MCCC Virtual Campus Earns National Recognition From ‘Elearning!’ Magazine‏

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College’s Virtual Campus earned a “Learning 100” award from Elearning! magazine. Showcasing the award are (from left) Thomas Liwinski, Virtual Campus resource specialist; Dr. James J. Linksz, interim president; Kelly Trahan, Virtual Campus director; and Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez, vice president of academic affairs and provost. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College’s Virtual Campus earned a “Learning 100” award from Elearning! magazine. Showcasing the award are (from left) Thomas Liwinski, Virtual Campus resource specialist; Dr. James J. Linksz, interim president; Kelly Trahan, Virtual Campus director; and Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez, vice president of academic affairs and provost. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

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.

New Certificate Launched To Fill Pharmacy Technician Demand

Blue Bell, Pa.—Pharmacy technician jobs are expected to grow by 20 percent through 2022—nine percent higher than the average growth rate for all occupations nationally according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. The demand holds true in Pennsylvania as well; the Commonwealth is ranked fourth among states in the number of pharmacy technicians currently employed.

To help fill the demand in this growing field, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is introducing a Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Completion program this fall. Classes are held Saturdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. starting Oct. 4 and ending Dec. 20 at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Program tuition is $1,638. To learn more, visit http://www.mc3.edu/academics, select areas of study, health sciences, and career training programs or call 215-641-6374.

MCCC’s Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Completion program is comprised of 55 hours of classroom instruction along with Health 21, a 21-hour online component that provides an overview of the health care industry. Students are required to complete homework assignments, as well as mid-term and final exams. Upon successful completion, graduates are eligible to take the national certification exam to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician.

Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health care professionals. Fifty-three percent of technicians are employed in pharmacies and drug stores, with others employed in hospitals, general merchandise and grocery stores, and ambulatory health care services. Positions may be full or part time and often include evenings and weekends.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reports that candidates with formal training or prior experience have the best opportunity for employment as pharmacy technicians. In 2012, the median salary for pharmacy technicians was $29,320 nationally.