New Director of Distance Education Rebecca Pang has big plans to improve distance learning at Cerro Coso Community College.
Her first priority is improving student retention for online courses through the services the department provides. Retention efforts can help students be successful. Rebecca knows once a student enrolls in an online course, retention of the student in the course itself becomes especially challenging in an online environment. She plans to enrich the online experience by redesigning the college Moodle site so that students will have an easier time accessing their course links and student services.
Online courses meet the needs of students who are looking for a more convenient learning experience, but the challenges these students face are very different from those of students taking face-to-face classes. While online courses are just as rigorous, the challenges include asynchronous (not real time) communication making it take longer to identify conflict and consensus, not always reliable technology, students with differing comfort levels in using technology, and a reliance on text interaction which adds a greater potential for misunderstanding.
Rebecca’s first goal is to help students traverse the course content easily and consistently. “I want them to have good experiences in online classes,” she said.
Her future goals for the Distance Education office are to work on increasing online enrollments and to develop additional professional development courses for faculty. In addition to online classes, Rebecca’s department provides technical support to all areas of the college including iTV classes.
Previously the Director of Program Development for an extension program of Cal Poly Pomona, Rebecca finds the many opportunities at the community colleges appealing and looks forward to working with faculty, staff, and students at Cerro Coso.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from UC San Diego, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Cal Poly Pomona.