By Les Balsiger and Rebecca M. Reese
In fall of 2015, The Center for Learning Technologies was given an Innovation Award to form an Online Task Force comprised of faculty, administrators, and CLT staff members The members of this task force included Les Balsiger, Director, Center for Learning Technologies; Kathy Hathaway, Dean of Math and Science; Trent Morrell, Instructor, Geoscience; Dawn Puente, Instructor, Health Information Technology and Management and Rebecca Reese, Senior Instructional Designer
The Online Task Force was directed to research and investigate the need for comprehensive high quality Online Campus at LCCC. The results of the committee’s research will be submitted in a white paper and completed later this month. The Online Campus would seek to attract additional students who, for personal reasons or preference, choose to attend courses in an online setting rather than the traditional face to face delivery.
The directive for the task force comes directly from the LCCC Strategic Plan, which embraces four major goals. The creation of an online campus, aligns with goal one as outlined in the LCCC Strategic Plan, which reads “an LCCC Online enterprise with sufficient autonomy to purposefully grow offerings and enrollment in distance education using cutting-edge course design and innovative instruction.” In order to accomplish this charge, the Online Task Force met with various internal and external stakeholders and other public colleges, which have developed autonomous online or virtual campuses.
The task force began by meeting with internal stakeholders at LCCC from all service areas that directly affect students. Department directors/coordinators were asked a series of questions to better understand the current processes for online students, and identify gaps or needs from said groups to better facilitate such services. Next, the task force held an open meeting and invited the campus community to discuss their needs, concerns, and feedback related to the goal. Finally, the task force met with representatives from four other colleges to discuss their process for implementing an online campus, and obtained resources used with their institutions for comparative purposes. The other schools consisted of two comparable community colleges and two slightly larger institutions.
Members of the task force also attended the 2016 Instructional Technology Council Conference and the 2016 ISTE Conference to gather information and research on current practices within the field of online education. The task force is now in the process of compiling the data and completing the white paper along with recommendations for next steps. Once complete, the paper will be presented to the VPAA and President’s Cabinet for review. We especially wish to thank the faculty and staff of LCCC who have given us insight and shared their experiences.