The college has been working since 2010 to improve the infrastructure, support, and success of its distance learning program. At that time, there were significant differences in the success rates of students in online versus face-to-face courses. In 2010-11, the online success rate was 66.4 while the face-to-face success rate was 70.9. The college intentionally reduced distance education offerings so that the reasons for the disparity could be investigated and addressed.
Through the leadership of the Distance Education Committee over the past five years, improvements were made and an effective infrastructure was developed. The successful impact of these efforts can be seen in the fact that not only has the gap in success rate between online and face-to-face courses been ameliorated, but the success rates for both delivery methods have increased. In fact, for the 2014-15 academic year, the online success rate exceeded the face-to-face success rate, 71.9 and 71.6 respectively. In order to capture the full impact of this work, the decision was made to address the accreditation standards that connect to distance education in a separate supplement to the institutional self-evaluation report. Also, in support of that document, the college prepared a Fact Book which provides a wealth of data and analyses related to the major initiatives of the college and the routine metrics annually reported on behalf of the college (DE.1 ). The Distance Learning Data section (pp. 191-201) includes detailed analyses regarding the college’s distance education students and is the reference for the data provided earlier. Additional highlights from the 2014-14 academic year in the Fact Book are presented below:
Evidence of Meeting the Standards
Analysis and Evaluation
As described in Standard I.A. in the Self-Study, Chaffey College revised its mission statement in 2015 to reflect the following:
Chaffey College inspires hope and success by improving lives and our community in a dynamic, supportive and engaging environment of educational excellence, where our diverse students learn and benefit from foundation, career, and transfer programs.
The college’s service area incorporates over 300 miles of service area comprised of seven cities. The college district serves the population of western San Bernardino County, where the communities of Chino, Chino Hills, Fontana, Guasti, Montclair, Mt. Baldy, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga (Alta Loma, Cucamonga, and Etiwanda), and Upland are located. Four districts serving high school students are contained in these communities. They are the Chaffey Joint Union High School, the Chino Unified School District, the Fontana Unified School District, and the Upland Unified School District. Within the service area, the college endeavors to serve the diverse needs of the community members. The Chaffey College Fact Book provides additional information in the Service Area Data and Participation Rate sections (DE.). The college’s distance education program ensures that students from the vast and diverse service area have access to higher education through hybrid and online formats. The college maintains a specific focus on its geographical boundaries and has not marketed its offerings beyond district boundaries. In spring 2012, the college submitted a substantive change proposal for distance education which was accepted by the commission (DE.5) (I.A.1).
The Office of Institutional Research provides analyses of the college’s distance education program. Examples include:
The Distance Education Committee reviews the information and data provided and engages in dialogue about improvement and ensures that the distance education program remains aligned with the mission as evidenced in the Distance Education Plan and Distance Education Committee minutes (DE.10, DE.11).
Further, the college’s distance learning program includes hybrid deliveries for more traditional learners and for students in the California Institution for Women. Since hybrid learning is not included in the definition of distance education according to ACCJC, a review of these practices will not be included in this review, though more information on those programs is available in the Fact Book. It is also worth noting that with the passage of the Hancock Bill (SB 1391) (DE.12), the college is now offering instruction at the California Institution for Women (CIW) through face-to-face instructional delivery. Plans are in place to begin face-to-face instruction at the California Institution for Men (CIM) in summer 2016. The college will need to complete a substantive change in fall 2016 after the program at CIM has begun (I.A.2, I.A.3).
Evidence of Meeting the Standards
Analysis and Evaluation
The Distance Education Committee is the primary group responsible for leading and planning the institutional dialog regarding equity, quality, effectiveness, and achievement, and that committee works in conjunction with the Curriculum Committee and the Faculty Senate. The Distance Education Committee is led by tri-chairs consisting of the Dean of Instructional Support, Distance Education Facilitator, and the Distance Education Support Specialist. The Committee consists of faculty, classified, and administrative representation dedicated to the support and improvement of the distance learning efforts at the college. The role of this committee has evolved over time, and members have become more actively engaged in developing recommendations and procedures affecting distance education (DE.19) (I.B.1).
In comparison to other colleges of comparable size, the college’s online program is relatively small. The size of the program is reflective of the economic downturn, as well as a conscientious effort to build an infrastructure around the program before the college makes efforts to grow. For example, during the 2010-2011 academic year, distance learning at the college had 5,871 students in 10,075 enrollments resulting in 1,146 full-time equivalent students (FTES). In comparison, during the 2014-2015 academic year, distance learning had 3,998 students in 6,661 enrollments resulting in 818 full-time equivalent students (FTES). (DE.1, pp. ___).
In the past five years, the college’s dialog on these issues has become more robust and expansive, and the data indicates that the collaboration has resulted in achievement gains which position the college to grow the program with a focus on student success as well as access. For example, in the Research Brief published by the Office of Institutional Research in September, 2015 demonstrated that students who generated a grade record in online courses experienced consistently higher success rates than students in comparable face-to-face courses (72.2% versus 68.1%) across a three-year period (2012-13 through 2014-2015). (DE.8).
As it relates to academic quality and student outcomes, the Curriculum Committee takes an active role to ensure that quality and rigor are sustained in online deliveries. The Curriculum Committee requires that faculty not only initiate a separate approval through an addendum to the original Course Outline of Record. That addendum requires the faculty to not only explain the modifications made to methods of instruction and evaluation, designating if the course will be offered as hybrid (which the college defines as a minimum of 50% of face-to-face contact) or fully online (DE.21). Both choices require faculty to explain why the course will be offered online, which was the result of a dialog between the Distance Education Committee and the Curriculum Committee. The faculty do not change the outcomes for the Course Outline of Record if a course is offered online; however, they are expected to assess the outcomes listed and provide the assessment results for courses using online delivery in a separate section of CurricUNET to be used in departmental dialog regarding student learning and achievement (DE.22, DE.23) (I.B.2).
In terms of assessing outcomes, departments are required to address these issues in Program and Services Review (PSR), and equitable outcomes are a significant portion of that self-evaluation (please see standard I.B.5). In 2010, the college was forced by economic conditions to closely assess its effectiveness, especially in distance education, because resources were becoming so scarce. Various college committees, including the Distance Education Committee, Faculty Senate, and academic administrators evaluated success rates, and a vigorous dialog began regarding institutionally-set standards of variation between face-to-face and online student achievement. After careful review and debate, a number of courses were “shelved” for review because student achievement was at 20% or more lower than face-to-face courses (DE.24)
As a result of that review, the college initiated several components that have contributed to the strength of the infrastructure that supports distance education. First, the Faculty Success Center initiated one of the very first Faculty Inquiry Teams to investigate best practices for distance learning and the factors that impact success (DE.25). That effort represented one of the first earnest investigations into future directions for the college’s distance learning program. The result of that year-long investigation resulted in a set of recommendations that are still used as indicators for the distance education infrastructure (DE.16).
Simultaneously, the Distance Education Committee was also discussing the need to establish some best practices that would help to govern and guide faculty and students engaged in distance learning. In 2011, the Distance Education finalized and established a best practice for “regular effective contact” for online teaching, and these principles are reinforced in ongoing professional learning efforts and training (DE.26). These practices contribute to the overall institutional quality of online learning.
Finally, the college made significant efforts to practice procedures that required specific training. In 2010-2011, the college shifted from Blackboard to Moodle because of a number of problems with the Blackboard interface. After an inclusive review of options, the Distance Education Committee recommended that the college pursue Moodle as the college’s distance learning platform (DE.27, DE.28). With the shift in platforms, training became a priority. In conjunction with an effort to improve student achievement, Moodle training became a minimal requirement for all distance education instructors. Since a faculty assignment that includes online instruction is voluntary according to the Chaffey College Faculty Association (CCFA) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the district asserted the right to make training a mandatory component of the instructional assignment (DE.29). Additionally, since 2012, the CCFA CBA the college is required to hire 1-4 distance education mentors to support training and the expansion of teaching tools. The college also hired a faculty DE Facilitator, who provides leadership for training and academic issues. The inclusion of these additional components, along with a greater emphasis of the evaluation of data, has improved success and achievement overall (DE.30, DE.31).
In 2011-12 the college spent considerable energy evaluating and assessing success and retention data related to online courses and also incorporated student surveys into the planning of institutional needs. As the included data illustrate, students in some courses—especially those with reading and writing prerequisites—generally thrived in online courses. However, foundation courses had more mixed results. As a result, the Distance Education Committee recommended that foundation courses, especially those at the fundamental levels, not be offered in distance education formats, and college scheduling still reflects compliance with that recommendation (DE.32).
The data also revealed that a number of courses with intensive reading requirements also produced success rates lower than what was considered acceptable. The Distance Education Committee recommended that departments have an opportunity to “reinstate courses that had been “shelved” due to performance issues if faculty from those departments completed a “Course Reinstatement Form” explaining how the course would be redesigned to improve student learning and achievement (DE.33, DE.34). The committee also decided that an institutionally-set standard of no more than 10% disparity would be applied when comparing online/hybrid and face-to-face student achievement data (DE.16). Courses that were reinstated then had a two-year review period for further study. This duration respects the need for faculty to experiment and also to develop a body of data significant enough to upon which to draw conclusions.
The following flow chart explains the evaluation process that was ultimately approved by the Distance Education Committee in 2013 and codified in this graphic in 2014 (DE.35) and updated in 2016 (DE.36).
The college is currently using this process to maintain ongoing evaluation of the efficacy of online learning with an understanding that not all courses are necessarily well-suited to an online modality. Training and review processes are also designed to ensure that data is continuously evaluated and that faculty are provided with the tools that they need to support student learning in online environments.
After the completion of the review cycle outlined above, a number of courses experienced increases in student success, which then removed them from “probation” status, and it is also worth noting that many courses are also out-performing face-to-face instruction, which is a testament to the effectiveness of the protocols to review course success rates. Only four courses continued to experience static student outcomes that were well below the institutionally set standard. The Distance Education Committee has recommended that those courses be “parked” for one year, while faculty examine the androgogy of the course and further redesign efforts can be considered (DE.37, DE.38).
In addition to these data, the Distance Education Committee reviewed data from the Chancellor’s Office Distance Education Survey (DE.39) to learn more about the students’ experience. The survey that had the most impact was focused on students who dropped their online courses. From that information, the college began developing tools to assist students, including the redesign of the distance education website (DE.40), which includes a video on myths of distance learning, links to student resources, and distance education was incorporated in the assessment/placement process. As a result of a study conducted by Institutional Research (need validation evidence--DE.41), the college determined that students with self-reported GPAs that indicated strength in math and English were more likely to succeed in distance learning. Consequently, students who fit that model are notified at the point of assessment if they are potentially good candidates for distance learning courses (I.B.3, I.B.4).
The Distance Education program participates in the college’s PSR evaluation processes and has been reviewed twice in this evaluation cycle (DE.4, DE.15). In addition, all instructional programs offering distance education courses also receive feedback on their work on student learning outcomes from the Outcomes and Assessment Committee (OAC). The OAC also produces an SLO Monitoring Report that details for the college the level of assessment activity with documented “closing the loop” results (DE.42). (Please see standard I.B.5 for more information.) As noted earlier, the student learning outcomes for distance education courses are the same as face-to-face courses. Through the SLO and PSR processes, faculty are asked to review disaggregated student achievement data by ethnicity and delivery method and assess (I.B.5, I.B.6)
Administrative Procedure 4105, (Distance Education) requires the college to have a secure credentialing process for distance education students and details the Curriculum Committee’s responsibility to ensure matters of course quality standards and determinations and instructor contact with students are part of the course approval process. The college regularly reviews all board policies and procedures on a six-year cycle (DE.43, DE.44). (I.B.7).
The dialog of the Distance Education Committee is shared through the governance process, since the committee includes a faculty representative from each academic area. Further, dialog initiated by the Distance Education Committee is often processed through other groups like the Faculty Senate or the Curriculum Committee, which post their minutes for all faculty to access (DE.14, DE.45).
The representative nature of the Distance Education Committee ensures that the recommendations and discussions are broadly communicated. Minutes of each meeting are available to all members and can be readily shared. Additionally, the DE Facilitator also makes annual reports to the Faculty Senate for further discussion, and the Dean of Instructional Support and Library Services, who supervises the DE program, also visits the Senate and sits on the Curriculum Committee, which serves to amplify or clarify any discussion that faculty may be having regarding distance learning issues (DE.46). Other groups, like the Faculty Success Center Advisory Committee, Professional Development Committee, and Labor Management also process the dialog around distance learning. Institutional Research is also an active partner in the dialog about distance education, and all groups have relied heavily on data in order to develop a shared understanding of the implications on students.
The protocols of reviewing course success rates and comparing online and face-to-face classes were controversial, and faculty were very engaged in the discussion because of the implications on their individual schedules and on course offerings. As a result, transparency has been an essential element of the implementation of these processes. That transparency is welcomed and actively cultivated (I.B.8).
Evidence of Meeting the Standards
Analysis and Evaluation
Students can readily identify online and hybrid offerings from the Schedule of Classes, which is published on the college website. The Distance Education website also provides useful information for students and faculty (DE.47, DE.48, DE.40).
The Schedule of Classes has historically included tabs that differentiate each campus location. In 2005, the college separated distance education in the Schedule of Classes in order to further provide further clarity to students and the community what the college offered in alternative deliveries. In 2011, the distance education section as renamed online/hybrid in the schedule of classes. The college also publishes any special information related to those sections, which is particularly important for hybrids that rely on face-to-face meetings.
Students are also encouraged in the Schedule of Classes to use the college Distance Education website, which includes useful links for how to accomplish specific college processes and information about how to develop skills that will make online success more likely. The page includes a video about the myths associated with online learning, using student voices, as well as an FAQ page (DE.49) and information about how to access courses (I.C.1, I.C.2).
The college’s decision to limit specific online offerings until the supportive infrastructure to support distance learning was developed demonstrates its commitment to learning and achievement above all else. In 2015, the college was given an unprecedented growth target by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office of 7.94%. The college could have relied upon distance learning offerings for a significant portion of that growth. Instead, the college engaged in thoughtful discussion, using Program and Services Review, to further cultivate the structures necessary to build an excellent program and took a more measured stance (DE.18) (I.C.14).
Evidence of Meeting the Standards
Analysis and Evaluation
All of the programs offered in distance learning are connected to fields of study approved and offered at one or all campuses. They meet the same rigor, approval processes, and review as all other programming. As noted earlier, online offerings go through a separate approval process through the Curriculum Committee and demonstrate their appropriateness for students and the college mission. That process is captured in CurricUNET and reviewed periodically. All courses are reviewed regularly within the acceptable six-year period by the Curriculum Committee, and the evaluation of program health, especially as it relates to student achievement and program completion, occurs in Program and Services Review. Learning outcomes for distance education are disaggregated in CurricUNET as well and processed departmentally. The college does not offer correspondence education.
Because all online courses are reviewed as a parallel to its traditional counterpart, distance learners can be assured the same articulation rights and degree and certificate applicability as every course in the college’s Catalog. The college considers any online course as the same as the face-to-face in content in expectations—only the delivery is distinct (II.A.1).
The college goes to great lengths to ensure that all faculty, full- and part-time, have access to quality professional development and departmental participation. This participation results in the assurance of the implementation of academic and professional standards, subject matter currency, and practices that result in greater student success. The Course Outline of Record outlines the expectations of the course, regardless of delivery. In order to assure that faculty have the opportunity to expand their practices and approaches, all part-time and full-time faculty are invited to participate in the myriad of opportunities through the Faculty Success Center (please see standard III.A.14) (II.A.2).
The Course Outline of Record contains the departmentally agreed upon student learning outcomes, and the Program and Services Review Process requires departments to address their course and programmatic outcomes assessment and the use of results for planning. Learning outcomes for distance education are exactly the same as those for the parallel face-to-face iteration of that course.
As a part of the Assessment Plan that is reviewed by the Outcomes and Assessment Committee, assessment should occur for distance education modes and face-to-face modes, though the results of that assessment are captured separately in CurricUNET (DE.50).
All students, including those in online courses, receive a copy of the syllabus with the most current student learning outcomes. Those syllabi are collected in each dean’s office and reviewed by the office staff and/or the area coordinator. The only difference for online students is that they receive the syllabi through the college’s learning management system, Moodle. The college also assures that all faculty teaching online will utilize the college system for the syllabus and critical course information (DE.29). (II.A.3)
In order to assure that online offerings will provide students with ample opportunity to complete requirements, the Office of Instructional Support provides deans and coordinators with an annual evaluation of the General Education pattern in distance education so that scheduling gaps can be addressed (DE.51, DE.52). Further, deans and coordinators use the Three-Year Plan to monitor and plan offerings, and counselors and students can use this tool as a planning instrument (DE.53). For instance, lab sciences are historically underrepresented in online offerings. The Distance Education Committee and the Physics program have been working together to establish more opportunity in this area so that students who need or want to finish their general education online can do so (DE.13, p. 2) The inclusion of Communication Studies to online offerings for fall of 2016 was also the result of the historical evidence and evaluation of general education offerings in distance education (DE.21). Data informed that collaboration and the need to create more access for students (II.A.6).
As noted earlier, the Distance Education Committee has spent considerable effort to review student achievement data and evaluate effectiveness. This discussion is always informed by the changing needs of students and their diverse perspectives. The college’s diverse student population requires that faculty have an appreciation for their experiences and perspectives. Culturally responsive instruction (DE.54), backed by evidence and research, are widely shared at the college. Specifically, the Chancellor’s Office focus on Equity and the college’s value system has propelled dialog about equitable outcomes to the forefront. That dialog is best evidenced by the topics addressed in the Faculty Success Center (DE.55), the colleges successive Hispanic Serving Institution Title V Grants (DE.56), efforts to influence the achievement gap through the college’s Student Equity Plan (DE.57), and the training requirements to teach in CIM and CIW. Since faculty cannot teach a full course load in distance education per the CCFA Contract (DE.29), faculty teach both traditional and online/hybrid modes simultaneously. Collaboration about students’ needs is at the forefront of all of the college’s professional learning, regardless of modality.
Specifically to address the needs of online learners, the Distance Education Committee has included the Alternative Media Specialist to participate regularly. He conducts training and presentations to the committee, and that information is shared through the DE Facilitator, training, and the Distance Education Website. That information is critical for ensuring 508 compliance in the online learning environment (DE.58). Faculty are encouraged to work one-on-one to make accommodations for students with disabilities, and guidelines regarding 508 compliance are integrated into training for all faculty teaching online.
The college also incorporates emerging technologies to ensure the best learning experience for students and the best teaching experience for students. The college provides ongoing opportunities for the implementation of new tools, like Soft Chalk and Voice Thread (DE.11, p. 2) to experiment with new ways to deliver material. For instance, Voice Thread was introduced so that classes that required oral exchanges, like speech or languages, could improve the learning environment for online/hybrid classes (II.A.7).
As previously described in Standard I of the Distance Education Supplement, the college has made an ongoing commitment to ensure that the quality of instructional programs is continuously evaluated and improved. The review process described earlier illustrates a widely accepted way of evaluating the efficacy of online offerings. As a result of those endeavors, the college has not only improved success rates in many courses critical for completion, but the Distance Education Committee has determined that foundation courses, especially at the most fundamental levels, should not be offered in online formats. In some cases, especially in courses just one level below transfer, success is more likely in the online format versus the face-to-face format (DE.32). The systemic evaluation of outcomes related to individual courses is sustained through the PSR process and informed by feedback from the Outcomes and Assessment Committee (II.A.16).
Evidence of Meeting the Standards
Analysis and Evaluation
Both the Library/Cybraries and the Success Centers work in tandem to assure that students enrolled in online courses receive comparable services to those who are taking face-to-face courses. As noted earlier, only 2.6% of the online student population is enrolled in online only courses—meaning the majority of students are physically on one of the college’s three campuses. Still, the college has made a concerted effort to put as many services as possible online for the conveniences of all students.
All of the college’s sites, including the Success Center in CIW, contain open use computers for student use. Currently, the Rancho library has 105 computers; Chino, 30; and Fontana, 50). This is especially important for students taking online or hybrid courses who may not have access to a computer at home. All sites also provide access to copier machines and print stations.
The Cybraries are designed to provide students with research support and access to print materials through collaboration with the Rancho Library. All online students have database access 24/7 through the college’s Library website. Students may log in directly from the college web page or through the student portal. The credentials used for authentication are the same ones used for the portal in order to streamline ease of use for patrons.
The college provides access to 18 databases and over 200,000 e-books, which are available to all students. The college has made a significant shift from printed materials to e-books since approximately 2009. In 2008-2009, the college had only 24,960 e-books. In the past seven years, the college has shifted resources to provide more electronic media to students with the knowledge that more students prefer to have materials on mobile devices and that online offerings would eventually grow (DE. 59).
All three Library/Cybrary locations provide support to online learners by phone and through email. However, they also provide “Chat Reference” which was added in 2012. Faculty have also developed a best practices document for Chat Reference. This service allows students to instant message live with a librarian through a link on the Library homepage. The service is available to all students who use it to get support from wherever they are. (DE.60, DE.61)
Librarians also provide support through online orientations to Library services and embedded librarian efforts. These services are direct connections between classroom and library faculty. Librarians are “enrolled” into the online class for a specified duration, and they interact with students in either a single event, such as an orientation, or in ongoing dialog, as in the case of imbedded librarianship (DE.62)
To further enhance library services for online students, the Library website was redesigned in the summer of 2012, and some of that reformation continues. The website now includes LibGuides content management, which provides additional points of service for specific disciplines and classes (DE.63, DE.64, DE.65). These repositories represent a type of roadmap of resources to support specific types of inquiry. The Library captures data on the web views and habits of patrons (DE.66). From July 1, 2012 to May 31, 2015, the home page received a total of 512,189 views, demonstrating high usage volume from all of the college’s learners (II.B.1, II.B.2).
The Library regularly assesses services to DE constituents and makes adjustments based on that feedback. In 2009, due specifically to the feedback from a survey of DE instructors, the library expanded services to DE classes to include offering to embed in courses in the form of an “Ask a Librarian” forum. In December 2014interest in embedding a library faculty member in course shell, creation of course-specific research guides and video tutorials was strong in the instructional faculty that responded (DE.67). To better support expansion of services to DE populations and to investigate and develop additional learning tools, responsibilities for outreach and instruction was distributed to all full-time library faculty based on liaison areas by program or school.
The Success Centers also provide computer access at Chino and Fontana; however the Rancho Centers do not function as open lab space since students have access in the Library. Given the volume of contacts in the Rancho Centers, the program determined that open lab space would be challenging to support and since students have other opportunities for computers usage.
Because of capacity constraints, the Centers primarily provide online support only for students with Success Center requirements linked to curriculum. Since English is the only course offered online with Success Center requirements for students, the college directs those students to a service called the “COW” (Chaffey Online Writing) through the Language Success Center. Online students participate in online directed learning activities that are adapted versions of the same materials delivered face-to-face. Those students can satisfy the requirement by completing workshops, learning groups, or Directed Learning Activities (DLAs) at the Chino Success Center, Fontana Success Center, or the Language Success Center. Completing DLAs online is another option available to online English 1A students. Language Success Center tutors provide feedback on online DLAs through the COW. The Language Center is responsible for the delivery and data collection of the COW activities.
At the beginning of the semester, students learn how to use the COW through an email orientation (DE.68) which directs them to screencasts on submitting (DE.69) and getting credit for (DE.70) DLAs and includes screenshot directions. Beginning mid-semester in spring 2015, screencasts and screenshots were added to the online orientation to help students use the COW. Tutors are able to use screencast videos to provide feedback to online students (DE.71, DE.72). In addition, news forum communication throughout the semester was increased. Since those changes were made, the percentage of students using the COW to complete DLAs has increased (DE.73).
Online students who seek tutoring use a service called Smarthinking (DE.74), an online tutoring vendor that the college has been using since 2012. After a demonstration of the product and some evidence of its efficacy from neighboring colleges, the college implemented Smarthinking as the best way to provide online tutoring since it is available 24/7 to students, the tutors are well-qualified and trained, and the turnaround time on responses is faster than what the Success Centers could commit to delivering. A student manual guides students through the process of using those services (DE.75). However, since most of the college’s distance learners also take face-to-face classes, usage data of Smarthinking shows usage is quite small. Many students opt to use the Success Centers in a traditional format for their support needs (DE.76, DE.77) (II.B.1, II.B.2).
The PSR process as well as the Committee’s growth proposal demonstrate the college’s commitment to resource development for the expansion of the online program and the necessary elements for continued training, use of online tools, and increased student support (DE.4, DE.18). The identification of these needs, as well as scheduling considerations and guidelines for future development are processed using evidence and representative dialogue before implementation. (IV.A.1, IV.A.2, IV.A.5)
Evidence of Meeting the Standards
Analysis and Evaluation
All students, including those enrolled in distance education, can access the majority of needed services online. For example, the Admission and Records website (DE.78) delineates the specific services that can be managed online. On the Financial Aid website (DE.79), there is a section on how to apply for financial aid, most of which is web-based. Additionally, the Disability Programs and Services Department (DE.80) can also accommodate most needs (e.g., audio books, time extensions for exams, etc.) electronically as well.
The bulk of counseling services, however, are managed through the college’s student portal. The counseling student portal pages (DE.81) provide online access for students for the following services:
Although the college does not have online counseling, students can make appointments for counseling through the college’s website. Additionally, as noted earlier, since more than 97% of the online students are also enrolled in face-to-face courses, distance education students have full access to counseling services at all three campuses. Moreover, the college’s effort to scale up student services to meet the demands of the Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) ensured that all students have more access to matriculation services than ever before in the college’s history. In just two-year’s time, the GPS Centers have become thriving hubs of support both new and continuing students. During the calendar year of 2015, the GPS centers combined had more than 33,517 contacts (Chino, 12,813; Fontana, 7,398; and Rancho, 13,307—DE.82) (II.C.1).
Counseling faculty have been heavily involved in the development of the student portal. They have also been at the forefront of the implementation of an electronic educational planning tool that is ideal for use with distance education students (DE.83). The program is accessible to students online and can be viewed from either a computer or hand held device.
Department faculty and staff have received ongoing training on the use to this program. As such, the faculty and staff are working to integrate this program as a key component to services provided to all students seeking online counseling services (DE.84). Toward that end, the School of Counseling launched a task force in spring 2016 to develop an implementation plan for fully online counseling and support services (II.C.5).
Evidence of Meeting the Standards
Analysis and Evaluation
All faculty at the college must meet the minimum content mastery as outlined by the Chancellor’s Office requirements to teach within a discipline. In order to teach in the distance education program, faculty must also meet training standards outlined by the college and the Distance Education Committee.
In 2010 when the college’s Blackboard license expired, the Distance Education Committee recommended that the college shift to Moodle as the official learning management system. When Moodle was launched, the administration took the position that because online instruction was a voluntary faculty assignment, those instructors who wanted to participate would also be required to meet minimum training standards (DE.28, DE.29). Initially, all training occurred face-to-face and was delivered by the Distance Education Facilitator and Distance Education Co-Chair, as well as the Distance Education Support Specialist and Distance Education Committee Co-Chair. Training consisted of direct instruction and “lab” time with hands-on practice (DE.85). Faculty who wanted to just enhance their face-to-face courses with the online platform were required four hours of training, and online/hybrid instructors were required eight hours of training.
More recently, the college has embraced a more sophisticated and flexible schedule for training using Learning Spaces, provided by Remote Learning, a Moodle partner. Faculty can now do all of the required Moodle training online using Learning Spaces. Learning spaces is divided into 25 different modules that each focus on various activities and tasks that are used in online instruction (e.g., assignments, quizzes, posting documents, glossaries, and discussion boards). Faculty being trained for online or hybrid instruction must complete four required modules and four elective modules. The faculty page (DE.86) of the Distance Education website has a link to the Learning Spaces guide (DE.87) which contains a more in-depth description of the training process. The entire effort to enforce training was an initial step toward improving the success rates in online courses by ensuring that faculty had the requisite skills and training.
To further support this evolving need to support faculty expertise, the college addressed required training in the CCFA contract Article 19.1 on page 55 that states, “Assignments shall be contingent upon proficiency and currency in such areas as district and departmental standards, technology, and training in distance education instructional methods and best practices, and laws and regulations applicable to distance education (DE.29).” The college has also prioritized an instructional designer position for the 2016-2017 year (DE.88). That position will work in tandem with the Faculty Success Center to provide ongoing enrichment and professional opportunities to ensure that online learning experiences are effectively designed (III.A.1, III.A.2).
Faculty teaching online are evaluated as part of the regular cycle as defined in the CCFA Contract. Faculty, regardless of their teaching modality, are evaluated by their peers using the schedule outlined in the CCFA Contract in Article 20 page 57 (DE.29). Specifically as it relates to online instruction, faculty who teach distance education as part of their load are included in the regular process of review. If a full-time faculty member has taught at least 20 FTEF in either of the preceding years of the evaluation cycle, then the committee will observe at least one distance education course as part of the evaluation. If distance education is part of the assignment for a part-time faculty member as part of the assignment in the evaluation term, the committee will observe at least one distance education course as part of the regular review. These evaluations assure that the level of quality and rigor are being supported in online courses and that instructors receive feedback from peers about how to improve, if needed (III.A.5).
In order to assure that faculty have the opportunity to expand their practices and approaches, all part-time and full-time faculty are invited to participate in the myriad of opportunities through the Faculty Success Center (DE.56). This includes workshops (DE.89), Faculty Inquiry Teams (DE.90), seminars (DE.91), Success on Demand (DE.92), and Faculty Engaged in Discussion sessions (FED) (DE.93). Specifically for online and hybrid instructors, faculty have the opportunity to utilize the information provided on the Distance Education website (DE.40), the spring Moodle Moot (DE.94), and Tech Fridays (DE.95) in the Faculty Success Center (DE.56). Specifically, the Moodle Moot emulates the Moots conducted in many different parts of the world by the Moodle organization. The Moots are multi-day events which include hands-on workshops and lectures to share uses and tools of Moodle for instructors. Chaffey’s annual Mini Moots are offered on a Saturday in April for all interested Chaffey instructors. The previous four convenings to date have included topics such as Moodle tools (2012), Updates to the Moodle Platform (2013), Using SoftChalk with Moodle (2014), and Moodle and Badging (2015). All of these efforts just complement the foundational required training for Moodle necessary to be scheduled for an online or hybrid course
While the more technical professional development is designed specifically for online instructors, the more general Faculty Success Center offerings that address engagement, equity, and motivation are also applicable to online learning environments, and instructors who participate in these sessions can further discuss the applicability to online learning either within that session, or the DE facilitator may amplify the topic in a Moot or in training sessions or labs (III.A.14).
The college’s response to Standard III.B is the same as noted for face-to-face instruction and, thus, is not discussed here.
Evidence of Meeting the Standards
Analysis and Evaluation
The college’s Institutional Technology (IT) department and the Distance Education program work in tandem to ensure that students and faculty are well-served. IT works with Remote Learner, the college’s Moodle vendor, to support the administrative infrastructure to provide reliable and effective learning management through the Moodle platform. Specifically, the Distance Education Support Specialist works closely with the programmers in IT to continuously improve the integration of Datatel/Colleague (Ellucian) and Remote Learner. This connectivity is particular important to register students into their online courses and manage add/drop activity
The IT department has also worked closely to ensure that online students have greater access to the internet through enhancements that have more than doubled the capacity of the wireless network, which has been critical to students enrolled in distance learning and rely on their portable devices, including their phones, to maintain contact with their online learning
IT has also added a screen to MyChaffeyVIEW (DE.96) so that faculty can select which classes they would like to have uploaded to Moodle so that they can set up their course shells in a timely fashion. A program takes the faculty requests for courses, creates an extract, and then uploads that information through a secure process from the college’s system to the Moodle server.
A screen has also been developed in Colleague (DE.96) to assist the Distance Education Support Specialist and Facilitator that records and identifies instructors who have received proficiency for their Moodle training. Classes instructors identify on MyChaffeyView to be uploaded to Moodle will only be initiated once faculty complete the required training. In
addition to these processes, the Distance Education program also relies on IT for various extracts and reports for review (III.C.1, III.C.3)
Evidence of Meeting the Standard
Analysis and Evaluation
With respect planning and resource allocation, the Distance Education program participates in the college’s Program and Services Review processes to ensure that the needs of the program are incorporated into budget development and planning. The majority of distance education infrastructure costs are disbursed throughout various college budgets. For example, the school budgets include the faculty costs for instruction, and the Success Center and Library budgets include the resources for student support. In fall 2016, a growth proposal was developed to expand support to the college’s distance education infrastructure. Although the college was paying for these services through various funds (grants, basic skills monies, etc.), the $244,000 proposal was designed to both expand the distance education infrastructure and to more fully institutionalize distance education by using general fund monies to cover the costs (DE.18). The proposal included the following items:
The proposal was reviewed by the Distance Education Committee and Leadership Team as part of the college’s overall growth agenda for the 2016-2017 year. From the proposal, the following changes occurred:
The college continues to strengthen and expand the distance education infrastructure through effective planning and resource allocation processes in a manner that supports the college mission. (III.D.1).
Evidence of Meeting the Standard
Analysis and Evaluation
Distance education at the college is governed by input from the Distance Education Committee, Faculty Senate, Curriculum Committee, DPS Program, DE Facilitator and Support Specialist under the supervision of the Dean of Instructional Support and Library Services. Over the past five years, the college has developed a robust infrastructure of support, innovation, and decision-making that has resulted in the improvement of student achievement. Minutes from meetings illustrate the evolution of this infrastructure and the rising indicators that the college has strengthened online learning. Each month the Distance Education Committee, with representation from faculty, staff, and administration, meets to discuss, decide, and implement programmatic improvements and continuously nurture an aspirational environment for learning (DE.11, DE.13, DE.14, DE.19, DE.45).