The 1st anniversary of The SOURCE was officially celebrated on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. It came two days after publishing our ninth report in The SOURCE Library – “A Systems Approach: Expanding Access and Achieving Student Success through Support Services at Rio Salado College.”
To celebrate the 1st anniversary, I took the day off last Tuesday only to come back to work by early afternoon because I was feeling like I needed to do something. That’s an indication of how much The SOURCE has become part of my daily life. Perhaps I enjoy doing this to a fault. Who takes off on a Tuesday anyways?
The mission of the SOURCE is to provide freely accessible information in the form of self-published, in-depth reports, as well as vetted links to valid and authoritative information from other sources that are timely, relevant and useful to community college educators.
The recent report about Rio Salado College (RSC) seems to be particularly timely, relevant and useful, especially for community colleges in the throes of developing fully online programs. RSC did not become the largest public two-year institution offering online associate degrees overnight. The report shows how a business-oriented culture layered over an academic culture was refined over 20 years to bring RSC to where it is today. But even more important, the report shows how an enormous amount of student and faculty support services are needed for any institution offering fully online degree programs to achieve success.
An easy-to-navigate website for registering; academic advising; financial aid; counseling; tutoring; online library; helpdesks; faculty training; and a host of other important support services were presented in this report by interviewing 24 administrators and faculty at RSC. In short, the report reveals how RSC is a holistic enterprise in which all the various support-related departments work together.
I’ve been writing fairly regularly and extensively about online higher education for more than a decade. I think the “free” RSC report is well worth taking a look at if only to see how much work and collaboration is really needed from many different-but-not-separate entities throughout an institution to create and sustain fully online degree programs well into the future.
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