SANTA CLARITA - Online classes have been growing in popularity nationwide over the last several years and College of the Canyons, which began offering them in 1998, is no exception.
Back then, the classes were somewhat of a hybrid, consisting of mostly online activity, but with a few on-campus meetings.
As technology advances, however, and students are looking for more convenience at the same time they are looking for more class options, it was inevitable that the college would move from the hybrid offerings to one-hundred-percent-online classes that don't require any on-campus meetings. Any class that is offered online essentially takes the classroom to anywhere there is Internet access. This is particularly important for students who want to take college classes but do a lot of traveling, causing them to miss traditional class sessions. With online classes, travelers need only take a laptop or find a computer with Internet access and they can keep current with their studies.
This fall, the college announced that it is now possible for students to earn an associate degree entirely online. The degree is in Transfer Studies, but additional degree programs are planned for the near future. Currently, College of the Canyons is offering seventeen, one-hundred-percent-online classes and fifty-seven hybrid online classes.
"One hundred percent online classes offered during summer session 2005 filled up within minutes," said Sue Bozman, dean of external communications for the college. "The same phenomenon occurred this fall," said Bozman, "which tells us that online offerings are, and will continue to be, very much in demand in the future.
The demand for online classes far exceeds our ability to develop the curricula for classes," stressed Bozman, "and the college's faculty is working hard to develop as many online classes as possible to meet this demand."
"Growth in the number of online offerings and demand for them by the community." said Bozman, "also poses a bit of a dilemma in finding enough instructors who have been trained in administering these kinds of classes. We certainly hope that anyone who possesses these skills, has the qualifications to teach at the community college level, and who truly loves teaching, will contact the college," said Bozman.
The ease and efficiency of doing business online prompted College of the Canyons over the last several years to make applications available online, to allow students to register online, to take online orientation and even pay their college bills online.
"Admissions and registration office lines that were once a staple of going to college," said Bozman, "are now mostly things of the past since the vast majority of student transactions happen in cyberspace. This is important to us," stressed Bozman, "because it frees up office staff to assist students who may have unusual or special needs and it removes unnecessary stress from students who live in an all-too-stressful world."
James Glapa-Grossklag, director of distance learning programs at the college has a formidable job ahead of him. "I would like this program," said Glapa-Grossklag, "to continue to respond to the evolving needs and expectations of our students, provide access to education to all who can benefit and deliver a high quality education."
Information about College of the Canyons' online classes can be found at ww.canyons.edu.