Barton Community College could expand its course offerings by connecting with third-party vendors, Dr. Robin Garret, vice president of instruction and student services, told college trustees Tuesday.
Other Kansas universities and community colleges are already using services from companies such as Ed2Go or Ed4Online. Both offer individual courses and full career training programs online.
For example, Wichita State University offers a Criminal Law class through Ed2Go for $103. This instructor-led course is taught over six weeks and the student receives an award of completion with a passing score.
Garrett said colleges pay Ed2Go for the classes and then set their own price. Classes costing $100 are typical and about $30 of that is profit for the college.
If Barton decides to offer another company’s courses online, the administration can decide what to offer.
“The students go through our website to a website (the vendors) develop for us,” Garrett said.
An example of a program the college might want to offer this way is a Medical Scribe course. Taken on top of Barton’s Medical Assistant program, it would be what Garrett calls a “stackable credential.” It could make the Medical Assistant program completer more desirable to employers and create more employment opportunities.
If a course creates enough interest, the college may later develop its own version.
No financial aid
Non-credit courses tend to cost less than those taken for college credit, but they don’t qualify for federal financial aid, Garrett said. Usually the entire cost is paid by the student.
Third-party vendors can also offer courses for college credit, or award college credit based on prior-learning assessments. That is a way to generate income, but the college must make sure it stays in compliance with accreditation standards, Garrett cautioned.
Overall, the third-vendor products can be profitable to the college and bring new students to the college, she said. “I would like to partner with some of these non-credit and credit companies to expand our reach,” she told college trustees.
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said such courses could serve as additional resources for introducing students to the college.
Trustee Leonard Bunselmeyer has taken Ed2Go classes through Kansas universities in the past and described it as a positive experience.