COD Online Largest Among Illinois Community Colleges
By Mike McKissack
According to a report released by Illinois Virtual Campus, the online learning program at College of DuPage has the highest enrollment of any community college or public university in Illinois. The report, based on information supplied by the Illinois Community College Board, also lists College of DuPage as having the third largest online enrollment of any higher-learning organization in Illinois.
Online class enrollment at College of DuPage has seen considerable growth in the last three years, more than doubling since the summer of 2009. Lisa Stock, Dean of Learning Resources at the College, attributes the growth to a variety of factors, particularly increased acceptance of online learning by both College faculty and students, and a strategic, centralized development of the online program at the College.
A concerted effort is being made to develop a full portfolio of courses that create pathways to stackable credentials leading to certificates and degrees, Stock said. These developments reflect the needs and desires of contemporary students.
"In the early days of online learning, the majority of students taking online classes were either out-of-district or non-traditional students-typically professionals who were furthering their education who needed non-traditional scheduling. Things have changed. Now the majority of students in online classes are in-district, traditional students, many of whom take a combination of face-to-face and online courses," Stock said.
As the statistics verify, students are increasingly choosing the convenience, flexibility and savings found in an online learning environment. According to Min Pan, Manager of COD Online, there is no difference in terms of quality between online and classroom-based courses.
"Our online courses are required to meet the same standards and learning objectives as traditional classes, which ensures the quality of COD's online offerings," Pan said.
Credits earned from courses online are not differentiated from those earned in a traditional classroom setting. Consequently, these courses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and can be transferred to university programs.
With more than 14 new courses added during the last two terms, COD Online now offers more than 250 courses in 44 disciplines. At present, students can earn an Associate in Arts or an Associate in General Studies entirely online. An Associate in Science can be earned online with the exception of an additional classroom or independent study class. In addition, all courses for Associate in Applied Science degrees in Administrative Assistance, Criminal Justice, Executive Assistance, Fire Science Technology, Library Information Technology and Management can be earned entirely online. The College also offers more than 20 certificate programs that can be earned online such as Criminal Justice, Management, Marketing and Organizational Leadership.
2014 College of DuPage