Trinity Valley Community College

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Athens, TX 75751
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Distance Learning Grows
Posted: 8/16/2016 9:16:33 AM
Online classes make obtaining a degree or certificate more convenient

Increasingly, Trinity Valley Community College students are taking classes online. During the 2014-15 year, counting each class individually, more than 8,000 students were enrolled in online courses at all campuses. Most of the courses taught have an online option, with 241 sections (classes) available fully online for the fall 2016 semester.
The TVCC Distance Learning office handles all types of non-traditional classes, including online courses, hybrid (in class and online combo) and interactive TV (serving Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison classes and dual credit classes at high schools). The department is the helpdesk for both faculty students, including faculty training, course design, and ensuring the Blackboard online learning software is working for both faculty and students.
“We can’t tell a sociology faculty member how to teach sociology,” said TVCC Director of Distance Learning Renda Garner, “but we can train them, encourage them and show them how to design the course to make the navigation work well, to make it friendly to students.”
Why is online learning such a big part of higher education? “Convenience is a big factor, especially for students who work full-time, who have families,” Garner continued. “Different learning styles play a part, too. There are some students who don’t do well in a classroom setting, but can do well in organizing the class material when it’s in an online format.”
Students with disabilities many times can handle online courses better because accessibility tools available like readers make it easier to see and understand the material.
Some students prefer to study at unusual hours, and while an instructor may keep certain office hours, the online courses are available anytime. There is even a mobile app to make the course more accessible.
But online learning isn’t for everyone, says Garner. “You have to be very self-motivated, very driven with good time management skills. Faculty members are very good about keeping students informed through email, blogs, etc., but students have to take initiative to attend the online classes and spend the study time necessary to receive good grades.”
For more information on TVCC’s Distance Learning Department or online classes, contact Garner at or the office of Distance Learning at 903-675-6259.