BEND, OR -- Orientation is underway this week at Central Oregon Community College; classes are set to start next Monday. The school expects 306 students to move in to Wickiup Hall on Thursday. That's 96% of the Bend residents hall's capacity.
COCC’s Alicia Moore says fall enrollment is up, "After the pandemic, we lost a lot of students nationally for community colleges, and we’re starting to see that rebound - not only across the country, but here in Central Oregon Community College. Right now, looking at next week’s enrollment, we’re up at least 10% over last year." In fact, the college reports the academic year will begin with 11.1% more credit-seeking students. The total count, including noncredit students, is up 21%. "Students who are transferring in with a lot of credits from another institution is an area in which we’re seeing our biggest growth, as well as students who’ve taken some time off and perhaps need to come back for some retraining," says Moore.
Teachers are getting ready. Moore says staff training this week includes how to improve online learning, "Since that’s a new tool for many of our students, especially our adult returning students. They’re also spending quite a bit of time talking about how artificial intelligence tools, such as Chat GPT, can really be a learning tool, instead of being afraid of it as a way for students to cut corners in their learning." She adds, "Really incorporating that into the classroom to make it a more engaging experience for our students." Moore tells KBND News, "It is a great tool, and more and more colleges and universities are starting to discover how we can use that as a way to really help students explore their learning far beyond what we might’ve been able to do in a more traditional environment."
COCC offers two new certificates this year, after successful pilot programs: one in community health work and the other for graphic design.