In conjunction with National Distance Learning Week, Lincoln Land Community College today observed the 20th anniversary of the first online class offered at LLCC.
“Two decades ago, LLCC took a bold step into the world of education via the Internet,” said Dr. Charlotte Warren, president of LLCC, at a noon ceremony. “One online composition class in the fall of 1997 has grown into more than 85,000 online class enrollments over the past two decades. Last year, 36 percent of LLCC students took at least one course online, and more than 1,500 students took all of their courses online.”
She congratulated those who helped the college reach this milestone. “We anticipate online education will continue to grow and evolve, and our outstanding online faculty and staff will be right there on the cutting edge.”
Becky Parton, dean of academic innovation and e-learning at LLCC, described the beginnings of online education at the college. “We celebrate the pioneering spirit of former LLCC Professor Lynn Pfannkuche, who developed and taught the first online course at the college, Introduction to Composition. That course has seen many changes as technology advancements have created a more dynamic online teaching and learning environment.”
Dr. Jason Dockter, professor of English, displayed images of Professor Pfannkuche’s first online course compared to his own today, demonstrating the advancements of online course design and development over the past 20 years.
Parton noted that today’s college student is often a busy adult with limits on their time due to work, family and other responsibilities. “Online education at LLCC provides those students with access to flexible and dynamic learning opportunities, while maintaining the high quality of instruction and affordability for which LLCC is known.”
She introduced LLCC student Steve Humphrey, who has returned to LLCC after 20 years to complete his degree by taking online courses. “Steve’s journey is similar to many online students at LLCC, and we hope his story will inspire others to return to LLCC to complete their educational goals,” said Parton.
Nearly 90 LLCC faculty teach online each year, continually developing and redeveloping courses to be delivered to students across the LLCC district. Online faculty participate in a semester-long training program to prepare them to teach online with advanced technologies. “Their dedication is ever present in their online interactions with students, whether it is through email, discussion boards, online journals, blogs or videos,” said Parton.
She added that technology will continue to progress and more online courses will be added, including a new cybersecurity program which begins next fall. “We will continue to advance our online programming to meet the needs of our students and district.”
LLCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to offer a wide variety of online courses along with 36 degrees and certificates in an online environment. More information is available at www.llcc.edu/online.