CTN would like to welcome the ten ACC Distance Learning instructors with the Title V InFocus Project who have joined the Ascender program. Last year Austin Community College District (ACC) was awarded a national Department of Education (ED) grant to support the college’s work toward closing equity gaps and increasing student success. The grant — Distance Education in Focus: Improving Course Design and Strengthening Student Support (InFocus) — provided money to support work that will increase student persistence, retention, and success for Hispanic and other low-income students. 

InFocus will directly support students in one or more of the college’s 14 high-risk courses. These courses are required for a degree path, but historically, they’re completed by fewer than 70 percent of the students enrolled each semester. 

“Our research shows success levels of our students of color and low-income are disproportionately impacted. We will take a targeted and intensive approach for support of online students who might be struggling,” says Dr. Erasmus Addae, ACC associate vice president of Distance Education. “Our distance education is one of our most robust programs at ACC. (https://www.austincc.edu/news/2020/12/)

ACC is one of only 26 Texas schools classified as Hispanic-serving that offers online degree programs,” states Texas Online Colleges, who recently ranked them as a Top Hispanic-Serving Online college or university in Texas.

The ranking examined key metrics for academic excellence including: small student-to-faculty ratio; high number of online programs offered; high percentage of online students; high graduation rates’ high retention

Rates; high desirability—the relationship between the number of applicants of a school, those that got admitted, and of those, the number that enrolled, and academic influence—based on the number of scholarly contributions made by the institution’s faculty in their fields of study and how often they were cited by other scholarly works.

ACC also was recently recognized in two separate state and national lists for its online learning programs and continues to work toward improving its Distance Education (DE) programs, building off lessons learned during COVID-19

Texas Online Colleges is a site focused on online and hybrid educational opportunities in Texas. They index and analyze every online program offered by colleges and universities in the state to give prospective students the best source for finding an online degree in-state. For more information, visit TexasOnlineColleges.com.

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