All colleges accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) go through a reaffirmation process every 10 years. As part of the process, a college submits a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that describes how it plans to impact student learning. The choice of a QEP topic involves broad-based collaboration among faculty, students, staff, and administrators who analyze institutional data and consult best practices as they go through the QEP topic selection and development processes. After SACSCOC approves the QEP, an institution begins the implementation phase. Colleges report on the QEP impact in a Fifth-Year Report to SACSCOC.
WCC’s first QEP was approved by SACSCOC in 2006 with a goal of enhancing critical thinking. The second QEP process began in 2013 when a broad-based group of faculty, staff, and administrators analyzed a range of institutional data related to student learning and success; these efforts resulted in WCC determining that online learning was an area that would benefit from a QEP. WCC was reaffirmed in June 2016, and the current QEP topic is “Preparing for Online Success.” The two major QEP initiatives involve online readiness for students and professional development for WCC instructors who teach online.
WCC’s Fifth-Year Report will be submitted to SACSCOC in 2021 and will involve an explanation of how the QEP has impacted student learning and the learning environment. The report will include data and analysis related to the progress on two goals and four student learning outcomes:
- WCC will offer quality online courses.
- WCC will increase its online completion rate.
- Average student performance on targeted online assignments will increase.
- New WCC students will be aware of online course success skills.
- Students in college success courses (ACA) will demonstrate an understanding of time management strategies and how to apply them academically.
- Students in college success courses (ACA) will demonstrate online success skills.
Student Online Readiness
The online readiness experience for students is offered through the college learning management system Moodle and is designed to help new students understand success strategies, online course expectations, and computer/Moodle skills. The experience is currently accessible to all new students through the college success courses ACA 115, 118, and 122.
Instructor Professional Development
CORE (Collaborative Online Reflective Experience) is the WCC-designed professional development experience for online instructors. Experienced online instructors spend a semester in CORE with other instructors who teach online. Instructors who have not taught online spend two semesters in a CORE setting; the first semester they develop the course and the second, they teach it. CORE groups are led by Peer Mentors or instructors who have considerable experience teaching online and who are guided by best practices in online learning. CORE completion is a prerequisite to WCC Online Instructor Certification, an indicator that the instructor meets quality standards in online teaching.