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Contra Costa Community College District receives $1.5 million grant to fund online education

Online courses provide educational opportunities for students unable to attend class in person

The Contra Costa Community College District has received three competitive state grants worth nearly $1.5 million to support online technical courses and programs at Diablo Valley College (DVC) and its San Ramon satellite campus, Contra Costa College (CCC) and Los Medanos College (LMC).

The three grants -- two grants awarded at a maximum of $500,000 and the third for $461,000 -- are provided by California's Improving Online Career Technical Education Pathways Grants program, and focus on improving existing online programs, creating new ones, and generally supporting students and faculty taking part in online courses.

“Without access to online classes, many of our students who are working, parenting, disabled, or without transportation would be unable to complete their educational goals,” said Joanna Miller, the district’s Dean of Distance Education. “These grants support our District’s efforts to increase online course offerings and ensure that our courses are equitable and accessible to all of our students.”

The Improving Online CTE Pathways Grants program is administered by the California Virtual Campus -- Online Education Initiative and funded by a one-time $35 million budget augmentation under the state’s Budget Act of 2018. The goal of the program is to continue aiding the access and quality of online education, so that there are more opportunities for students to complete their certificates and degrees.

According to Erin Brooks, the district's marketing and communications coordinator, the funds will help more than 14,000 students in completing their education at a faster pace.

The grants will also help faculty who are creating new classes, assist their current courses and provide mentorship programs that can improve online course design, practice and pedagogy, Brooks added.

Among the degrees and programs that will now be featured fully online include CCC’s associate degree for transfer in business administration, DVC’s new certificate in digital marketing and LMC’s associate degree for transfer in Spanish.

Other programs set to receive support from the grants include administration of justice, art digital media, business, digital marketing, computer information systems, computer network technology, geographic information systems/global positioning systems, and music industry studies.

San Ramon Valley residents that are interested in taking online courses that are supported by the Improving Online CTE Pathways Grants program can apply to the courses at Diablo Valley College at its San Ramon satellite location.

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