EAC Distance Learning Task Force Interim Report

Educational Advisory Council (EAC) Distance Learning Task Force

Interim Report – February 2010

Distance Learning at Portland Community College has steadily grown in the past several years. Approximately 18 percent of credit FTE is generated from distance learning classes and approximately 24 percent of credit students are taking at least one distance learning class. As a result of this continued growth, organizational capacity, processes, standards and practices are in need of revisiting. In preliminary discussions of some key issues, it became apparent that we would benefit from a college wide discussion of distance learning.


During Fall 2008, the Deans of Instruction and Educational Advisory Council (EAC) Leaders entertained a preliminary discussion of several issues related to Distance Learning.  A more in-depth consideration was undertaken by a subset of that group.  The goal was to systematically examine key issues and related standards/practices and to identify gaps in operations and/or effectiveness. 

A “gap analysis” was developed by this group and was shared with the Educational Advisory Council (see attachment).  One conclusion of the “gap analysis” work group was that distance learning has had a significant impact on our teaching culture.  Differences in philosophy, values, and principles have led to divergent practices that vary in effectiveness, and we would benefit from a college-wide discussion.

At its April 15, 2009 meeting, the EAC approved the creation of a task force with the charge of developing statements of mission, values and goals for distance learning that would guide distance learning standards and practices.  In addition, the task force was charged with preparing recommendations for next steps based upon the issues named in the gap analysis.

Educational Advisory Council Distance Learning Task Force:

The EAC Distance Learning Task Force first met in May 2009.  The task force has representatives from faculty, students, instructional management along with staff and management from distance learning and community education (see attachment). 

The Task Force’s first agenda item was to determine mission, values and goals for distance learning at PCC.  Once these areas were developed, they would be used as guiding principles to assist task force members as they addressed items identified in the gap analysis.  During Fall 2009, task force members held intense and rich conversations about mission, values, and goals which resulted in the following:

Interim Report - EAC DL Task Force – Page 2


The mission of distance learning is to broaden access to quality courses, certificates and/or degrees in order to serve the community and to advance and support PCC’s vision, mission and values.


The values held in high esteem that must all be weighed and balanced in the development of distance learning standards and practices are:

  • Student Success
  • Excellent Quality in Education
  • Creativity and Individuality
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Equity and Fairness
  • Professionalism, Expertise, and Leadership
  • Collective Responsibility


The goals of distance learning are to:

  • Promote student success
  • Broaden access to student resources and services
  • Maintain viable courses, certificates and degrees
  • Develop a culture of collective responsibility for distance learning
  • Provide excellent quality in education
  • Broaden access to quality courses, certificates and/or degrees

The Distance Learning task force is in the process of forming work groups to research the issues named in the gap analysis and those that have surfaced during the meetings of the task force.  The task force will make recommendations which reflect best practices and meet the mission, values and goals of distance learning.  We welcome your input as we continue to develop a document that will inform distance learning decision making.  Co-chairs of the task force will continue to make reports to the Educational Advisory Council and will continue to seek feedback from the college community.

Summary of the Gap Analysis
EAC Distance Learning Task Force Membership