How have your offerings/class structures/programs changed since many schools had to shift learning to fully online due to the pandemic? What positive changes did you see as a result of this shift that you plan to keep?
NCC had to shift to fully remote, much like many others in the area, when the pandemic hit. Luckily, NCC was well-versed in delivering classes in an online format, with over 20 years of experience. However, the College allowed for more flexible course offerings to students.
NCC offers course formats to fit a student’s life, allowing them to select the best options for their busy schedules. Formats range from in-person, online, hybrid and more. Some online courses meet at a scheduled time, while others are self-paced with weekly milestones. These formats have given students more control of their learning, while placing an emphasis on health and safety practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Tell us about your partnership with CourseArc. How has CourseArc played a role in your ability to support students and educators?
When we launched CourseArc at NCC, our first focus area was on Faculty Training. We knew that if we could get faculty on board and excited about CourseArc that they would see it as a valuable tool that they could adopt in their own teaching. We redesigned our Online Learning 101: Online Teaching Training course using CourseArc. This training course is required for faculty who wish to teach online at NCC. Faculty who participated in the training responded positively to CourseArc and several of them chose to adopt CourseArc for their own courses. This eventually expanded into use in several programs at the College, including Dental Hygiene, College Success, and Early Childhood Education.
On the student side, we created an engaging onboarding tool to help students learn how to use Blackboard, student email, video conferencing tools, and other things necessary to be a successful student. We are able to share the link to the session and update the session as needed without needing to send out a new link. Using CourseArc, we are able to give students different ways to learn, including embedding videos, linking to supplemental information, clicking around on images for more information and using virtual flashcards. Students can access this information on a computer or mobile device and they can refer back to it as needed. One of our favorite things about CourseArc is the built-in accessibility features. Universal design and accessibility are very important to us, so we appreciate a tool that is intentional about providing accessible content to learners.
How do you hope to continue to engage your learners online?
NCC has been offering high quality online education for 20+ years. As we move forward through the changing landscape of Higher Education, we plan to continue offering flexible course formats, providing equitable learning opportunities, and creating more accessible course content to support student needs.
What advice would you give to other organizations seeking to develop online content?
Work with organization stakeholders and online learning experts to identify student needs and to determine what high quality, engaging online learning would look like at your organization. Identify innovative course developers and those who are passionate about supporting learners who can support online content development. Don’t be afraid to try new tools, like CourseArc, that can provide accessible, engaging learning experiences. And lastly, keep learning and exploring new tools, pedagogy and trends in online education that can take your program to the next level.