Community Colleges Face a Number of Digital Challenges -- Engaging Faculty is No. 1

May 3, 2017

Community college online administrators have had the same No. 1 challenge since 2012: engaging faculty in developing online courses. That's according to a new report by the Instructional Technology Council of the American Association of Community Colleges.

The 2016 ITC National eLearning Report also shows that assessing online learning and performance and orientation and preparation for learning were the No. 1 and No. 2 challenges for faculty and administrators last year. (The order was reversed in 2015.) No. 3 for both groups was low completion rate for students taking online classes -- an issue that's moved up the in rank since 2012, the survey results show. 

Other data points from the ITC report reveal that: 

  • 94 percent of the community colleges that responded offered at least one online degree in 2016, up from 66 percent in 2010.
  • 95 percent of respondents said their community colleges' online courses were equivalent or better than their traditional courses.
  • 76 percent percent said they don't plan to offer massive open online courses; 16 percent offer MOOCs and 5 percent said they would offer them in next two years.
  • 37 percent of those surveyed said their online courses were completely or mostly compliant with Section 504 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, down from 73 percent in 2008. The report shows the percentage dropping every year since 2011.
  • Blackboard and Canvas are No. 1 and No. 2 learning management systems used by community colleges, and are way ahead of the next biggest competitor, Moodle. But a chart in the report shows that Canvas is steadily chipping away at Blackboard's and Moodle's positions. Blackboard was used by 58 percent of the community colleges in 2013; last year, it was 43 percent. Canvas was employed by 12 percent of community colleges in 2013 and by 23 percent last year. Moodle was used by 17 percent in 2013, but its use had fallen to 13 percent by 2016.

As reported in Inside Digital Learning last week, community colleges are split on the adoption of open education resources, according to the report: 57 percent of respondents believe that in three to five years, open education resources would have a significant impact on community colleges -- but 41 percent said they would have very little impact.

The report said that roadblocks to OER adaption among community colleges are time needed to locate and evaluate resources (77 percent), lack of faculty awareness (70 percent), lack of ancillary materials (45 percent) and credibility of sources (45 percent).



Inside Higher Ed's Inside Digital Learning

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