Courtesy of Jan Janes with Gavilan College:
Gavilan College Career Education, with a deep legacy in online course delivery, is implementing a $500,000 grant across seven Career Education (CE) disciplines.
The plan increases student access, speeds their time to complete certificate programs and improves instructional quality to align with state online education rubrics. At the same time, the program decreases student costs by using free or very low cost instructional materials.
Gavilan College Career Education chose specific career pathways to redesign multiple online certificates that confer skills in high demand by regional employers.
Gavilan College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, covers a 2,700 square mile area, with economic disparity between the northern quarter and the southern three-quarters of the district. Thousands of residents find themselves economically and educationally “stranded.” More than 42,000 district residents have earned only a high school diploma or some college, but no degree.
Obstacles blocking them from traditional higher education and improved economic opportunity include work, family obligations, transportation challenges, available time and overall costs.
Implementing this grant improves employment equity for lower-income residents. These certificate programs can be fulfilled completely online, within one year, and improve economic stability by getting students job-market ready in industries with projected growth.
Gavilan’s program will decrease education costs by offering zero-textbook-cost (ZTC) and Open Educational Resources (OER). The college library will curate these materials and develop a free, accessible database of instructional materials. Curriculum designers consult with industry professionals and college advisory boards to verify the use of current industry content.
The online classes will meet online curriculum standards established by the California Online Education Initiative (OEI). Students throughout California can enroll and complete any online OEI-approved class and have the units accepted at other in-state community colleges.
The seven departments have completed their initial curriculum updates, and 30 online courses are being evaluated within Gavilan’s curriculum committee process and at the Chancellor’s Office. The overall statewide grant funding of $35 million was the result of California State Budget Act (SB840). To date, 70 California community colleges have been awarded one-year grants to improve online CTE pathways.
Gavilan’s Distance Education Coordinator, Sabrina Lawrence, is the co-investigator for the grant project team. Working with faculty, she has expanded Gavilan’s distance education course offerings by more than 200% during the past decade. The seven designated pathways will implement one-year, fully online CTE certificate programs beginning with Fall 2020 classes.