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California Community Colleges Online Education InitiativeThe California Community Colleges (CCC) Online Education Initiative (OEI) has been actively working to support the needs of online learners at colleges throughout the system. One of the most important areas of impact for the OEI is helping colleges expand access to critical academic and support services for students.

This is an area that can be challenging for colleges that may lack infrastructure, funding or local expertise to develop online support solutions for students. According to the Chancellor’s Vision for Success, the CCC is challenged to increase the number of students transferring annually to a University of California or California State University campus, increase the number of students earning associate degrees or credentials by 20 percent, and make significant strides in closing equity and achievement gaps.

One significant strategy to assist in reaching these targets is to fully resource students with online support systems that can be made available to them at any time of the day, any day of the week.

Just-In-Time Online Resources

Since its inception, the OEI has been working to develop an Online Education Ecosystem, representing a strategic integration of support platforms, tools and services, all centered around a student’s online engagement with their course, instructor and peers. This is built upon the robust foundation of Canvas, which has now been adopted by 111 of the 114 colleges in our system.

Through carefully researched and managed strategic partnerships, a support infrastructure now exists that enables students to instantly access support resources from within their online course environment. Access to just-in-time resources, such as online tutoring or drop-in online counseling, keeps students engaged in both their coursework and their educational journey.

The OEI Consortium has been leading pilots that include data gathering and evaluation about these resources to inform the broader field. Consortium colleges, in addition to piloting these tools, send representatives to regular meetings and contribute to the growth and development of the OEI ecosystem. These colleges are also in the process of implementing the CCC Course Exchange, which features fully resourced courses.

CCC Adoption Of OEI Resources

With free or reduced-cost access to key online resources, adoption of resources by colleges continues to grow steadily outside of the OEI Consortium. With significant adoptions and implementations across the CCC, see if your college is missing out on any of these helpful resources that can help to fully resource your online classes.

The following technology resources are available at low or no cost via systemwide licenses or negotiated volume discounts through the Foundation for California Community Colleges' CollegeBuys program:

Support Resource


Number of Adoptions

Cost Structure

Course management system Canvas by Instructure 111

Free to all CCC

24/7 Online tutoring service NetTutor by Link-Systems, Int’l. 68

No cost to OEI Consortium colleges; reduced cost for any CCC

Online counseling platform Cranium Café powered by ConexEd 58 No cost to OEI Consortium colleges; reduced cost for any CCC
Online learner readiness diagnostic and multimedia resource modules Quest for Success + SmarterMeasure 47 Free to all CCC
Online tutoring and group study platform WorldWideWhiteboard by Link-Systems, Int’l. 35 Free to all CCC
Online test proctoring and identity verification Proctorio 28 No cost to OEI Consortium colleges; reduced cost for any CCC
Online plagiarism detection tool with link to CCC private repository VeriCite 17 No cost to OEI Consortium colleges; reduced cost for any CCC

Online Ecosystem Increases Success Rates

Statewide, the gap between face-to-face and online success rates is closing, with an average of approximately a 6-percent differential. The OEI Consortium colleges and pilot sections provide a better comparison: fully resourced online versus those that typically are not. According to data from the Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges (RP Group), OEI pilot colleges that have implemented the Online Education Ecosystem had success rates 2.9 percent above the statewide average; OEI pilot sections that had completed peer online course review were 3.9 percent above the statewide average for online courses, at 68.8 percent (Data: RP Group, 2017. “The Online Education Initiative: Access and Quality of Online Education in California’s Community Colleges.”).

These technology solutions are relatively easy to implement via LTI integrations into Canvas, or via native integrations that leverage the set of robust Canvas APIs. All have contracts in place that address robust requirements around accessibility, data security, FERPA and other requirements; all were publicly bid through a Request for Proposals process that complies with contracting requirements for the state of California. If you are interested in learning more about how to access or adopt these resources, visit

Jory Hadsell, EdD, is Executive Director of
the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative