By Sarah Farng
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD — How are online classes conducted at CCC and how effective are they for students?
The question was posed to Scott Purdy, assistant director of distance learning, and E-learning specialist Rosalia DeNardo.
With a prevalence of online courses—an estimated 12,000-14,000 campus courses a year, according to Purdy—the web platform for student e-learning had to be dynamic.
CCC uses WebStudy log-in, which is “very interactive,” said Purdy.
On the timeline, each session has assignments, tasks, or other content that takes students to the next session. These could be reading materials, exams, forums, or videos, according to Purdy.
“We don’t want students to have a two hour lecture, but keep short bursts of different information,” he said.
Online classes require slightly more time, according to DeNardo and Purdy.
“Videos tend to be a little more work than a two-and-a-half hour lecture,” said DeNardo, and questions take longer to be answered over technology, according to DeNardo and Purdy.
“It is also a more involved process for a teacher to resend an exam if a student misses class,” said Purdy. “We encourage [students] not to wait. . .to complete work.”
According to Purdy, communication between teachers and students is key. “We get people traveling, older students, single mothers. . .These students will have questions and need more attention.” Teachers are encouraged to post public forums for student questions, which reduces teacher emails, according to DeNardo.
For students intimidated by the idea of an online course, the college posts a self assessment that measures students’ basic computer skills and predictors of success. “It asks for basic skills like cutting and pasting documents and if students are disciplined,” said DeNardo.
Workshops also help students determine whether online courses are right for them.
Since June, students have participated in practicing log-in and other functions of WebStudy, according to DeNardo. “Generally within 24 hours [workshops] have been filling up. We had to add on two more sessions,” said DeNardo.
According to Purdy, the number of online courses increased nationally out of student interest. Distance learning has been a very successful program at CCC, with a ten-fold increase in registrations (up from 1300-1400 registrations in the last 14 years), according to Purdy. Still, he said, ” Online courses are “not for everyone.”