GCC to host statewide eLearning conference

  • Sun strikes budding trees on the Greenfield Community College campus on Wednesday. Recorder/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield Community College as seen from Poet's Seat Tower.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

How can colleges support student success in online courses?

That is just one topic to be discussed at Greenfield Community College on Thursday, June 2, when about 220 educators from Massachusetts public community colleges and universities gather for the 11th annual Conference on eLearning. Theconference is sponsored by Massachusetts Colleges Online. Carlos Santiago, Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education will present the keynote address.

Featured at the conference will be the Courses of Distinction Award Showcase, sessions describing online and hybrid courses recognized by the MCO institutions as representing the best uses of online learning instructional technology to enhance student success. Hybrid courses combine online instruction with in-classroom time. GCC Social Sciences faculty member Linda McCarthy and Medical Office Management instructor Jeanne Dodge will receive Courses of Distinction Awards for courses they teach at GCC: McCarthy for her fully online course Principles of Sociology and Dodge for her hybrid course, Medical Terminology.

Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) is a consortium of Massachusetts Community Colleges and the State Universities of Massachusetts.

Michelle Barthelemy, GCC’s coordinator of online learning and instructional technology, worked with the MCO Conference Committee to help them choose GCC as the conference site.

The conference attendees will use and tour GCC’s online education facilities, including classrooms equipped with smart whiteboards and specialized software and the support systems offered to online students. Praising GCC’s online education efforts, Barthelemy said, “GCC faculty are committed to providing students in online courses the same support and attention they receive in face-to-face classes. As in our face-to-face classes, there is an emphasis on engaging students with the course material through interactive activities, online discussions, videos, multimedia material developed by faculty, and more. GCC has been very deliberate about the roll-out of our online courses. Faculty teaching online take the time to learn the software and applications needed to create an enriching experience for students in our online courses.”

“We are pleased that Massachusetts Colleges Online has chosen GCC as the site for this year’s conference,” said GCC President Bob Pura, “and I appreciate the hard work of Michelle Barthelemy and the conference committee for bringing it to Franklin County.”

To learn more about online education at GCC, visit http://www.gcc.mass.edu/online/ or contact Michelle Barthelemy at BarthelemyM@gcc.mass.edu.