As society evolves, our institutions must accommodate change or risk becoming obsolete. Community colleges, as providers of higher education in a particular geographic area, must be responsive not only to local community needs but also to national developments and demographic changes. This report examines seven prominent trends in community colleges today.
1. Increased Distance Learning
Using the internet as the primary tool, community colleges have embraced distance learning. Responding to the demand for more distance education, some community colleges offer particular courses online and some offer online degree programs that are completely online. The ability to take college courses online makes access to higher education possible for more students. The hallmark of online education is the flexibility it affords to students needing to coordinate their studies with business or personal obligations. For example, a student with a full-time job can access an online course before or after work or on days off. Stay-at-home parents can participate in online classes before the children get up, while they are at school, and after they go to bed at night. Students who live in geographically remote areas can attend college without having to relocate or travel great distances. The popularity of distance learning guarantees that the trend toward more online course offerings will continue.
2. Greater Number of Baccalaureate Degrees Awarded
Historically, four-year colleges and universities awarded bachelor's degrees and advanced degrees (and not associate's degrees) and community colleges awarded associate's degrees (and not bachelor's degrees). Now, however, an increasing number of community colleges also offer
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