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Distance Education Week is Nov. 7-11

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Joe Struss

Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Marshalltown Community College, and Iowa Valley Grinnell are gearing up to celebrate National Distance Learning Week Nov. 7-11, as designated by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). During the week, a variety of free webinars and virtual field trips will be offered by USDLA for interested instructors and students.

According to Joe Struss, Iowa Valley Community College District’s Distance Learning Coordinator, the popularity of online/distance learning courses offered by colleges and universities continues to grow. At Iowa Valley, which operates ECC, MCC and Iowa Valley Grinnell, the first online course was offered in 1997. In 2014-15, there were 2,337 students enrolled in online courses adding up to 15,492 credit hours through Ellsworth, Marshalltown and Grinnell, accounting for 21 percent of the District’s total college credit enrollments.

“College students enroll in online courses for a variety of reasons,” says Struss. “Some live at a distance and can’t commute to campus for classes. Others are taking college classes while employed or caring for young children, and they can’t get away during the daytime. Still others are involved in athletics or other activities that might conflict with a particular class time. The reasons can be as varied as the individuals enrolled.”

IVCCD is a member of the Iowa Quality Matters Consortium, an affiliate of the national organization for the promotion of excellence in online/distance education classes. Several ECC and MCC classes have been nationally certified by a Quality Matters team (including one subject matter expert) for meeting or exceeding national standards for excellence in distance education. Current online classes certified by Quality Matters include Statistics I and Calculus III taught by Abby Von Fumetti, Public Speaking taught by Rebecca Peterson, Western Civilization taught by Elaine Bahr, Composition II and Technical Writing taught by P.J. Colbert, Introduction to Philosophy and Introduction to Ethics taught by Bernie Koehrsen, Computer Systems & Applications taught by Brenda Woodward, and Human Body: Health & Disease and Nutrition taught by April Graveman.

In addition to offering many individual online courses each semester, both ECC and MCC offer the popular Liberal Arts/Transfer degree entirely online. Other online degree program options include Accounting, Communications/PR/Journalism, Computer Applications in Business, Secondary Education, Finance & Banking, History, Human Services, Paralegal, Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology.

Students interested in online courses and/or degrees are encouraged to contact the ECC or MCC Admissions Offices for additional information.

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