The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Addressing Student’s Preferences Towards Online Learning: The Role of An Online Campus within a Multi-campus College System

Carlos Morales, Tarrant County College—TCC Connect Campus (United States)


Online education, its outcomes, impact, and validity are among the most researched topics in higher education, both as the interest of individual researchers or as a topic selected by graduate students pursuing masters and doctoral degrees [1, 2, 3]. In the last two decades, several metanalyses have validated this practice. The flexibility, convenience, and focus on individualized education afforded by online eLearning make it the ideal modality for students to pursue a higher education credential as they juggle multiple responsibilities. For at least a decade, students' increased interest has been documented in studies such as the Sloan-C reports (2012-2019) and the CHLOE reports (2017-2020), showing a continuous growth trajectory. TCC Connect Campus is the online campus of Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas, established eight years ago in 2014 [4]; the college serves a student population of almost 100,000 students every semester. While much of students' preferences to select online learning may be attributed to the Pandemic [5], it is also dependent on the availability of online learning at an educational institution [6]. In the case of TCC Connect Campus, this availability with a focus on quality and rigor of academic offerings is supported by student services that include success coaches and advising that occurs at the students' time. Moreover, it focuses on reducing the time towards graduation, which may also influence students' decision to enroll in the modality. The campus offers multiple terms to accommodate students' schedules, ranging from 16 weeks to 4 weeks in length. The need to support students' preferences in the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters was possible with the availability of these tools [7, 8]. The online campus offers 37 fully online Associate Degree and Certificate programs in Business, Information Technology, and Office Technology. To support the academic offerings, faculty follows rigorous professional development in several aspects of online pedagogy, online presence, course development, and online classroom administration. Online course development follows a centralized approach that results in the design of a master course allowing faculty to concentrate on teaching the subject rather than on aspects of course design; a team of instructional designers provides that service [9, 10,11]. The students interested in enrolling in online courses and programs start by completing a Readiness Assessment. This assessment measures their aptitude towards the modality in various technical areas. Students are supported via online student services, including online advising, success coaches, online tutoring, and an online career tool. The campus touts a 76% success rate for all the offered terms. In this presentation, the author discusses the strategies employed by an online campus to support a college system and address students' learning needs that have voiced a preference for online learning.

Keywords: e-Learning, Online Learning, ICT in Education, Teacher Professional Development

[1] Bozkurt, A., Akgun-Ozbek, E., Yilmazel, S., Erdogdu, E., Ucar, H., Guler, E., & Aydin, C. H. (2015). Trends in distance education research: A content analysis of journals 2009-2013. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(1), 330-363.

[2] Veletsianos, G., & Shepherdson, P. (2016). A systematic analysis and synthesis of the empirical MOOC literature published in 2013–2015. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(2), 198-221.

[3] Bozkurt, A., & Zawacki-Richter, O. (2021). Trends and patterns in distance education (2014–2019): a synthesis of scholarly publications and a visualization of the intellectual landscape. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 22(2), 19-45.

[4] Morales, C.R. (2017). Managing quality in online education: a peer development approach to course design. In Proceedings 33rd Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning Conference. Paper presented at the 33rd DT&L Conference. Madison, Wisconsin.


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