Michigan’s Community Colleges Ready for Quality Online Classes This Fall

Having pivoted quickly to remote learning back in March when government Stay Home, Stay Safe orders forced everyone into home-based quarantines, the Michigan Community College sector is now more ready than ever to offer quality online classes for students this fall, regardless of the situation at any individual institution and their readiness for in-person learning.

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, including Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor and Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac.

Mike Hansen is President of the Michigan Community College Association, representing all 28 institutions, and he says, “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.” He adds, “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.”

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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.

Carl Weckerle, Director of Michigan Colleges Online, says, “We are extremely proud that Michigan’s community colleges have such high-quality online educational opportunities available for their students,” and adds, “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.

For more information, you can visit this link online:  https://micollegesonline.org  

The Michigan Community College Association fosters collaboration, connection, and partnerships among the 28 Michigan public community colleges and their stakeholders. They provide strong legislative and public advocacy in Lansing and throughout Michigan, work to improve the image and credibility of community colleges, and advance numerous shared initiatives through the Michigan Center for Student Success, Michigan Colleges Online, and the Michigan New Jobs Training Program.  You can learn more online at https://www.mcca.org.