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3/31/2020 9:24:04 AM

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Online offerings make learning flexible at MCC

At Metropolitan Community College, there are many ways to earn a degree or certification. Students can take in-person, online and a blend of the two types of classes. MCC meets students where they are, meaning students can learn at a pace that works for them and their schedule.

While some students have the flexibility to take in-person courses, others may be trying to achieve a degree while they work full-time or have other commitments that make taking an in-person class difficult. And amid the COVID-19 pandemic, online offerings are becoming more prominent.

Programs offered entirely online include Business Management, Cybersecurity, Health Information Technology and many more. Some may think because a course is remote or online, it means less work. That is not the case, says vice president for Academic Affairs, Tom McDonnell.

“There’s no difference in terms of the rigor of the course when comparing online, hybrid and face-to-face,” he explains. “There’s a misconception that online is somehow easier than other modes. That’s simply not true. Regardless of the learning mode, college courses are challenging and our faculty set high expectations for their students.”

Here are some of the programs offering online degrees, certifications and courses:

Workforce Innovation Division: Learn how to advance an already-existent career and strengthen leadership skills. WID offers online and hybrid courses for certifications such as MCC Code School, Project Management Academy, the Facebook Digital Marketing Certificate and more.

“These professional noncredit programs utilize online platforms such as Canvas and Zoom, and students engage with interactive learning activities, projects, and assessments, which lead to industry recognized credentials,” says Robert Caldwell, workforce training manager at MCC. “A hybrid course may include 75 percent of the learning delivery through asynchronous methods, and 25 percent of the learning delivery through synchronous methods or vise-versa.

Caldwell says that COVID-19 has caused businesses to change and adapt. MCC can help those ready to learn how to handle and lead the changing workforce.

“How we work and interact with others looks considerably different than it did just six months ago, and there is some indication that the work environment in many industries may never be the same. This leaves our workforce no choice but to adapt,” he says. “Pursuing online or hybrid education is a great way to increase exposure to the necessary skills, tools and techniques to be successful in a virtual work environment.”

Business: Whether its management, legal studies or accounting, MCC Business degrees and certifications can be obtained online, says dean of Business Lori Lothringer.

“In Business at MCC, there are a number of degrees, certificates, and course specializations available online. These include Accounting, Tax, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Investments, Marketing, Immigration Law, and Paralegal,” she explains.  “Many of these programs prepare students for professional certifications and/or licensure including our programs in Financial Planning, Financial Counseling, Human Resources, Insurance, and Real Estate.”

In addition to in-person and hybrid courses, Business courses have adapted to be offered remotely, Lothringer says.

“These are similar in that students participate online with faculty and peers synchronously in real time.  These are different in that remote classes do not involve campus time whereas blended classes do have an on-campus element,” she says. “Our goal in Business is to customize the learning experience as much as possible, thereby giving a diverse population of learners the greatest chance of success.”

Transfer degrees: MCC is a place where students can start and continue to anywhere for a four-year degree. McDonnell says Liberal Arts and Business Transfer degrees are some of the most popular online options.

“The courses students can take to transfer to a four-year college or university are still very popular,” he says. “In fact, many of our students take courses online from MCC while they are also attending a four-year institution.”

In addition, classes that aren’t normally online have adapted.

“We offer some hybrid courses in career programs like Utility Line Technician and in Automotive Technology, and those are popular too,” McDonnell says.

To see a full list of online degrees and certificates and how to get started, visit mccneb.edu/elearning.

McDonnell says students should consider these online courses because MCC has decades of experience.

“MCC has more than 20 years of experience in online education and our faculty have done a wonderful job finding innovative ways to engage students from a distance,” he says. “The main thing is just being disciplined to set aside the time to access your courses on a regular basis.”

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