Putting California’s Working Learners at the Center
Design principles for the online community college
In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown proposed the creation of a new kind of community college—an online-only community college—to supplement California’s 114 existing community college campuses. The new Online Community College is being developed specifically for “stranded workers,” people in the workforce who lack the skills and credentials to advance. But what does this new Online Community College actually look like? How do we ensure that it genuinely serves the needs of working learners?
Community college has always been open and accessible, intended as a place where anyone can go to learn new skills for getting ahead in the workforce or for getting the education needed to transfer to a four-year college.
Today, online learning creates an unprecedented opportunity for community colleges to fulfill this purpose on a scale never before possible. But creating an online college that meets the needs of these workers involves far more than just getting the technology right. The entire system has to be designed from the ground up to put the learner front and center. To ensure this, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office collaborated with Institute for the Future on a six-month-long project identifying key principles to optimize design of the online college for stranded workers.
This report synthesizes and builds on the results of a research and statewide engagement process designed to understand the landscape of today and develop a framework for moving forward. You can learn more about the process, and the culminating workshop where these design principles were workshopped and established here.