Houston community college launches 32 online degrees
Last Updated: 2018-09-26 10:36 | Xinhua
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A community college in Houston, the fourth largest city of the United States, on Tuesday launched 32 fully online degrees and certificates, allowing students to complete their study anytime, anywhere.

A regular ribbon and scissors just wouldn't do for the new Houston Community College Online College. Instead, attendees held tablets and swiped their fingers across the screen for the ribbon cutting. By the fall of 2019, the college will have a total of 71 fully online degrees and certificates.

"The students who have registered for online courses this fall are the first to have the option of completing a fully online pathway to a certificate or associate degree at HCC," said Chancellor Cesar Maldonado.

"HCC has offered remote learning options since the time they were referred to as distance learning, but the addition of a seventh college within the organization entirely dedicated to meeting the needs of online learners takes HCC's commitment to a whole different level," said Margaret Ford Fisher, president of HCC's online college. "We are providing students the option of completing their coursework anywhere, anytime."

With more than 21,000 students taking one or more online classes, HCC is the third largest community college in the United States for online enrollments. There are more than 60 areas of study and more than 5,000 individual courses available online.

"It is our goal at HCC to remove roadblocks that might get in the way of obtaining an associate degree or workforce certificate," HCC Board Chair Carolyn Evans-Shabazz said. "The online college does just that for potential students who, for a variety of reasons, cannot conveniently take traditional classes."

"The online college expands educational opportunities for stay-at-home moms and dads, students committed to caring for elderly loved ones at home and those already in the workforce who need additional education to move up in their careers or change their careers altogether," said Norma Perez, HCC vice chancellor, instructional services, and chief academic officer.

According to a study by the global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG), HCC retention rates for first-time freshmen students were 9 to 10 percentage points higher when they took at least one fully online or mixed modality course. BCG also reported that HCC students who take a combination of digital and face-to-face courses complete their degrees at a higher rate than those who take all of their classes face to face.

HCC's online college provides counselors, advisors and tutors for its online students. All HCC online classes are taught by credentialed faculty.

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