Blue Bell, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Virtual Campus is receiving national attention after earning its first-ever “Learning! 100” award from Elearning! magazine in late 2015.
The award recognizes innovative learning programs in public and private sectors across the country. MCCC ranked 24th in the public sector category and was recognized, specifically, for the comprehensive process through which faculty design and refresh their online courses.
According to Kelly Trahan, director of MCCC’s Virtual Campus, that process is two-fold. New faculty learn how to teach online and build academic courses by participating in a collaborative course of their own—e-Learning 101 (EL 101), facilitated by an instructional designer. Meanwhile, existing online faculty engage in a “refresh” process any time curricular modifications are made.
“EL 101 exposes new faculty to best practices in e-Learning while they learn how to build an online course for the first time, explained Trahan. “The refresh process is one of checks and balances. Faculty evaluate their courses to ensure they are meeting their intended goals while providing the appropriate level of work for their students.”
To date, 95 percent of the 300-plus Virtual Campus courses currently offered have undergone the “refresh” process.
“Our faculty are dedicated to creating a high-quality learning experience for students, regardless of location,” shared Trahan. “We also have a very strong information technology (IT) team that supports faculty and students and is always looking for the best products and tech to improve students’ experiences.”
While the latest recognition focused on faculty processes, MCCC’s Virtual Campus offers a great deal of support to online students as well. Examples include online advising, access to live tutors, support discussion boards and online readiness resources.
“We have a short course that teaches students how to navigate BlackBoard, time management and course netiquette. It’s free once they register for an online course,” said Trahan.
In fall 2015, 3,654 students were enrolled in online and hybrid courses through MCCC’s Virtual Campus—an increase of close to six percent over the previous year. Currently, the Virtual Campus features more than 300 online and hybrid courses in over 30 degree and certificate programs. Courses are offered in flexible seven, 10 and 15-week sessions, as well as 21-day winter session.
To learn more about MCCC’s Virtual Campus, visit http://www.mc3.edu/virtual.