The EPIC initiative aligns with Wake Tech’s mission of improving and enriching lives through education. EPIC has been established as Wake Tech’s Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, a requirement for accreditation by the Southern Association of College and Schools.
Online students are now a significant portion of Wake Tech’s student population, and Wake Tech offers more online classes than any other community college in North Carolina. Student performance in those classes, however, lags behind that in traditional classes by about 5% on average. The disparity is particularly evident in high-demand, “gateway” courses, and student survey responses confirm that many lack the skills they need to do well in an online environment.
Wake Tech has aggressively pursued distance education in keeping with its open-door policy and commitment to accessibility. Now, the college must give greater focus to the quality of student learning in the online environment–and EPIC is that focus. Its strategies are aimed at developing online learning skills and supporting e-learning success:
Student Preparedness: EPIC’s interactive eLearning Intro will help students build the skills they need to be successful. The orientation focuses on expectation management, basic computer literacy, and understanding the learning management system (Blackboard)–three areas that have been identified as critical to success online.
Faculty Preparedness: EPIC’s Online Teaching Certification program will help faculty develop the skills they need to teach effectively online. The program focuses on course design, instructional techniques, accessibility, and understanding the learning management system (Blackboard)–plus mentoring for new online faculty.