steps at other colleges in order to access online courses, the exchange streamlines the registration process, facilitates combined financial aid, provides for awarding of credit at the student’s home college, and offers supplemental support services to enhance student success. This process removes barriers for students, ensures they have robust online support services, and helps accelerate achievement of their educational goals.

The exchange is widely viewed as one of the most complex and innovative components of the OEI ecosystem. The development of reciprocity agreements, financial aid procedures, and cross-registration technology involves coordination with faculty, administrators and staff.

Providing the technology foundation for this streamlined student experience, the student information system (SIS) adaptor technology called Project Glue interacts with five different SIS and is not only essential for the Course Exchange but also has the potential to assist colleges in gathering enrollment data to better serve students.

This work represents a truly unprecedented collaboration in the California higher education system. Many thanks are due to LTCC and FCC staff and students for being the first to take on this enormous effort.

Additional Pilots Planned

In the coming weeks, additional pilot colleges are slated to go live with students in the Course Exchange. The OEI team remains committed to providing a seamless, optimal student experience. As LTCC’s Thomas said, “What is best for students has been the fundamental mission of the work we are doing in the OEI project.”

The Course Exchange will continue to evolve, with new automations and continuous improvement. The project also continues to be informed by the pilot colleges and is dedicated to remaining responsive.

Over the coming year, additional colleges beyond the initial pilot colleges are anticipated to join the OEI Consortium and participate in the Course Exchange, expanding student success with greater access to quality courses and embedded just-in-time support services.

View a recent video from e-Literate that concisely explains the Course Exchange.

Kate Jordahl is Director of Strategic Planning & Operations for
the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative