Vernon Smith, Vice President, Academic Affairs, Rio Salado College, in conversation with Amee Godwin, of ISKME, for CompletionMatters.org, Conversations on College Completion.
Rio Salado College, AZ, is the largest public non-profit 2-year college in the US. Vernon Smith describes how the institution, as an early adopter of best practices for adult online learning, has been able to continue to innovate and scale up its model for teaching and learning that supports postsecondary student success.
Built around offering flexibility and convenience for students, new classes start every Monday, with 48 starts during the year, for online classes that are never cancelled. Instructors and support services together track student engagement and through predictive modeling of student behavior, early interventions can help students who may be struggling. In addition to caring instructors, 24/7 librarian, instructional and tech support services, and e-advising, the college has constructed a system of continuous supports.
Indeed, as Vernon Smith explains, the institution's vision is to anticipate student need. A culture of disruptive innovation is at the core, with the freedom and resources from the state system to implement. Rio Salado is looking at how to aid the completion agenda nationally by offering access to students locked out of their state system, such as in California, or those in rural areas.
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