The Foothill-De Anza Community College District, in partnership Butte-Glenn College, was awarded on Nov. 12 a $16.9 million competitive grant to develop a plan for online education in California community colleges.
As a result of the budget cuts in California, access to courses has not been sufficient for community college students to complete the classes they need to transfer.
The demand for online education has risen in recent years.
“The governor is concerned that there is not enough access to courses in community college, and if we can better coordinate online courses, we can serve more students,” said Linda Thor, Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza District.
In 2011-12, approximately 27 percent of all California community college students took online classes with the rates for distance education rising every year. In 2011-12, 50 percent of California community colleges offered at least one online education degree, according to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District website.
“For people who have jobs or the returning veterans, online education benefits them a lot because they hope their family and jobs do not get affected,’’ Alice Lee, 20, said.
“For the common students, face-to-face classes are important, because the classes provide them good college experience,’’ Lee said.
The goal for online education is to provide students in California access to education. However, student responses are skeptical of how the online initiative will turn out.
“I would not try class online if the class has another option,” said Echo Guo, 20, film production major. “I think online classes are not convenient for contacting with professors, [and it doesn’t help with] making friends.’’