Tennessee is one of 7 states participating in the Making Opportunity Affordable initiative. This initiative is a multi-year grant funded by Lumina Foundation for Education with the goal of increasing productivity the number of degrees and certificates produced with the resources available. For more information, go to http://www.tn.gov/moa/
For information on the Lumina Foundation, go to http://www.luminafoundation.org/
For information on Complete College America, go to http://www.completecollege.org/
(Complete College America, "Designing an Effective New Program Structure…")
Complete College America has identified a group of inter-related and inter-dependent factors that are associated with high completion rates in community and technical colleges. Amid growing evidence that narrowly focused interventions produce very limited outcomes, CCA strongly recommends that all colleges in each consortium incorporate all of the following actions as a comprehensive approach to designing new program structures:
- Design an Integrated Program The full set of competencies for each program should be prescribed up front and students should enroll in a single, coherent program not individual, unconnected courses. Students should not be required to navigate through complex choices or worry about unnecessary detours. Instructors should share accountability for helping the students successfully complete the whole program.
- Enact Cohort Enrollment. Students should be grouped as cohorts in the same prescribed sequence of classroom and non-classroom instruction.
- Implement Block Schedules. Programs should operate on a fixed classroom-meeting schedule, consistent from term to term. Students should know their full schedule before they begin and know when they will be done.
- Compress Classroom Instruction. Non-classroom-based, asynchronous instruction methods using contemporary technology should supplement traditional classroom instruction to compress seat-time requirements and strengthen the curriculum.
- Embed Remediation. Most remediation should be embedded into the program curriculum, supplemented as necessary through instruction that is parallel and simultaneous to the program, rather preceding it. Students should develop stronger math and English skills as they build program competencies, using the program as context, and there should be clear basic skill outcome expectations with rigorous assessment.
- Increase Transparency, Accountability and Labor Market Relevance. The programs should be advertised, priced, and delivered as high-value programs tightly connected to regional employers and leading to clearly defined credentials and jobs. Clear and consistent information about tuition, duration, success rates, and job placement outcomes will enable students to assess costs and benefits, see the reasons for continued attendance, and make the sacrifices necessary to achieve program goals. Programs should be held accountable to rigorous and consistent national accreditation standards.
- Deploy transformative technology. Technology should support instruction and customize, deepen, accelerate and support student learning. This includes redesigning courses across systems using technology, blended learning models and using open textbooks and courseware. Shared and syndicated enrollments should also be used across campuses.
- Improve Student Support Services. The C3T grant offers the opportunity to test and demonstrate how better to embed student supports into program structures, using technology and partnerships with employers and community-based organizations to supplement traditional support services.
Additional details about the actions above can be found atwww.completecollege.org/path_forward/essentialsteps/.