Online programs pay-off for Edison State

PIQUA – Years of faculty development, investments in online software and equipment, and online teaching and learning have not only positioned Edison State Community College for success during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they also have contributed to a growth in enrollment.

This semester, Edison State has experienced an increase of 4.7 percent in overall headcount and a 9.5 percent in credit hours. These increases demonstrate that online classes are becoming more popular, and students are enrolling full-time or taking an increased number of credit hours.

A 2016 student enrollment survey indicated that many students sought assurance that a degree or certificate could be completed entirely online. According to survey results, even if students have one or two courses required on campus, it created barriers to completion. Edison State responded, and every degree and certificate were reviewed with the goal of 100 percent online availability.

After years of strategic investment and faculty preparation, Edison State rolled out a 2018 fall course schedule highlighting online course offerings and complete online degree options. Online course sections were formatted to roll out new sections as needed, eliminating student wait lists and delays in schedule changes. Curriculum changes were completed that resulted in many new degree and certificate programs available through all online courses.

Increases in fall 2018 and fall 2019 enrollments indicated that Edison State had made the right move. Online registration in fall 2018 increased by 28 percent, and likewise, fall enrollment in 2019 was up by an additional 5 percent. Overall, Edison State has had steady enrollment growth since 2015.

“Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic did not require a complete and disruptive shift in teaching and learning,” Edison State President Doreen Larson said. “For us, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated our trajectory towards our goal of 100 percent online program availability.

“Students in Edison State online courses immediately experience the high levels of faculty engagement, individual feedback and support, and flexibility in learning and assessment that are the hallmarks of high-quality, highly effective online teaching and learning for both full -time and adjunct faculty. These quality factors take the faculty’s time and dedication to develop and master.”