Bakersfield College is making education a bit more accessible to students who have busy schedules by bringing several Career and Technical Education programs online starting in fall 2020.
In partnership with the California State Online Education Initiative and the California Virtual Campus, Bakersfield College has received a $500,000 grant to bring between five and 10 programs online within the next year, explained Bill Moseley, dean of academic technology at BC.
Though the list of programs will be continuously reviewed before a final decision is made, CTE Director Anthony Cordova said health navigator, commercial music, information technology (computer science) and web development are some of the ones that will be offered online.
Currently, CTE programs are offered on campus, except for one in the health care field which is available online. Now with the move to digital, students have better access to these courses and a better chance at completing them.
"If I have a class in commercial music that meets every Monday and Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m., only students who have the availability to be on campus at that time can take it," Moseley explained. "Online fits the student's schedule. It takes existing courses and programs and makes them much more available."
Courses that will be offered online will also be available on campus.
Additionally, each program will leverage Open Educational Resources to reduce the cost of textbooks and course materials to students.
"Instead of paying $150 or $200 for a textbook, the textbook will be provided to students at little to no cost," he said. "This makes these programs even more available to students who have financial difficulties."
With the introduction of these online programs, Moseley said CTE will also be incorporating micro-credentialing as a new measurement of learning. Official college transcripts typically only list the classes students took and what grades they received. Through micro-credentialing, a transcript would break down the learning concepts or specific skills that are taught in classes, which would then match up directly with what an employer wants in an employee.
"Not only does a student have a certificate in medical terminology, here are the specific skills the student can bring to the table," Moseley explained.
It will take some time before micro-credentialing appears on official transcripts, but the college will utilize the online program Badgr to create and award badges to students based on what skills they gained in classes. Students can then create an online profile that would list and display all of the badges they have received.
BC President Sonya Christian said she is "proud of the innovative work" being done in CTE to help students achieve their goals.
“This grant will allow us to extend the reach and availability of our CTE programs to students who might not otherwise be able to complete their education," she said.
In the last four years, online education at BC has grown from 75 classes in fall 2015 to 257 classes in the upcoming fall semester, according to BC. Last fall, more than 10,000 virtual seats were filled in online classes.
For more information on CTE, visit www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/cte.