have all heard that some piece of technology or teaching methodology will
change education as we know it. Well this time I think it’s legitimate; the
California Virtual Campus may change education as we know it.
Recently, Governor Jerry Brown set aside 16.9 million
dollars for the creation of a state-wide virtual community college campus. This
campus is called The California Virtual Campus or CVC. The grant funds were awarded to De Anza
College and Butte College, who have already begun to bring this concept into
fruition. The CVC will be offering 100% online classes and are targeting their
first courses to begin this fall.
So, how does it work? Well, students taking CVC classes will
be given credit for the class they have completed as if that class was
completed at their home institution. You can imagine that there are many
challenges with this model. Below I’ll attempt to highlight some of the
challenges and solutions that have been proposed so far.
The classes will be delivered 100% online, so there will not
be a hybrid option. Student services such as tutoring and exam proctoring will
be offered and paid for through the grant funds. Some services, such as
DSP&S, must continue to be offered by a student’s home institution. Eventually,
the project will select a Learning Management System (LMS), so that all CVC
courses will have the same LMS. Until then, each teaching institution must use
their home LMS.
All California Community Colleges are eligible to teach
through the CVC. And, when they do so, the institution offering a class trough
the CVC will be awarded all of the apportionment for the course. However, to
teach through the CVC, one must be a certified online instructor and use the
iNACOL online course quality standards. Online teaching certification can be
earned in a variety of ways. The CVC will recommend the @One online certificate
program, but they will accept online instructor certificates that have been awarded
by any community college. Fortunately, Santiago Canyon College has recently
developed an online instructor certificate program that will be offered to our
faculty for free. Please contact our Distance Education Coordinator (Scott
James) for details.
Once a course has been offered through the CVC, the teaching institution
will set the rules and prerequisites for the course based on their campuses'
normal policies and procedures. The curriculum and other course planning will
follow the teaching institution's normal practice. The teaching institution
will, however, accept the students home institutions placement exams and
prerequisites in determining eligibility for the class.
The CVC will begin this fall by offering 25 core Associate
Degree for Transfer (ADT) classes. Offering these types of courses will help to
ensure that the courses fill quickly and that articulation between colleges
will be easier.
Since the CVC is in the planning stages, we don’t have all of
the answers. Certainly, residency requirements, articulation processes, and
many more questions will need to be discussed and answered in the coming
months. But, the CVC is removing several barriers that students experience when
attending a Community College, and that is encouraging. They are removing
location and time restraints; they will be giving students choice when a home
institution's classes are full; and they may be giving the community college
system a little bit of competitive energy. I know you probably have a thousand
questions and I do too. The CVC is exciting and maybe a little uncomfortable.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you have. We have
the opportunity to help shape the CVC through several channels and I want your
thoughts, questions, and opinions to be part of the process.