Faculty Focus


Community Colleges Continue to Grow Online

Community colleges saw a nine percent increase in distance learning enrollments in the 2009-10 academic year, according to a survey by the Instructional Technology Council (ITC), an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Results of the survey were released earlier this month in a report titled Trends in eLearning: Tracking the Impact of eLearning at Community Colleges. The survey was completed by 139 colleges, typically by the institution’s distance education administrator.

Since the survey began in 2004, respondents were asked to rate the greatest challenges for their distance education program. For all six years, the number one challenge has been the need for support staff for training and technical assistance. The second biggest challenge this year, moving up from number three, is adequate assessment of distance education classes.

Some of the key findings of the report:

  • 21 percent offer blended courses; up from 15 percent last year.
  • 71 percent continue to increase the number of blended courses each term; up from 53 percent last year.
  • 81 percent cap enrollment for online classes.
  • 72 percent develop their own course content; 21 percent use publisher content.
  • 40 percent charge students an additional per-credit fee for take online courses.
  • The most difficult classes to teach online remain unchanged from previous years and include: lab-based sciences, speech, clinical requirements, fine arts, nursing, math, industrial technology, foreign languages, and computer hardware.
  • 63 percent have mandatory faculty training with most saying that “more than eight hours” are required.
  • 40 percent allow full-time faculty to reside in another city or state from the institution.

Access a PDF of the report Trends in eLearning: Tracking the Impact of eLearning at Community Colleges, here »

For more information on the ITC, go to http://www.itcnetwork.org/