As a method to promote higher enrollment in business classes at Contra Costa College, the business information and computer technology (BICT) department will be offering online business courses starting in spring 2018.
The online courses are the product of the business department’s merge with the college’s Computer Technology Center (CTC), real estate, economics and computer technology departments.
“The reality of it is that there are similarities that cross over in each of these areas. Business is definitely related to real estate and economics and computer technology is definitely related to business,” BICT department Chairperson Pamela Rudy said. “We have shared classes that are required for each area.”
Starting in the spring of 2018, the BICT department will be offering three online courses in addition to its traditional face-to-face classes: Introduction to Business (BUS-109), Principles of Accounting I (BUS-186) and Business Law (BUS-294).
Each of the classes is transferable to the California State University system.
Next semester will be the first time in the department’s history that online courses will be offered.
The department’s newest addition, professor Bashir Shah, said the actualization of online courses will substantially expand the department’s enrollment numbers. It does this by accommodating for the demographic of students who can’t invest the time necessary for on-campus classes.
This semester was Shah’s first at CCC after spending five years at Diablo Valley College teaching online business courses.
He said his classes were littered with students from UC Berkeley, San Francisco State and other colleges through the Bay Area.
“We’ll be offering the same business major core courses offered at four-year universities for a fraction of the price,” Shah said. “We’re going to attract a vast number of new students to the school, which means more money for the college.”
BICT professor Joseph DeTorres said the department believes that face-to-face instruction is really key, however, he also recognizes that more students are asking for online courses as an alternative to an “in class” setting.
“We know that some students’ schedules can be too hectic for formal instruction in the classroom,” DeTorres said. “We want to provide those students with the same lessons, but at their leisure. It will help our students become more successful.”
Rudy said currently there is not yet a complete set of online classes for each business major, but eventually there will be.
The department’s plan is to implement two online courses per semester until the full business course catalog is offered online.
Online business courses will also be offered in the summer.
Since the merger between the business department and the computer classes went into full effect earlier this semester, business major enrollment numbers have been stagnant.
It is believed by many in the department that having an alternative method of attending classes, like the implementation of online courses, will boost student enrollment in business classes.
“Some programs have remained consistent, some have declined,” Rudy said. “We’re hoping new classes, new delivery methods and new energy will help grow the various programs.”
Although the new online structure will benefit the department as a whole, it has also created a lot more work for her as the department’s chairperson, Rudy said.
“It basically doubled the size of our department, which doubles schedules, evaluations and communication,” she said.
“However, as far as the various programs are concerned, I think the merger makes sense. Collaboration is much simpler when you’re in the same department,” Rudy said. “Growing programs with input from others is essential — more hands make for less work.”
Shah said students who plan on taking the online courses next semester can expect to use the new technology and have support similar to on-campus classes.
“There will be a lot of teacher/student interactions and emails,” he said.