Steady Growth in Online Enrollment and Online Opportunities Board of Trustees Hears

Online Learning was the common denominator underscoring the positive messages that Genesee Community College's Board of Trustees heard on Monday night.

Batavia, New York —Enrollment growth. Expanded course offerings. New degree options. A newly added full-time position. A unique grant opportunity leading to improved course accessibility. Establishing two advisory committees, and registering students from more than 40 different locations beyond the GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans & Wyoming County) region. Online Learning was the common denominator underscoring the positive messages that Genesee Community College’s Board of Trustees heard on Monday night.

The online report presented by Craig Lamb, GCC’s dean of Distributed Learning since August 2013, provided an excellent illustration of how the College continues to stay on top of the newest methods for delivering a high-quality online learning experience. Included in his report were the following facts and statistics:

•GCC is now offering more than 130 sections of online courses in the spring and fall semesters, and more than 50 online courses were offered last summer.
•Winterim, which runs December 15, 2014 – January 9, 2015, will double its course offerings from 6 last year to 12 online courses this year.
•GCC offers 15 degrees or certificates that can be earned 100% online; and there are 31 other academic programs with 50% or more of the required courses available online.
•Approximately 1,700 students enrolled in at least one online course this fall, and 450 students (26%) are taking all of their GCC courses online.
•GCC had 117 instructors teaching online courses through the past three years.

As online learning continues to grow in terms of enrollment numbers, new courses, and expanding the geography of GCC’s online student population far beyond New York State, Lamb and his key staff member, Judith Littlejohn, Online Learning coordinator/technical specialist, continually focus on maintaining the quality of all online programs. To that end, the creation of GCC’s first Online Learning Advisory Committee featuring representatives from key national and local businesses, as well as the College’s first Online Faculty Advisory Committee will help ensure steady growth with consistent quality. Moreover, GCC is now a subscribing member of the Quality Matters Program, a nationally recognized and research supported set of online course design standards.

Their efforts to maintain quality and scout out trends and new opportunities is evidenced by a recent Perkins Grant award, which is currently funding a part-time accessibility technologist position helping to ensure GCC’s online courses are aligned with Section 508 compliance and American with Disability Act (ADA) regulations. In addition, GCC’s Online Learning Office is adding a full-time, permanent instructional designer position to support new online course creation and redesign initiatives.

“We are continually looking for trends, trying to predict the future needs of our students and stay current. We analyze data week by week, and sometimes day by day,” Lamb told the Trustees. “We are also continuously working with the college community to identify other courses and programs that would meet regional needs through a high-quality online modality.”

In other matters Monday evening, the Board of Trustees:

•Welcomed Judy Dodge as the new assistant director for Human Resources, who brings more than 20 years of experience to GCC’s newly created, full-time position. She previously worked at RIT and Wellesley College in Massachusetts handling student employment and employee relations, respectively. She was also the human resources manager at Once Again Nut Butter in Nunda. She earned her BS from Roberts Wesleyan College, where she is also working on her Master’s degree. She resides in Warsaw, NY.

Approved the Resolution of GCC State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) determination process for the new Student Success Center and Events Center proposed for the Batavia Campus, which includes a 30-day public review process.

Heard from Richard Ensman, director of Development and External Affairs on the construction progress of two new residential buildings at College Village. While 32 students moved into the new “Lilac” facility on September 20, another 32 student residents are expecting to relocate from their temporary housing at the Clarion Hotel into “Hemlock” no later than October 24, 2014. With the additional two buildings, College Village will be able to accommodate 451 students.

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