The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

District offers format options for course

By Susan Tallant/editor-in-chief

Summer enrollment is here, and students can earn summer credit from the comfort of home or from most anywhere else in Texas.

With three kinds of formats available—online, ITV or Virtual College—class variety is broader, making it easier for students to complete their degree when traditional classrooms are not available.

Can’t decide which format to take for summer sessions? Here is a guide to help:

ONLINE CLASSES

Online classes are available only during the first summer session. Campus attendance is required for orientations and testing. All other work is done online and assignments are usually sent via e-mail.

Even classes such as speech and physical education can be taken online.

Lisa Benedetti, NE communication arts chair, said the department is always excited to offer speech classes to summer school students.

“ We think online classes give students a unique opportunity to attend school when the traditional classroom is not an option,” she said. “I get so many people who say if it weren’t for this, they wouldn’t be able to go to school.”

Students who will be away from home for the summer can also take online classes from TCC, but tests are given at the local community college where the student is staying. Approval is needed, so contact the distance learning office before enrolling.

ITV CLASSES

Instructional television classes are offered for both summer sessions. Students go to an orientation and take
tests on campus. New this year, DVDs for eight of the classes, instead of video tapes. Streaming video could be coming within the next year.

“ We are working with TCCD’s ITFS department on the possibility of using streaming video for all ITV courses,” Kevin Eason, director of distance learning, said. “Students would sign into an online classroom, like they do with Internet courses, and then select which video lesson they want to watch.”

VIRTUAL COLLEGE CLASSES

Virtual College of Texas, created by the Texas Association of Community Colleges, is a collaborative of all Texas public community colleges to allow sharing of distance learning courses. The project, launched in fall 1998, now has more than 34,000 enrollments.

Students who need a class that is filled or who need a class that TCC is not offering, can take an online class from another public community college in Texas and earn credit through TCC.

Students enroll locally at their college, known as the “host” college. Classes can be found on the TCC Distance Learning Web site by clicking the Virtual College link. TCC administers the tests and awards the credit. Students pay in-district tuition if they are in-district students.

The provider college sets the calendar and courses offered through VCT, provides the instructors and awards final grades.

Eason said because the host college provides all of the support services, such as testing, having a student take a course through VCT can be time and labor intensive to get all of the materials distributed and collected.

“ Unless there are unusual circumstances, we would not enroll a student in a VCT if the course were offered at TCC. The student would need to enroll in the TCC class,” he said. “However, if TCC did not offer the course through distance learning, and if the department chair approved the course that is being taught from another college, we would consider enrolling the student in that class.”

VIRTUAL SUCCESS STORY

Jack Mashburn, a former TCC student, graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 in May 2006 from the University of Texas Arlington with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice.

Because of the nature and location of his occupation, which required traveling across the U.S. and Europe, Mashburn could not enroll in a traditional classroom.

Mashburn finished his degree through VCT and the University of Texas TeleCampus degree completion program, taking only two classes on campus.

“ Without the kind of access provided by these distance education courses, I would have not been able to realize my academic potential nor would I have been given the opportunity to improve the services I provide to my client organizations and to the standard of living for my family,” he said on the SACS Web site.

Mashburn currently lives in England with his wife and two sons and works with at-risk youth in countries all over the world.

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