Over the past 18 months, the California Virtual Campus (CVC) has been partnering with the Student Centered Design Lab to gather student feedback about the CVC Online Course Exchange. Housed and operated by the Foundation for California Community Colleges in partnership with the Chancellor’s Office, the Student Centered Design Lab is an in-house design, research and strategy unit dedicated to improving student access and success within the California community colleges.
CVC’s Online Course Exchange is a systemwide course enrollment platform on which students can search for and enroll in online courses offered by community colleges throughout the state. The platform directly supports the Vision for Success by accelerating student completion through increasing student access to online courses, particularly those meeting general education requirements across the community colleges and for transfer to the CSU and UC.
To ensure broad student access, home colleges must enable a properly configured connection to the CCC SSO Proxy, ensure that it includes the student CCCID, and work with CVC to complete some additional onboarding steps, which have been designed to support quick college implementation so students can access the Course Exchange as early as possible. California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Memo ESS-20-400-003 CVC Course Exchange: Preparing Your College for Student-Centered Cross Enrollment details guidance for home colleges to enable cross enrollment through the CVC Exchange. If colleges do not participate with a properly configured connection, students are unable to gain equitable access to cross-enrollment in courses they need to complete on time .
Within the Online Course Exchange, course listings include a series of badges to aid in students’ course selection, indicating if:
- Courses have been quality reviewed through a peer review process
- Courses at particular community colleges offer online tutoring services, online counseling services and student readiness support for online learning
- Colleges are part of the Online Education Initiative Consortium.
In Fall 2020, design recommendations from the Student Centered Design Lab, coupled with technical infrastructure changes designed to accelerate availability to more students, led to a student-centered re-launch of the Online Course Exchange. In spring 2021, the Student Centered Design Lab conducted additional usability testing of the Online Course Exchange and its current badging system. Usability testing is a research method in which user experience researchers test how easy to navigate and intuitive a technology platform is for actual platform student users. This research project was the third round of usability testing that the Student Centered Design Lab has facilitated for CVC, each round providing the CVC team with actionable recommendations for their iterative platform design based on data from current students.