Waubonsee recognized for online noncredit courses

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

SUGAR GROVE – Since 2003, Waubonsee Community College has been offering short- and long-term classes online, in conjunction with ed2go, a leading provider of online learning for adults.

The classes are aimed at boosting students’ skills for the workforce. This month, ed2go, named Waubonsee among its top 50 institutional partners.

Pat Carley, Waubonsee’s manager for product development and workforce development, said ed2go is widely used and respected among the colleges and universities that use it.

The recognition as one of the top 50 is a recognition of the college’s longevity with ed2go and the number of students who go through the courses, Carley said. About 100 students take the courses each year, she said.

“Workforce development is a noncredit division of the college,” Carley said. “We offer face-to-face traditional as well as online for professional development or continuing education or preparation for nationally recognized certifications.”

The short courses are six weeks and used to develop extra tools for workplace skills. The longer courses, which could have 200 to 300 hours of content, are for career training and could take six months to complete, she said.

“They are pretty rigorous,” Carley said of the longer-term courses. “Some are aligned to nationally or state-recognized certification. The pharmacy technician course is to prepare you for the certification board exam.”

Short-term courses cover many topics, such as professional development for teachers, she said. A teacher might take one of these on teaching math to fifth-graders or how to discipline middle school students.

Others cover grant writing, fiction or short-story writing, graphic design, Photoshop or computer applications, she said.

The short-term courses are inexpensive, most of them costing about $100; the long-term courses cost more and many involve downloading textbooks, she said.

Prospective students have to be motivated and disciplined to learn material online and email instructors with questions. Carley said online learning is not for everyone.

“While you are doing this on your own time and probably in your own home, there is an instructor behind every course,” Carley said. “Exams are to see if you have mastered the content. ... Some people need that. ... They need interaction with a live instructor to answer questions right away or to be with other students.”

Short-term ed2go offerings are listed at www.ed2go.com/waubonsee while longer career training programs are listed at http://careertraining.ed2go.com/waubonsee.