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Community colleges develop shared online learning program

Five SUNY community colleges have teamed up to form an online learning partnership that will facilitate progress in 34 associate degree and certificate programs that can be completed completely online.

The five partner institutions in the Online Western New York Learning Alliance (OWL) are Corning, Erie, Finger Lakes, Genesee, Jamestown and Monroe Community Colleges.

Marilyn Zagora, JCC’s Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs said of the new program, “As community colleges, we are committed to providing access to higher education.  By offering five associate degrees and two certificate options online, JCC has helped many students remove the barriers of time and place. The OWL Alliance provides even greater access by helping students identify even more pathways and facilitating the interchange of credit experiences via the web.”

The OWL Alliance will be offering a unique method of student support – a “concierge” that will help students to set and accomplish goals.  Each school will have their own trained, designated concierge to address needs of students.  They will be versed in enrollments, advisement, and academic progress concerns.  Cori Dunagan, JCC’s Director of Distance Learning, will be serving as their concierge.

“Students access the OWL Alliance through the OWL website to explore courses or degrees which most efficiently fit their academic interests, needs, and schedules,” Dunagan said. “Students will be fully matriculated (enrolled) in only one of the six OWL colleges, but can take online courses from the entire OWL network, seamlessly transferring and earning credits among the partner colleges. Upon completion of required coursework, students earn a degree from their “home” college.”

Some of the programs offerings are: business administration, business management, eCommerce, entrepreneurship, office management, sales and customer service, criminal justice, economic crime investigation, homeland security, computer information systems, GIS software application specialty, general studies, human services, physical education studies, sports and tourism studies, tourism management, teacher education, and teacher assistant.  Credits from the program are transferrable to upper-division SUNY campuses as well as other colleges and universities.

“This is fantastic news for western New Yorkers seeking a college degree while also managing responsibilities at home and on the job,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “By making 100 percent of the required coursework available online, the OWL alliance makes a SUNY degree more accessible and attainable for many students, and contributes to degree completion, some of our primary objectives as providers of public higher education.  Congratulations to each of the campuses involved in the OWL alliance.”

    Emily Schwartz

      Written by Emily Schwartz

      Emily Schwartz is the Coordinator of Open SUNY Communication and Projects.


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