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San Diego Community College Expands Online Classes

The San Diego Community College District announced Tuesday that its online class offerings have been expanded by 21 percent, compared to last year, for its fall semester that opens next week.

Photo credit: San Diego Community College District

The San Diego Community College District's Cesar Chavez Campus building stands at 1901 Main St., Oct. 28, 2015.

The district is adding 140 courses to its distance learning program. Around 20,000 of the 50,000 students at City, Mesa and Miramar colleges and the Continuing Education campus will take classes via computer, up 11 percent over last year.

"Online offerings are popular because students have the ability to access the material and advance through the course based on their schedule," said Miramar College Assistant Professor David Wilhelm. "And the costs are lower because there is no paper involved and you're using e-textbooks."

Wilhelm will be teaching an online course in personal finance that has 43 registrants and eight more on a waiting list.

In a recent district survey, 91 percent of students said they had a good environment in which to study for their online course, and 86 percent said they were comfortable communicating electronically. Ninety-five percent agreed that taking charge of their own learning was very important for their success in school and future career.

The SDCCD is working with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements to improve student access and success. The partnership is leading to additional professional development opportunities to keep instructors up to date on current online tools and best practices for online learners, district officials said.

Classes start next week for San Diego's community colleges, and also for Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges in the East County, MiraCosta and Palomar colleges in the North County, and Southwestern College in Chula Vista.

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