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

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 (, or any members of the Project Team or subcommittees with questions or suggestions regarding implementation of the Colorado Online @ Strategic Plan.



Colorado Online @ Project Update: December


As we all take some time over the winter break for some much needed R&R, we are excited to be moving forward in several key areas of the Colorado Online @ project.

Online Steering Committee Decisions: 

At its meeting December 13, the Online Steering Committee approved the following recommendations:

  • A 3-tiered LMS support system for students and faculty/instructors, including 24×7 support for resetting passwords and basic student use of D2L tools).  The CCCS Academic Technology will provide next level support and triage requests to IT and college-specific teams as needed.
  • Extended evening and weekend support for faculty and instructor-specific needs, provided by the CCCS Academic Technology team.
  • Creation of a central CCCS Online Library to provide students at all colleges with access to a robust online research collection (databases, journals, eBooks, and streaming media). Students in certain disciplines or programs will have access to special collections (e.g., nursing).  
  • Creation of central CCCS OER Services to support and supplement college OER efforts and more effective sharing of OER materials across institutions

Feedback period extended! 

Coming in January…

  • The Academic Affairs team will move to a tri-chair model with leadership from VPAAs at both rural and urban colleges as well as CCCOnline.  Many thanks to Keith Peterson (CNCC), Rebecca Woulfe (FRCC), and Amy Kahn (CCCOnline) for taking on these roles.  I also want to thank Ruthanne Orihuela for her leadership as co-chair during the fall semester!
  • The Academic Affairs and Student Support Services teams will finalize recommendations for what students will see courses when they go to register.
  • The Learning Design team will refine their course design framework based on the input received from the faculty survey and share recommendations for course design standards and a collaborative design process for the ready-to-teach courses.
  • The Learning Resources team will continue working on the purchasing processes for course materials while transitioning library and OER support to an implementation team.  
  • The Technology Team will recommend which software should be available to all faculty and instructors across CCCS.

Save the Date…

Our next Colorado Online @ Open Forum will be held on February 11, followed by a Mini-Conference on February 18 that will include presentations on the new D2L interface and course design processes, as well as discipline-based discussions of challenges, opportunities, and priorities.    

Just the FAQs

Through SFAC, SFCC, and individual faculty we know there are many questions swirling around as this project takes off:  “Will faculty have to choose to teach all online or all on-campus courses?”; “Will all online courses in a discipline be taught through one college?” or, “How can my discipline get started co-developing online courses?” The answers to these and other questions can be found in the FAQ section of the Colorado Online @ Blog at  If you have other questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me or Tammy Vercauteren (  Questions and suggestions can also be submitted via the Colorado Online @ Blog or directed to individual members of the Project Team and /or Subcommittees.

I wish you all a wonderful winter break and a great start to the new year!


Colorado Online @ Project Update: November


I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  As we near the end of the semester I am pleased to share progress we have made this fall in planning for implementation of the Colorado Online@ Strategic Plan over the next 3 years:

  • Subcommittees began meeting, focused on how we can provide equity in access to online courses, resources, and support services for all students.  A list of representatives on each subcommittee can be found on the Colorado Online@ blog.
  • Recommendations moving forward to the Project Team in December include:  
    • More centralized support for online library resources, use of OER content, and distribution of online course materials (Learning Resources Subcommittee).
    • Increased support for faculty and students needing assistance with online academic technologies such as D2L, Yuja, and other common resources — including evening and weekend hours (Technology Subcommittee).
    • Development of an online web site that will help students choose a home college with their desired program, linking then directly to the application for that college (Student Support Services Subcommittee).
    • Once admitted, students will be able to register for online courses offered by their home college and other CCCS colleges without having to re-apply, and will be able to select courses based on criteria identified by students as important to them (Student Support Services and Academic Affairs Subcommittees).
    • Faculty credentialing through individual colleges will be honored as part of their college accreditation (Academic Affairs Subcommittee).
  • Subcommittees are gathering feedback from related functional groups (e.g. the Online Faculty and Instructor Advisory Committee, Accessibility Directors, Advising Directors, Financial Aid Directors, IT Directors, Learning Technology Council, Library Directors, Registrars, etc.)
  • Additional feedback is being gathered from all faculty and instructors through the end of the semester on plans for more consistent navigation across courses in D2L. Feedback is also being gathered from faculty, instructors, and students about preferences between internal messaging in D2L and college email. (See my email from November 19, or the announcement on your D2L home page). 

To allow time for everyone to get used to the single instance of D2L, and for planning and implementation of the other technology and business processes needed to provide a seamless student experience, we will wait to offer our first online courses through the new Colorado Online @ model until Spring 2023. 

Here is a brief overview of what the transition will look like over the next few semesters: 

Spring 2022

  • Subcommittees will continue gathering input and provide recommendations related to core services including (but not limited to):
    • A timeline for transitioning online courses to the new model starting in Spring 2023, and how courses will be distributed among the colleges (Academic Affairs Subcommittee).
    • Online student support services including accessibility, advising, and financial aid (Student Support Services Subcommittee).
    • A collaborative process for design of ready-to-teach courses that can be used as is or be modified by faculty and instructors across CCCS (Learning Design Subcommittee).
  • Academic technology staff at CCCOnline and the colleges will support faculty and instructors in transitioning courses to the new single instance of D2L
  • Students will continue to register for online sections offered through home colleges and CCCOnline as they do now.

Fall 2022

  • Faculty, instructors, and students will access all of their online courses by logging into a single instance of Desire2Learn, and enjoy more consistent navigation across courses  
  • SPA 111 and designated ECE courses will pilot use of ready-to-teach course shells that can be used as-is or be modified by faculty and instructors at individual colleges
  • Students will continue to register for online sections offered through home colleges and CCCOnline as they do now.

Spring 2023 

  • A small subset of online sections will be offered through the new Colorado Online @ Consortial model to verify that registration processes and other technology are working as expected. Additional courses will transition to the colleges in subsequent semesters according to a timeline to be developed this coming spring.

Our next Colorado Online @ Open Forum will be held on February 11, followed by a special Faculty Forum on February 18 to include presentations on the new D2L interface and course design processes, as well as discipline-based discussions of challenges, opportunities, and priorities.  

The Colorado Online @ Blog site has been updated to include answers to Frequently Asked Questions and a calendar of upcoming meetings for the Project Team, Subcommittees, and the Online Faculty and Instructor Advisory Committee.  As decisions are made by the Project Team and/or the Steering Committee, they will also be posted to the blog site at  Want to be notified of updates to the blog? You can now subscribe from the main menu.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me or Tammy Vercauteren ( with any questions.  Questions can also be submitted via the Colorado Online @ Blog, or directed to individual members of the Project Team and /or Subcommittees.



Colorado Online @ Project Update: October

October 27, 2021


It was exciting to see the interest in the Colorado Online Open Forum on October 15 – we had over 355 people in attendance!  Thank you to everyone for your questions and suggestions. The full recording is posted on the Colorado Online@ blog (, where we will also post answers to frequently asked questions and decisions as they are made throughout the project. 

Here are some updates regarding Colorado Online since my last email in September:

  • Maintaining and expanding access to high quality online courses and services for students is our top priority, so we are excited to have two representatives from theState Student Advisory Council (SSAC) joining the Colorado Online Project Team in November.  Starting with the student surveys and focus groups last spring, we have tried to keep the student experience front and center in the new consortium’s design.  Having SSAC representatives on the Project Team will help us continue that approach going forward.
  • Last year alone, more than 50,000 CCCS students enrolled in online courses – 29,000 of those in CCCOnline sections!  We are committed to helping our experienced CCCOnline instructors transition as easily as possible to online teaching roles at our colleges so that our students can continue to benefit from their years of online experience and training.  As such, CCCOnline leaders are working with CCCS Human Resources on a transition plan.
  • The transition to this new Colorado Online @ Consortial Model will take place gradually over the next three years: 
  • Starting in Fall 2022:
    • All students and instructors will be able to access all of their courses from one D2L homepage, even if learning or teaching for more than one college or CCCOnline – one of the most requested improvements by both students and instructors.
    • Faculty and instructors teaching SPA 111 and select courses in ECE will be the first to have the opportunity to teach from accessible, ready-to-teach course shells developed by the state discipline faculty in conjunction with the learning design team at CCCOnline.  Instructors in these disciplines will also be able to customize their own courses using a shared course framework to allow academic freedom.  Thank you to the ECE and World Languages faculty discipline groups for volunteering to lead the way in helping to develop and use these new tools!
  • Starting in Spring 2023:
    • We hope to begin enrolling students in a small subset of online sections taught by colleges across the system as early as Spring 2023.  Additional courses will transition to the colleges each semester after that, and CCCOnline’s role will gradually transition fully to consortium support services. The Academic Affairs subcommittee will make recommendations to the project team by late fall/early spring regarding the timing of when specific courses and disciplines will begin transitioning to the new model.  
  • More detailed recommendations for each stage of the project are being developed by subcommittees for Academic Affairs, Learning Design, Learning Resources, Technology, and Student Support Services with input from the Online Faculty and Instructor Advisory Committee, VP Council, Deans Council, and a wide range of other functional groups.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me or Tammy Vercauteren with any questions.  As decisions are made by the Project Team and/or the Steering Committee, we will update the Colorado Online@ blog (



Landon K. Pirius, Ph.D.

Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs

O: (720) 858-2208 | F: (303) 620-4094  

9101 E. Lowry Blvd. Denver, CO 80230 |

Colorado Online @ Project Update: September

September 30, 2021


I hope your semester is off to a good start and that you are staying healthy.  Last spring semester we kicked off a multi-year project to transition to the Colorado Online @, our new consortial approach to online learning across the system.  During this academic year I will be sending monthly emails to keep you up to date on our transition to Colorado Online @.

What are We Doing?

We are implementing an innovative consortial model that willleverage the collective strength of the Colorado Community College System, CCCOnline, and our thirteen colleges and 40 locations across Colorado.  In our future model, fully online, asynchronous course instruction will move from CCCOnline to the 13 CCCS colleges.  In addition, we will centralize some services, supports, and functions to ensure equitable access to quality academic programs, online courses, and student support services regardless of the student’s home college and/or geographic location. 

Why Are We Making This Change?

This change is being done in order to align our consortium with Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation standards and expectations.  Furthermore, we recognize that students in our system currently have inequitable access to online programs, courses, and student support services.  This model aims to address these inequities.  Lastly, we want to meet students where they are and satisfy the growing demand for online learning.  We believe we can do this by reducing competition between colleges and CCCOnline, improving efficiency in course offerings and support services, and leveraging state online investments. 

Our Approach

Our focus thus far has been on building a collaborative and representative foundation for this large-scale change.  This collaborative focus will allow us to provide all students with the best possible online student experience within a reasonable timeframe.  To date we have convened the Colorado Online @ Project team with system, CCCOnline, and college representatives.  We have also hired two project staff – Tammy Vercauteren, Colorado Online Project Director and Chin Ya Russell, Colorado Online Project Coordinator.  Additionally, we have worked with Mindwires, Inc., a nationally recognized online learning consulting firm.  Mindwires conducted student and instructor surveys, focus groups, and interviews, completed an external analysis of other state systems, and developed student experience maps. 

We also established an Online Faculty and Instructor Advisory Committee with representation from all colleges and CCCOnline to ensure we had input from those teaching online courses currently.  Finally, we formed five subcommittees to identify and prioritize specific next steps in the areas of academic affairs, learning design, learning resources, student support services, and technology.  These subcommittees include both college and CCCOnline representatives, and they will discuss elements of the future consortium and make recommendations on how the consortial model will take shape. 

Our Timeline

We are currently in the planning phase and will begin transitioning to the new model through pilots starting in Fall 2022.  We will assess the effectiveness of the pilots, expand the pilots, and make improvements to our processes until we are fully transitioned to the new consortial model in 2024.   

Our Communication Plan

It is critical to keep people updated across the system.  In order to accomplish this, we will do the following:

  • Monthly email updates from me, the Executive Sponsor for this project
  • The Colorado Online @ Project Blog (
    • Bi-weekly updates, FAQs, virtual suggestion box
    • Member lists for Project Teams, subcommittees, and the Online Faculty and Instructor Advisory Committee
  • Video updates at the 2:2, with feedback gathered through discipline chairs
  • Live virtual forums on October 15 and February 2
  • Updates from college leadership, project team and subcommittee representatives, and various functional groups

In addition, we welcome questions and comments from you.  Feel free to contact us at:

Thank you for your patience, feedback, and support as we build out this new model together, and for everything you do on a daily basis to support the success of our students.


Landon K. Pirius, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs

O: (720) 858-2208 | F: (303) 620-4094
9101 E. Lowry Blvd. Denver, CO 80230 |