A community college expands its online learning program
Looking to grow, a community college expands its online learning program
Eastern Gateway Community College, Steubenville, Ohio
In 2014, Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC) in Steubenville, Ohio, was looking for a way to increase its enrollment and meet the needs of adult learners. To accomplish these goals, EGCC decided to expand its online learning program.
The college already offered some online courses, but it lacked the internal capacity to expand the program. So EGCC began researching vendors who could help it grow while maintaining the college’s high standards. The college chose Pearson as its online learning partner, and working together, they developed three programs (business management, criminal justice, and an associate of arts) using Pearson’s Propero® courses.
Since 75 to 80 percent of EGCC’s online courses are taught by adjunct faculty, EGCC and Pearson designed an orientation program to familiarize first-time users with the course platform and content. “We make it clear to the adjuncts that the content is here,” Kenneth Knox, interim vice-president, Academic Affairs, noted. “We’re not hiring them to design a course; we’re hiring them to facilitate a course.”
James Gibbs, an adjunct professor for the Principles of Management course, noted that before Propero, he created online courses that included a lot of documents, PowerPoints, and assignments, which could sometimes be overwhelming for students. But with Propero, “the transition is really smooth,” he noted. “I like the application and the website, especially when dealing with the course material. It is easier to get to the books, the supplements, and the course questions and quizzes. And the students enjoy it because the quizzes set them up to prepare for the tests.”
For the online learning courses, the role of EGCC faculty is to advise and coach students through regular and meaningful interaction. Gibbs does this through weekly emails, checking in with students to ensure that they are completing their assignments and that their questions are answered. Propero’s analytics show him which students are falling behind in their work or struggling with the material.
Since the partnership launched, the number of distinct Propero courses has grown from eight to twenty while enrollment in the online learning courses has increased from 232 to 1,300 students. EGCC has promoted the program to labor unions throughout Ohio and plans to expand its promotional efforts to labor unions throughout the country later this year, which could result in an increase in enrollment totaling 5,000 to 10,000 students.
“What has really contributed to the growth in enrollment in our programs is the consistency that we can offer across multiple sections,” Knox explained. “The courses all look the same because we use Propero content. Students like that, the faculty likes that, and, more importantly, it allows us to take the content to scale.”
Propero is a way to take your online programs to scale and reach a larger audience.
Kenneth Knox, Interim Vice-President, Academic Affairs
Faculty members appreciate Propero’s high-quality content and automatic scoring of assignments and assessments, which frees up their time so they can concentrate on teaching. “We can be more focused on the material and actually helping the students compared to lecturing,” Gibbs commented. “It’s a great instrument to have to help you stay on track and teach the material. I enjoy it.”
Propero honestly makes the adjunct job a lot easier.
James Gibbs, Adjunct Professor, Principles of Management
Feedback from students has also been positive. “They like the consistency of the offering, the content, the interactive presentations, the availability of the audio to-go and the videos, as well as the pace charts, and they like that they can work ahead,” Knox commented. “Students love it.”
To learn more about Eastern Gateway Community College’s online learning programs, read the full success story.
Online learning courses for student and institutional success
Propero is an award-winning collection of online learning courses offered to colleges and universities as an additional tool to help students complete their certificates or degrees. Propero courses are fully inclusive of all course components, including interactive lesson presentations, downloadable audio podcasts, eBooks, assessments, live tutoring, and student success coaching.