Community College Conversations: An Unconference Session on Access, Equity, and Quality at the Community Colleges

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Online Education at the community colleges has many unique issues and opportunities. Come to the 'unconference' session to participate in a discussion about this segment where access, student success, equity, and innovation are changing and transforming lives daily.  


Kate Jordahl is the Director of Academic Affairs and Consortia for the CCC California Virtual Campus-Online Education Initiative (CVC-OEI). Jordahl has worked at Foothill College, Los Altos Hills for over nineteen years as professor and administrator and served as faculty lead on the Foothill College OEI Implementation Team and as Foothill College Faculty Representative to both the OEI Consortium and the OEI Common Course Management System Selection/Implementation Committee. In addition to being a Peer Online Course Reviewer and online faculty mentor, she designed and facilitated the Foothill College Online Teaching Certification Course (OTC).
Michael Torrence, Ph.D. serves as the President of Motlow State Community College. The college has campuses in Smyrna, Tullahoma, McMinnville and Fayetteville, Tennessee. President Torrence has spent his career embracing the use of technological literacy as a platform to increase student engagement and success. He has served in roles in support of online, accelerated, and mode neutral learning, engaged with TNeCampus and as a Tennessee Board of Regents statewide team leader for the integration of Emerging Technology and Mobilization in the areas of Gaming, VR, AR, and MR into teaching and learning. He has trained faculty, students, executives, and community members and developed immersive curriculum focused on STEAMB (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Aviation, Mathematics, and Business) for all grade levels and utilized these platforms teaching undergraduate and graduate students in his own classes where VR and entrepreneurship have become a norm. Currently, through researching and developing a platform for OER through support of Hewlett-Packard and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he hope to utilize the findings to support workforce development and student success. He earned a doctor of philosophy degree, with a major in exceptional learning, at Tennessee Tech University, and master of arts and bachelor of arts degrees at South Dakota State University, both with a major in English. President Torrence, a veteran, served in the U.S. Air Force.
Kevin Kelly, EdD, teaches online courses as a Lecturer in the Department of Equity, Leadership Studies, and Instructional Technologies at San Francisco State University, where he also previously served as the Online Teaching and Learning Manager. He works with colleges and universities as a consultant to address distance education, educational technology, and organizational challenges. Kevin co-authored with Todd Zakrajsek the 2021 Stylus book, Advancing Online Teaching: Creating Equity-Based Digital Learning Environments.

Extended Abstract

Kate Jordahl from California and Michael Torrence from Tennessee, bring their Coast-to-Coast view to the discussion of Online Education at Community Colleges. Kate brings her perspectives as a long time faculty member now working as Director of Academic Affairs and Consortia, California Virtual Campus-Online Education Initiative to expand access, equity, and quality for the California Community Colleges, the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed 115 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Michael as President of Motlow College brings his viewpoint as a leader, but also his work open educational resources, STEAMB (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Aviation, Mathematics, and Business)  and his work embracing the use of technological literacy as a platform to increase student engagement and success. They will be joined by Kevin Kelly, an online instructor at SF State and a higher ed consultant who has been working with community college partners like Peralta Community College District to research and address online achievement gaps through collaborative projects like the Peralta Online Equity Rubric.
What are the unique issues and equally unique opportunities for those of us dedicated to this sector for contribution, expanded access, enhancing student success, and creating equity for our many students? What are the innovations that can make significant differences in our effectiveness? What are the analytic and metrics we need to validate our work and be more effective in our efforts? 
After sharing about their work and examples from the field, Kate, Michael, and Kevin will lead this 'unconference' session having participants helping to set the agenda and, after discussion in small groups led by community college leaders,  share their insights. What concerns you? What excites you? How is your work with and for students of the nation's community colleges changing in light of technology and practices in pedagogy? Join us.