As part of a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the MCCVLC facilitated an initiative with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Assocation to extend the accreditation status of participating member colleges to include online programs of study offered through the MCCVLC. A significant milestone was reached on June 27, 2002 when the Board of Directors of the Higher Learning Commission formally approved the Request for Institutional Change submitted on behalf of 22 Michigan community colleges; this approval makes it possible for these colleges to offer online degree programs. It should be noted that four Michigan community colleges had previously obtained this approval from the Commission. Additional background information about this project is provided below.
Status of Collaborative Accreditation Initiative
With the acceptance of the second progress report (on assessment) in June of 2005, this collaborative initiative is completed. It is the expectation of the MCCVLC that each college will continue to independently evaluate online programming as part of the ongoing accreditation process. No further collaborative activities are currently planned.
Required Progress Reports - As a condition of approval, the Higher Learning Commission required the submission of two progress reports:
Progress Report One - "A report is to be filed by April 01, 2003, with the commission detailing the implementation of a strategic plan for the Michigan Community College Virtual Learning Collaborative. The plan must address the following:
- Collaborative objectives, including plans for faculty development
- Evaluation of outcomes
- Activities and persons responsible
- Financing and budgetary projections
- Evaluation of the role of the Collaborative staff to accomodate future changes as the Collaborative enrollment grows and to maximize the utilization of the Collaborative with the support of the Advisory Council.
Report One was prepared with input from the 22 participating colleges and submitted to the Higher Learning Commission on March 28, 2003. This document is in MSWord format. Any questions about this report should be directed to Ronda Edwards.
Progress Report Two - "A report is to be filed by April 01, 2005, on the assessment of the Collaborative effectiveness and the assessment of student learning. Measures to evaluate the effectiveness must include:
- Data and evidence of feedback from each of the 22 colleges on the assessment of student learning in distance delivery.
- Student retention rate in classes offered through the support of the Collaborative.
- Student satisfaction in the following areas:
- Technology support
- Library services
- Bookstore services
- Financial aid
Report Two was prepared with input from the 22 participating colleges and submitted to the Higher Learning Commission on March 30, 2005. This document is in MSWord format. Any questions about this report should be directed to Ronda Edwards.
Background Information about this Project
Relative to accreditation of online degree programs, NCA Policy IC2b requires that colleges obtain approval before offering online degree programs. To provide guidance to colleges considereing seeking this accreditation, the commission has two relevant documents available on their web site:
Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs
Commission on Higher Learning Guidelines for Distance Education
Additionally, the Handbook of Accreditation Third Edition is also available from the Higher Learning Commission web site in .pdf format. This edition also includes a significantly updated "Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs".
For those colleges participating in, or considering, AQIP, questions arise about the need for this request. Follow this link directly to the NCA web site for the answer from the AQIP Informations document originally published by NCA on July 11, 2000.
Two documents approved by the MCCA Board of Directors are relevant to this request:
The MCCVLC Online Course Development Guidelines and Rubric may also be helpful in addressing issues of quality in online courses.
The "Request for Institutional Change" was finalized and forwarded to the Higher Learning Commission on February 19, 2002. Copies of the document were provided to all 28 MCCA college presidents as well as to the 22 official contacts for the project (listed in the table below). You may download copies of the cover sheet, the table of contents and the body of the request by clicking on the links below. All the documents listed in the appendix are online and accessible from the "About MCCVLC" page. Note that these documents are in MSWord format.
A Focused Visit for this request occurred on March 18 & March 19 of 2002. The agenda for this visit was prepared in consultation with the chairman of the visiting team, Dr. Jack Bottenfield. All 22 participating colleges had the opportunity to be actively involved in the visit. At the exit interview, the team provided their preliminary Team Recommendations for the MCCVLC. The Final Report of the visiting team is now available to be downloaded as a MSWord document; note that the final recommendations of the team are identical to the preliminary recommendations accessible via the link immediately above.
The Michigan Community College Association has received a letter from the CEO of the following colleges indicating an intent to participate in this initiative and designating an official contact.
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The following colleges indicate having previously been approved to offer degree programs in a distance learning format:
Colleges Previously Approved for
Distance Learning Degrees