What is CCCOnline?

Full Disclosure: I have taught Computer Networking for CCCOnline since 2003 as an adjunct.

CCCOnline starts their SP18 term this morning.  CCCOnline has been the subject of an increasing number of questions in the past few weeks, so I thought I’d use this time to explain a little about the organization and what it does.

Let’s first look at what CCCOnline is and isn’t.  Below is a paragraph from their About Us page:

Colorado Community Colleges (CCCOnline) is not a college in and of itself.  Rather, it is an extension of and a service to each of the home colleges it serves.  CCCOnline offers students another learning option for complementing their on-campus experience.  By offering courses through CCCOnline, the home colleges are able to offer their students courses and programs that they may not be able to offer individually.

The first sentence seems simple enough, but it’s at the core of most CCCOnline confusion.  CCCOnline isn’t a college.  They don’t register students.  They don’t transcribe credit.  They don’t have full-time faculty. They offer online courses to all of the system colleges, which gives our students opportunities they may not normally have.

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation. Let’s say a PPCC student, Aarnie, is a Business major.  He is taking several courses at the Centennial Campus, but the BUS120 (Intro to e-Commerce) class he needs to take this spring isn’t offered at PPCC.  He can take the CCCOnline section and get PPCC credit. Even if only 5 PPCC students sign up for the section, when joined with other students from other colleges around the system, it’s very likely this section will run and allow Aarnie access to the course he needs this semester.

In fact, the example of Aarnie is very common to online students in general, not just students taking CCCOnline courses.  More than 90% of online students also take an in-person class at the same time.  Perhaps it’s the mixing of resources available to students that’s causing some of the confusion.

The easiest way to remember where to send students for assistance is, if it’s associated with the instruction, online materials or technology of a CCCOnline course, send them to CCCOnline.  If it’s regarding anything else, treat the student as if it was any other section at PPCC.  If any student has questions about textbooks, please refer them to the PPCC Bookstore.  They have all of the information about both PPCC and CCCOnline sections.

Finally, I do need address an elephant in the room, quality.  Yes, I hear rumors about bad experiences in CCCOnline courses.  I can honestly say though, I’ve seen great courses at CCCOnline and I’ve seen weak courses at CCCOnline.  However, the same can be said of PPCC courses, online and in-person.  I encourage everyone to point out when classes aren’t meeting our students’ needs through Course Evaluation and the Report a Concern web form.  Leadership from both PPCC and CCCOnline are committed to offering high quality courses.

PPCC couldn’t offer our students the number and variety of classes it does without CCCOnline.  Conversely, CCCOnline wouldn’t exist without students from the home colleges, like PPCC.  It’s a relationship that has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, we are both working to help students succeed.


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