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Several key decisions have been or will be made within the next month that will form the foundation for the California Community Colleges (CCC) Online Education Initiative (OEI) as it enters the pilot phase.

 

Answers to more than 50 questions related to the Request for Information (RFI) for a common course management system (CCMS) were posted to the OEI website on June 30, and all RFI responses from course management vendors were received by July 16. OEI staff members are now reviewing the responses and will work with the OEI Steering Committee and others to publish an official Request for Proposal (RFP) for a CCMS, slated for release in September 2014.

“The goal is establish an inclusive process to identify a Common Course Management System for the California Community Colleges, involving faculty, distance education coordinators, administrators, IT professionals, and students,” said OEI Statewide Program Manager Steve Klein. “These groups will provide important input into the creation of an RFP package based on the specific needs of the California Community Colleges to support students and faculty.”

In other OEI developments, the OEI Academic Affairs work group has identified a list of 17 initial Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) courses to be offered in 2015.

Pilot Group Announcement Slated

The pilot colleges consortium work group is set to review the newly revised charter on July 22. Fifty-eight colleges have requested to be considered for the initial pilot phase of the project. Members of the OEI steering committee and leadership team are reviewing information submitted by the colleges and, in accordance with an agreed upon rubric, will be selecting the first pilot participants.

An announcement regarding which pilot colleges will proceed as the first pilot group is slated for July 31 and will be presented to the steering committee for review on Aug. 1 at their meeting in Sacramento.

Professional Development And Course Standards

With the Executive Director appointment of Pat James, who had been leading the Professional Development work group, Michelle Pilati, former ASCCC president and full-time online teaching faculty from Rio Hondo College, will assist with professional development implementation over the summer.

In addition, baseline high-quality standards for fully online courses have been established. The standards will be used to review the first courses to be offered within the OEI pilot in 2014. The TTIP South project, @ONE, will be managing the course review process according to defined standards and processes as reviewed by the OEI steering committee and leadership team. Additionally, @ONE is developing online teacher training that will ensure that the faculty involved in the OEI are prepared and supported. All products developed within this project will be available across the entire system through Creative Commons licensing.

Preparing Students For Online Learning

The Student Services Readiness sub-work group is developing online education learning modules that detail how students can be appropriately prepared for the online learning environment and take the first steps toward a successful and satisfying distance education experience. Additionally, the group is developing opportunities for students to connect with other resources that they will need as they participate in online course offerings across the state. The task of connecting students with resources is not a small one, as registration processes must be developed that result in a seamless learning environment for students.

The OEI Steering Committee is scheduled to meet virtually on July 18 and face-to-face at the CCC Chancellor’s Office in Sacramento on Aug. 1.

Finally, as noted in a recent interview with James, “The focus of the OEI is on providing students with access to the courses they need to complete their educational goals. The emphasis of the OEI is student success.”


Sandoval Chagoya is the TechEDge Executive Editor, Director of Outreach and Communications for the Online Education Initiative, and a Project Manager for the
California Community Colleges Technology Center and the California Virtual Campus.