Monday, August 13, 2012


At Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC), the number of courses offered online and partially online (hybrid) increases every year.  At last count, they were  about 27% of credit classes.  This is fairly typical nationwide in higher education.  What may surprise you is that in a recent poll, 91% of students said that they are local residents and 62% indicated that they had not taken an online class at another college or university.  A likely factor for not "shopping around" is that financial aid is not easily shared between institutions.  And of course, students have challenging time constraints balancing work, family, sports, and study.  But I also wonder how widespread the skill set needed to surf educational opportunities state-wide, much less nation-wide, is among community college students.

I am taking a MOOC MOOC this week, i.e., a massively open online course (MOOC) about massively open online courses.  MOOCs have been in the news lately and one colleague even looked concerned when we discussed them the other day.  The reason I am taking the course is that I am interested in what it takes to teach a student how to be a world-class online student.  At CGCC, we have an online student orientation, a helpdesk, and instructor introductions to help students succeed.   Enrolling in a MOOC involves degree of sophistication in online learning that transcends your local institution, and it also requires a larger skill set.  So what can we learn from MOOCs to help our students navigate the wider world of learning?


At 1:49 AM , Blogger Rosemary said...

Interesting about most students not taking a course online from somewhere else. Perhaps in these early stages, it's not something that is on most students' radar? I wonder if time is also a limiting factor for many students, i.e. with a full-time schedule, taking additional online courses can be too much. But I think it's great that you guys have the systems in place to encourage that.

Also - just had to comment because I'm originally from the Tri-Cities, WA, and I saw 'Columbia Gorge' and thought, OOH! I know that! :)

At 9:13 AM , Blogger Paula said...

Thank you for your comments. I agree that we are in an early stage and that time constraints of students can be overwhelming. There is also the consideration of degree credentials. We know that college graduates do better in the current job market overall. To what extent and at what pace might MOOCs change this situation?


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