Ensuring the Quality of Your Online Courses: Considerations for Local Policy and Practices

While local curriculum processes for the approval of courses for online delivery are intended to ensure that the course in question can be effectively taught online, these processes often do not involve any means of ensuring the quality of online instruction. Although some faculty argue that additional scrutiny of any sort that is not applied to campus-based courses should not apply to online courses, the truth is that the modalities are fundamentally different.

The Reemergence of Noncredit in the California Community Colleges

According to the website of the Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges, “The California Community Colleges is the largest postsecondary education system in the nation.” In 2014-2015, the latest full year of data available on the Chancellor’s Office Datamart, the system served 2,317,934 students and generated 1,176,671.31 FTES. While little doubt exists that the system serves an incredible number of students, some might question whether the system and its individual colleges are serving all the students who need to be served. 

Open Educational Resources and Z Pathways

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has long taken a firm stand on the cost of textbooks, urging faculty to seek alternatives and to try to develop methods by which costs can be kept down for students.  One promising solution to the problem of rising textbook costs is the development and adoption of Open Educational Resources, or OER.  In recent years, legislators have also become interested in ways to save students money, with bills focused on OER passed by Senator Steinberg in 2012 (SB 1052 and SB 1053).  In 2015 Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla has joined in,

The Search for a New Chancellor

In late 2015, Brice Harris announced his retirement from his post as chancellor of the California Community Colleges effective in April 2016.  Chancellor Harris has been an exemplary leader, and our system will certainly miss his guidance, vision, and advocacy.  Yet the 113 colleges of the system and the more than two million students that we serve will continue to move forward, and thus an outstanding new chancellor must be appointed. 

Workforce Task Force Recommendations: Minimum Qualifications and Faculty Preparation

In November of 2015, the Board of Governors approved 25 recommendations put forward by the Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation, and a Strong Economy. The Board directed the Task Force to only consider career technical programs in their deliberations, but implementation of the recommendations, especially those that are inherently academic and professional matters, will clearly have ramifications for all faculty. More specifically, of the 25 recommendations, four directly affect CTE faculty, and two directly impact minimum qualifications and equivalency:

“The Right Leader at the Right Time”: A Tribute to Chancellor Brice Harris

In early April of 2016, one of California’s finest leaders will step down from his post as chancellor of the California Community College System. Brice Harris, who took office as chancellor in November of 2012, announced in Fall 2015 his plan to retire in spring.  Chancellor Harris has led the system with dignity and class, and under his direction the colleges have achieved outstanding results.  His confident and effective leadership and his personal charisma have earned the respect of everyone connected with the California Community Colleges.

Where has the Vocational Faculty Leadership Institute Gone?

Conversations at the 2013 Fall Plenary Session resulted in two referred resolutions regarding the  Academic Senate’s support for professional development for vocational faculty and the misperception that the ASCCC stopped specific training for vocational educators (12.02, 12.03, 12.03.01, 12.03.02).  While the Senate provides professional development for all faculty during our plenary sessions, institutes, and regional meetings, the Senate has also held the Vocational Faculty Leadership Institute since 2000.  This institute was unique in that Perkins 1b leadership funding pro

MOOC Magic

In January 2012, Stanford University professor Sebastian Thrun founded Udacity, the first MOOC provider, in Palo Alto, and so began the MOOC hype.  Suddenly, policy makers, politicians and the popular press hailed MOOCs as the solution to all of the perceived ills in public higher education: unacceptably low student achievement, severely reduced access to public institutions due to budget cuts, concerns about increased costs of public higher education, and so on.  Some even mused that MOOCs would make the traditional academy obsolete.  From the faculty perspective, MOOCs

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