Online Learning Student Success Rate Increases by Three Percent in One Year!

Thanks to all of the hard work by the entire Distance and Online Education Program Team, success rates for online courses increased by almost 3% since fall 2010. This is the largest success rate increase for any instructional method.  Success is defined by a student earning a grade of A, B, C, or Credit/Pass.

There has also been a steady increase in the number of students taking online courses throughout the last ten years. In fall 2001, 1,858 students were enrolled in online courses; this number has grown to 11,704 students in Fall 2011.

College Efforts Leading to Increased Student Success in Online Classes

How to Succeed in Online Classes WorkshopsIn Fall 2011, the program initiated a grant-funded pilot program that included a series of four-hour workshops.  Professors Claire Cesareo-Silva, Christina Smith, Elizabeth Horan, and Christina Nigrelli facilitated these workshops. In Fall 2011, there were three workshops with a total of 32 students in attendance.  In Spring 2012, they doubled the offerings to six workshops and nearly quadrupled their attendance to 123 students!

Reconfigured Center for Instructional Design and Distance Education (CIDDE) to be more conductive to faculty training.

Student Technical Support Taskforce:  In Fall 2011, a Taskforce on Student Technical Support was formed that included campus and district faculty, staff, and administrators.  In a year the task force has

  • Revitalized the Student Technical Support Website
  • Created information cards
  • Established a technical help email address (
  • Worked closely with the district to update MySite
  • Developed and implemented new associate faculty orientations in CIDDE
  • Strengthened student support in the Information Booth, Village 4 computer lab, and the IMC Lab
  • Created new student tutorials that will be launched this summer

Thank you to the Dean of Online Education and Learning Resources, Dr. Patti Flanigan, and her entire support team for helping our students succeed! Special thanks to those who supported this effort: Jane Rosenkrans, Leslie Humphrey, and Craig Connor for their support and input on the taskforce, Claire Cesareo-Silva, Christina Smith, Christina Nigrelli, and Elizabeth Horan for their efforts on the workshops, Jenny Langrell for her support as the DE faculty coordinator, Valerie Senior, Vivian Nguyen, and Thomas McKenzie for their role in faculty training in CIDDE, Dr. Don Buschè for his support on reconfiguring CIDDE, and Matt Miller for his work on the student tutorials.

Saddleback Student Wins Outstanding Abstract Award at Statewide Honors Conference

Learon Inbar speaks to the plenary about her research

At the Honors Transfer Council of California’s (HTCC) annual statewide conference, Saddleback College student Learon Inbar was named as one of four winners of the Outstanding Abstract Award and took home a  $500 scholarship prize. Learon is in her second year at Saddleback and is studying a mix of art and theater, with an ultimate goal of becoming a theater costume and set designer. She is hoping to transfer to UCLA or Berkeley in the fall and, eventually, attend graduate school so she can teach and conduct research, in addition to theater work.

The HTTC conference took place at UCI on March 31 and involved students from member schools who were chosen by the council to present research in their field of choice. Learon presented the 400-word abstract and the results of her research to the council during the conference.

“I had taken the Honors Humanities 10A class with Professor Chattopadhyay and Professor Rosenberg, and that particular semester we had focused on the art and intellectual development of the Middle Ages in Europe; this led to my chosen time period for my research,” Learon said about her paper’s inspiration. She wrote about what textiles meant for people in the Middle Ages and found interesting connections between levels of power and a person’s evidence of wealth.

Two more students, Jonathan Fisher and Austin Burrow, were also honored as Exemplary Achievement scholarship winners at the event. Congratulations to all of our award-winning honors students!

Two of our students, Jonathan Fisher and Austin Burrow, are among these Exemplary Achievement scholarship winners

The Saddleback College Honors Program is an interdisciplinary effort to develop exceptional talent, ability, and scholarship in highly motivated students. It is not a club, service organization, or even a recognition of past academic achievement. It is, rather, a path to further and higher achievements. Any Saddleback College student may enroll in any Honors class. No special permission is required. If you would like more information about the Honors Program, visit

Student Donates Award Winnings to the Emeritus Institute

Emeritus Director Sandra Marzilli, Elizabeth Busick and President Tod Burnett

Emeritus Institute student Elizabeth Busick took the money she received when she was named a winner of the California Senior Leaders Award from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health and put it right back into education – she donated it to the Saddleback College Emeritus Institute.

Earning the award was a real honor for Ms. Busick, who was one of 30 seniors selected among nominees throughout the state.  The award has earned her a spot on the California Senior Leaders Alliance for the next two years, in addition to $500, which was to be put toward a non-profit program of her choice.  We are glad and thankful that Ms. Busick chose to donate the funds to the Emeritus Institute.

Ms. Busick, a resident of Mission Viejo and a Saddleback College student for 38 years, believes strongly in the importance of the Emeritus Institute and the difference it has made in the lives of so many seniors.  She said, “I am a strong advocate of life-long learning.  That’s part of the reason I chose to give the Emeritus Institute the $500 I won from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. The classes the Emeritus Institute offers help seniors remain active, alert and independent and function as vital members of their community rather than dependents of their families or the State of California. These classes…are vital to keeping seniors mentally and physically fit. I can attest to their validity having taken a variety of the stimulating classes.”

She’s not exaggerating when she says she has taken a variety of classes.  Just some of the classes Elizabeth has completed include Pilates Conditioning, Birds of the World, Intro to Opera, Beginning Digital Photography, and Intro to Philosophy. She looks forward to taking Tai Chi, Aquatic Fitness,  and Jewelry Metal Fabrication in the near future.

Saddleback College thanks Ms. Busick for her generous gift, which will help other seniors gain valuable experiences in the Emeritus Institute!