Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Mandatory DL Orientation Update

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This is an update from Distance Education about the mandatory DL orientation project and a delay in its implementation until Winter 2015.

For background, Distance Ed. is developing a mandatory orientation for students wanting to take their first online course at PCC. There are many reasons we are doing this, but the primary reason is to improve student success in online courses. This mandatory orientation will help prepare our students for the rigors of online coursework and allow the student to decide if online courses are appropriate.

Panther Path

Additionally, this orientation has been frequently requested by DL faculty and addresses an EAC Distance Learning Recommendation. The plan for the orientation has been presented to and approved by the Distance Learning Advisory Council, the District Student Services Leaders, Deans of Instruction and Division Deans, and the Educational Advisory Council.


  • The mandatory DL orientation is self-paced and can be completed any time after admission.
  • Orientation takes about one hour.
  • Students will be notified of the requirement and provided with instructions on accessing and completing the orientation.
  • Students who have already taken a DL course will automatically meet the DL prerequisite.


The orientation addresses study skills, technology skills, covers academic integrity, information about college student services, and include a readiness assessment that helps student explore how personal life factors impact successful online learning.

Updated Timeline

The orientation will be implemented this November in time for Winter 2015 registration. This is a delay from our previous target of Fall 2014, largely due to some technical complications that will require additional communication and training. We expect that adjusting the timeline will make for a more smooth roll-out.

Summer 2014
  • Complete technical implementation.
  • Create training materials and communication plan.
  • Work with Marketing to improve branding.
  • Build awareness with student support staff and faculty.
Fall 2014
  • Continue communication with staff, faculty and students.
  • After the 2nd week of Fall term, update the DL website and go live with new orientation.
Winter 2015 and beyond
  • Assess rollout, review content based.
  • Review success and persistence rates for students who completed the orientation.
  • Evaluate content for changes and potential phase 2-type improvements.

What’s next?

Watch for messages and visits from Distance Ed. over the summer and into fall for updates about the required DL orientation, including a new name for the orientation and more details on implementation

About Andy Freed

I'm the Manager of Technology and Support in the Distance Education department, where I oversee our infrastructure, technical support, and online student services group. I've been with the College since 2001 and have worked in several posit... more »


There are 2 comment for this article. If you see something that doesn't belong, please click the x and report it.

x by Peter Seaman 1 year ago

Hi Andy: You write, “Students who have already taken a DL course will automatically meet the DL prerequisite.” Does “DL course” mean a “DL course at PCC”? Or will a DL course at any institution of higher-ed qualify? Not sure how you’d track the latter. Thanks for the clarification. – Peter

x by Andy Freed 1 year ago

Peter: We’ll only waive the prerequisite for students who have taken a DL course at PCC. The orientation covers a lot of online resources unique to PCC.

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