Michigan’s Community Colleges ready to offer quality online classes for students

LANSING — Michigan’s 28 community colleges are encouraging students to take advantage of the availability of high-quality online courses, as health concerns still loom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When Michigan entered into quarantine in March, community colleges, along with their K-12 and university partners, made the move to provide remote learning for as many classes as possible. As the pandemic continues, all of Michigan’s community colleges will be providing some level of online instruction this fall.

“Michigan’s community colleges are prepared to provide students with high-quality, accredited, online course options that will count the same as any on-campus class,” said MCCA President Mike Hansen. “Our colleges have been focused on strengthening online learning opportunities for years and are proud to have such a large online course catalog available during these uncertain times.”

If a college doesn’t have the online course a student needs, they may be able to access it through the Michigan Community College Association’s Michigan Colleges Online (MCO), which provides community college students with access to online courses, regardless of which college they are enrolled in. The collaborative allows students from anywhere in Michigan to take any of the more than 1,200 online courses included in the system.

To prepare for additional demand for online courses this fall, MCO recently completed a review of Michigan’s community college course standards. The review revealed that Michigan’s 28 community colleges have high-quality standards and practices in place for online education.

“We are extremely proud that Michigan’s community colleges have such high-quality online educational opportunities available for their students,” said Carl Weckerle, director of Michigan Colleges Online. “Our colleges have been working for years to offer flexible courses for all types of students and that has prepared them to offer strong online courses that are in high-demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Online education through Michigan’s community colleges includes a variety of best practices, including student orientations and the same student support services that would be received by any on-campus student. Through Michigan Colleges Online, students are able to engage with their professors, and faculty are specifically trained on how to teach online. Students taking online courses are also able to schedule time with an advisor, access free tutoring, and checkout books from the college library.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, which measures fall enrollment of students taking some or all courses online, online education at Michigan community colleges has been consistently growing in recently years. Data from fall 2018, showed that nearly 30 percent, or more than 40,000 Michigan community college students, were already taking online classes each semester.

Details: Visit micollegesonline.org. — G.G.