June 2022 Update

Colleagues,

I hope your summer is going well thus far and that you are able to get some rest and recovery.  Work is continuing on the CO Online @ project over the summer, so I wanted to share some updates with you.

  • This week and next I am meeting with the college presidents in small groups to update them on Colorado Online@ project goals, progress made so far, and next steps needed to fully transition to the Colorado Online@ consortial approach by Fall 2024.   
  • Representatives on our Colorado Online@ project subcommittees continued to meet on a limited basis this July so that we will be ready to begin setting up college-based implementation teams in the fall:
    • Academic Affairs is preparing a semester-by-semester plan for moving courses in specified disciplines to the colleges.
    • Student Support is clarifying key business processes.
    • Learning Resources is negotiating systemwide contracts for better pricing on textbooks and beginning work on the shared online library which will be ready for student use by Summer 2023.
    • Learning Design is preparing professional development for instructors on the common course framework, QM+ standards, and the Healthy Course Checklist.
    • Technology is focused on ensuring that students have seamless access to all their courses on the new single instance of D2L this fall, including expanded use of Zoom and Yuja.
  • The Design / Build team will complete their work this month on the section allocation process, the preliminary financial model, and the requirements for any technology build. 
  • Representatives from each of the colleges are working to propose common start dates, registration dates, and census dates in response to the Presidents’ decision to align these aspects of our calendars to better support enrollment management and clear communication with students.  The Presidents will provide feedback on which semester makes most sense to begin using these new dates.

Due to Microsoft Outlook sending limits, I am not able to send this message to every relevant party.  I highly recommend recommended that college leadership share this message across their colleges as appropriate.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or Tammy Vercauteren, Project Director of the Colorado Online @ Strategic Plan.

Sincerely,

Landon

Monthly Update

Colleagues,

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful summer months.  Following are highlights of progress on the Colorado Online @ project so far this summer.

First, we are pleased to have received funding from the Board that will allow us to move forward with several initiatives designed to increase equity and better support the success of all students in the online environment:  

  • Students and instructors at all colleges will gain access to Zoom for synchronous online meetings, and Yuja for more efficient storage, streaming, and captioning of online content
  • A centralized ticketing system will be procured to help coordinate academic technology support between college and system staff, extending the level of service available to all instructors and students, especially during evening and weekend hours
  • A syllabus management tool will be procured to simplify updates to syllabi and make them more easily accessible online
  • Systemwide licensing and support for online library materials, research guides, and website tools will extend access to all students, at a lower overall cost than would be possible through individual college licensing

In addition, planning efforts continue to move forward, including:   

  • Completion of the Design/Build process and communication to key stakeholders (July)
    • Registration, scheduling, and course allocation process finalized
    • Preliminary financial model finalized
    • IT Project Request finalized
  • Completion of a semester-by-semester timeline for when instruction by discipline moves from CCCOnline to the colleges (August)
  • Adding additional HR support to focus exclusively on CCCOnline instruction (instructors, etc.) moving to the colleges (August)
  • Determination of standardized start dates, registration dates, census dates, parts of term of online courses, etc. (August).

The Colorado Online @ Steering Committee will meet in early July and we will bring the above items to the August President’s Council meeting.  We will continue to send monthly updates over the summer and post changes to the Colorado Online @ Blog.  As always, feel free to contact me or Tammy Vercauteren, Project Director of the Colorado Online @ Strategic Plan, if you have any questions or concerns about the project.

Sincerely,

Landon

Monthly Update

Colleagues,

I hope you enjoyed time with family and friends this Memorial Day weekend.  As we wrap up graduations and an incredibly busy year, I am excited to announce progress in three key areas of the Colorado Online @ project:

  1. Assigned instructors already have access to our new single instance of D2L to begin preparing fall courses, and we are on track for students to begin accessing all of their fall online course shells from their home college D2L dashboard in August.  
  2. We have adopted QM+ as the foundation for our online course quality standards, along with a streamlined Healthy Course Checklist to support implementation. The Learning Design Team enhanced the popular Quality Matters standards with additional standards reflecting our commitment to DEI and accessibility, and then made them easier to use by distilling them into a two-page Healthy Course Checklist aimed at continuous improvement in six key areas.  Pending a CO Online financial model and budget approval, we will hire a Learning Designer to provide professional development and support in the areas of Accessibility and Universal Design, and we will incorporate a web-based accessibility checker into D2L.   
  3. After a successful pilot with SPA and ECE this spring, we will begin using the new Collaborative Learning Design process to develop additional Ready-to-Teach course starting this fall. Discipline faculty will partner with skilled learning designers to develop course maps and curate content for Ready-to-Teach course shells that will be built to be fully accessible and align with all the QM+ standards. These course shells will be available as a resource to faculty and instructors from across the system.

To provide excellent, equitable instruction and services to our online students, we will continue to build on this spirit of collaboration, working across colleges with support from system office staff.  Last Thursday, the VP Council participated in a half-day Colorado Online @ Summit to discuss operational aspects of the Spring 2023 pilot and subsequent roll-out for Academic and Student Affairs.  While there are still many decisions to be finalized, the VP workgroups will begin outlining college-specific implementation and communication plans over the summer.  In the coming month, the Design/Build team will continue to refine our model for equitably distributing course sections across colleges, create the foundation for our financial model, and clarify the scope of technical changes needed for students to start registering for Spring 2023 pilot courses in October. 

We will continue to send monthly updates over the summer and post changes to the Colorado Online @ Blog.  As always, feel free to contact me or Tammy Vercauteren, Project Director of the Colorado Online @ Strategic Plan, if you have any questions or concerns about the project.

Sincerely,

Landon

Monthly Update

Colleagues,

Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the Colorado Online @ project this year, from the faculty, instructors, students and staff who have served directly on the project team and subcommittees, to the many more who have provided input through the Online Faculty and Instructor Advisory Committee, functional groups, the open forum, the mini-conference and other venues. 

I am proud of the progress we have made so far:  

  • Starting this fall, faculty and students will be able to access all of their online courses from a single login screen in Desire2Learn (including web-based components of classroom and hybrid courses).  This was one of the most frequent requests from faculty and students when we surveyed them last spring.  Expanded help desk support will also be available.
  • A common main navigation bar and course home page layout will make it easier for students to find important course information so they can focus on their learning.  For fully online courses, the common course framework will display the dates associated with weekly units or content modules, helping students stay on schedule.
  • We have designed and piloted a new collaborative course design process where learning designers work with faculty to develop discipline-approved Ready-to-Teach courses.  Instructors from across the system will have the option to design their own courses or use the Ready-to-Teach courses as a resource – in whole or in part — confident that they address the course learning outcomes as well as accessibility and quality standards. 
  • The Learning Design subcommittee has developed enhanced Quality Matters standards, incorporating principles of DEI and Universal Design (QM+).  They have also developed a streamlined Healthy Course Checklist based on these standards.
  • We have agreed upon a registration model that increases opportunities for students to take online courses through their home college, while also providing access to online courses taught by other colleges within the Colorado Community College System.   Online sections will be allocated to colleges based initially on their historical online enrollment in both home college and CCCOnline sections.  This means that colleges will need to increase the number of sections they offer, and college presidents are committed to supporting CCCOnline instructors in the hiring process.

Looking ahead to fall:

  • This summer we will continue working on the financial model, technology needs, and other logistical details so that we can share a more detailed timeframe for when courses and services will transition to the new Colorado Online @ consortium.
  • Work groups will be established to focus on accreditation, communication, professional development, and business processes.
  • We will also work with the state discipline chairs in preparation for the 2:2 so that colleges can begin planning for sections to be taught through the Colorado Online @ consortium in the following academic year (AY 23/24).     

As always, additional details on the project can be found on the Colorado Online @ blog, including a recording of the Open Forum held on April 21, featuring a summary of progress on the single instance by Frank Vazquez and a quick tour of the common course framework by Stephanie Wickman.  A list of questions asked during the forum and answers will also be posted on the blog site.

Don’t hesitate to contact me or Tammy Vercauteren, Colorado Online @ Project Director, with any questions.

Sincerely,

Landon

Recommendation Decisions

After reviewing the recommendations and reading all of the feedback received, [Landon has] made decisions on all 5 recommendations.

  1. Learning Design Committee Recommendation – Common D2L Framework

    Decision – Approved

    Rationale – The proposal was well thought out and clear.  In addition, this recommendation is in line with one of the guardrails of the CO Online @ Strategic Plan document where all online courses would have a common look/feel and consistent navigation.


  2. Learning Design Committee Recommendation – Common Tool for Syllabus Management

    Decision – Approved with contingencies

    Rationale – There is a need for a solid mechanism for syllabus storage and sharing in order to facilitate cross-college registration.  Furthermore, this tool would provide a consistent student experience and better support student expectations.  Finally, this tool would allow for the creation of course material (and OER) lists that can be published online, shared with bookstores, and provided to students in advance of the course.

    Contingencies – (1) Because this tool will likely cost more than $25,000, there must be an RFP done to identify a vendor; (2) If the Decision Item for the FY23 budget is approved, this decision can move forward after July 1, 2022; (3) if the Decision Item for the FY23 budget is not approved, then this expenditure will need to be built into the CO Online @ financial model during the FY24 budget. It can then move forward after July 1, 2023.


  3. Student Support Services Committee Recommendation – Disability Services

    Decision – Approved with contingencies

    Rationale – There is a strong need to develop shared guidelines, protocols, and language regarding accessibility services across all colleges.  There also is a need to ensure equitable access to assistive technology regardless of the student’s geographic location, which is a core tenant of the CO Online @ Strategic Plan.  Furthermore, colleges have varying levels of software for accommodation decisions, data management, and communications.  This software would provide access to common software across all colleges.  Finally, a system director for accessibility services would provide support to all colleges regarding technology, accommodations, assistive technology, and policy.

    Contingencies – (1) CCCOnline can move forward with writing and classifying the position using their vacant FTE.  However, if additional dollars are needed, hiring the position will be dependent on finding dollars in the existing FY22/FY23 budget.  The position would then be incorporated into the CO Online @ financial model; (2) May move forward with an RFI to identify potential vendors and costs for the software.  The results of the RFI should be used to inform the development of the financial model for CO Online @.  Conducting a full RFP can occur once funding is identified for the software solution.

  4. Technology Committee Recommendation – Readspeaker

    Decision – Approved with contingencies

    Rationale – This product enhances the online course experience.  In addition, because of its universal design, it’s available and helpful to all students.  Finally, CCCOnline has the budget for FY23 to pilot Readspeaker systemwide during Fall 2022 and Spring 2023. 

    Contingencies – (1) May use Readspeaker during the FY23 year using CCCOnline dollars to cover the cost system-wide; (2) Prior to FY24, an RFP must be completed to identify potential vendors and pricing.  This RFP should ensure that both non-credit and credit courses are covered and that there is a strong integration with D2L; (3) The ongoing cost should be built into the CO Online @ financial model.

  5. Technology Committee Recommendation – Internal vs. External Messaging

    Decision – Internal messaging will be used in the single instance of D2L

    Rationale – Given the large scale change underway with CO Online @, using internal messaging will be the least disruptive given 11 of the 13 colleges (and CCCOnline) use internal messaging.  In addition, this approach allows faculty and instructors to organize messages by course within D2L instead of having to set up multiple folders in email.  Furthermore, many students today are used to using messaging within whatever application they are using (social media, etc).  Internal messaging would be consistent with what students experience with other applications.  Finally, this decision provides a consistent approach across all colleges which will be critical once CO Online @ is fully implemented.  Collective communication campaigns to students can be constructed to help ease any student confusion.

Colorado Online @ Project Update: March

Colleagues,

This has been a busy semester for the Colorado Online @ project and I have a number of updates for you.

Connecting across colleges.  More than 350 faculty, instructors, and staff participated in the Online Faculty and Instructor Mini-Conference on February 18. Participants were able to see first-hand the progress each subcommittee has made, ask questions, and work with each other to provide feedback during focus sessions and discipline breakout groups. Recordings and PowerPoint presentations used during the mini-conference can be found on the Colorado Online @ blog under each subcommittee’s page: Academic Affairs, Learning Design, Learning Resources, Student Support Services, Technology.  We will follow up on suggestions for additional conversations at the 2:2 this fall and in other venues.    

Course scheduling/registration model.  In February, representatives from each subcommittee worked with online learning consultants from MindWires, Inc. to review the viability of different models. On March 1, the Steering Committee decided on the following approach:

  • There was consensus that we should use consortial (aggregated) sections vs. listing all course sections individually (as long as we are able to stay in compliance with Title IV rules and it can work technologically). 
  • The new model will emphasize home college sections, with enough aggregated sections to ensure that students from all colleges have access to flexible online options (like the accelerated courses and different parts of term currently available through CCCOnline). 
  • Students who enroll in aggregated sections will be assigned to specific sections more frequently throughout the registration process so that they are notified of their instructor and required course materials further in advance.  
  • The number of online sections to be taught by each college will be based on historic enrollment data and will be determined centrally to support strategic enrollment management across the consortium.  Colleges will be responsible for hiring instructors and providing instructional oversight.
  • To realize the full benefit of our consortial approach, the Steering Committee noted that we will likely need to do things more alike than we do now (examples included pre-requisites / co-requisites, start dates/parts of term, and use of OER).

Timeline.  I will convene a very small group of people to build the final registration model, lay the foundation for the financial model, and draft the preliminary IT project request over the next couple months.  Once we know how long it will take to build the necessary registration technology, we will be able to determine the timing for when courses will begin transitioning to the new model.  Our plan is still to start small with just a few Colorado Online @ courses in Spring 2023 (SPA 111, ECE, and one or two courses taught by most if not all colleges so that we can verify that the new registration process works as anticipated).  Most courses will then transition to the new model during the following year, AY23/24. 

Next Steps. I am in the process of reviewing recommendations presented to the Project Team in March, including:

  • Software and resources needed to better coordinate disability services among colleges (Student Support Subcommittee)
  • Messaging in D2L, and integration with ReadSpeaker software (Technology Subcommittee)
  • A shared course framework and a syllabus management tool (Learning Design Subcommittee)

Check out the Colorado Online @ blog for more details and a list of upcoming recommendations.

I will host an open forum on April 21, 2022, from 3:30-5 p.m. to provide additional updates and answer questions before the end of the academic year. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me or Tammy Vercauteren, Project Director for Colorado Online.     

Sincerely,

Landon

Colorado Online @ Project Update: January

Dear Colleagues,  

I hope your spring semester is off to a great start.  Up to this point in the year we have primarily worked on developing recommendations and decisions related to how Colorado Online @ will work once implemented. While there is still much to be done, we have come a long way already. For a summary of decisions made so far, please check out the Colorado Online @ Blog at http://coloradoonline@cccs.edu.

In February, we will focus on three main areas: 

  • Refining the proposed registration process.  After discussing several different options last fall, the project team recommends thatstudents continue to have the option to enroll directly in specific online sections offered by their home college, as well as placeholder sections representing all online sections available across CCCS in specific parts-of-term. While the Colorado Online @ placeholder sections would appear much the way that CCCOnline sections do now, we are exploring ways for students enrolled in those sections to be assigned to open seats in existing college sections, increasing enrollment efficiency and minimizing the need to cancel sections. Once existing capacity has been filled, additional sections could be added.     
     
  • Drafting scheduling processes. We want to distribute online sections among the colleges in ways that support faculty and student engagement, and encourage growth and innovation in online learning across CCCS.   There are many factors to consider, and our approach may need to be different for low-enrollment courses taught by only a few colleges, to high-enrollment courses taught by all 13 colleges. This month, a team of representatives from each of the subcommittees, joined by IT, will model how the process for distributing sections could work using historical enrollment data from a sample of small, medium and large enrollment courses.  
     
  • Outlining the basic framework for a financial model that will support growing online enrollment and revenue for all colleges while minimizing competition between colleges.  

I hope you will join us for one or both of the following events this month: 

  • Open Forum. On February 11, from 9 am – 10:30 am, I will host an open forum like I did in April and October.  Q&A from previous forums are organized by category in the FAQ section of the Colorado Online @ Blog.  
     
  • Colorado Online @ Mini-Conference. On February 18, from 9 am –3 am, the Project Team and representatives from the subcommittees will host a mini-conference. During the mini-conference you will learn more about work underway, connect with colleagues, and provide feedback on topics such as messaging in D2L, the healthy course checklist, and the collaborative design process.  

Recordings from both events will be posted to the Colorado Online @ Blog.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me, Tammy Vercauteren (tammy.vercauteren@cccs.edu), or any members of the Project Team or subcommittees with questions or suggestions regarding implementation of the Colorado Online @ Strategic Plan.

Sincerely,  

Landon