COM’s Distance Education Program Gets $200,000 Boost

July 18th, 2019 - 4:19pm

Person in a cafe working on a laptop and drinking from a coffee mugCollege of Marin’s (COM) Distance Education program was recently awarded a $200,000 grant to develop and strengthen career education programs that can be completed online. Awards were made through the Improving Online Career Technical Education (CTE) Pathways grant program developed by the California Virtual Campus— Online Education Initiative (CVC-OEI). This one-time funding for the grants ($35 million in total) came via the 2018-19 state budget.

Improving Online CTE Pathways grants are aimed at helping community colleges develop online programs that either lead to short-term, industry-valued credentials, or enable a student in a career pathway developed by the new California Online Community College District—formally known as Calbright College—to continue their education in a career pathway offered by a traditional community college.

The primary focus of COM’s proposed project, Creating Online CTE Pathways, is to develop new online and hybrid CTE certificates and degree programs. These programs are already developed as on-campus programs with less than 50 percent of the respective courses offered online. The timeline for grant implementation is the 2019-20 fiscal year.

The proposed online certificate and degree programs include:

  • Business, Administration AS-T
  • Business, General Certificate
  • Hospitality Management AS-T
  • Hospitality Management Certificate
  • Multimedia Studies, Entertainment Certificate
  • Multimedia Studies, Entertainment AS
  • Multimedia Studies, Graphic Design AS
  • Multimedia Studies, Graphic Design Certificate 
  • Multimedia Studies, Web Design AS 
  • Multimedia Studies, Web Design Certificate

Other nine-unit, short-term certificates in multimedia graphic design and digital illustration will also be developed. These certificates will provide upskilling opportunities for employees currently working in the field. These short-term certificates will also be ladder certificates, which can lead to degree completion.   

In addition to the course development within the CTE programs, existing gaps within the CSU/UC general education patterns will be filled by adding online courses such as art history, math, economics, and public speaking. Developing these courses will allow academic degree programs such as anthropology and psychology to be offered over 50 percent online.

Assistant Superintendent/President of Student Learning and Success Jonathan Eldridge believes these academic degree pathways have the potential to decrease the burden on student populations that need more flexibility in their course offerings as a pathway to completion.

“Ultimately, all students benefit from more flexible course offerings in CTE and the general education patterns; however, in some instances it may mean the difference between completion and non-completion,” says Eldridge. 

Currently, unemployment is low in Marin and most students are working. By designing better options for course delivery and student support services, students are incentivized to complete their educational goal and obtain the long-term benefits of attaining a degree, certificate, or specific skills that they can employ to improve their job prospects and wages.


About College of Marin
Established in 1926, College of Marin remains committed to educational excellence, providing equitable opportunities, and fostering success for all members of its diverse community. With campuses in Kentfield and Novato, students of all ages have affordable access to an exciting variety of credit and noncredit courses as well as community education classes for lifelong learning. College of Marin is one of 115 public community colleges in California and nearly 14,000 credit, noncredit, and community education students enroll annually. 
College of Marin is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Boulevard, Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.