Online Classes Are For Students On the Move

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Gloria Chavez and Hirokazu Kishinami at the Computer Image

Gloria Chavez and Hirokazu Kishinami show the dashboard page in the Canvas portal of WebCollege.

Students taking online courses at Truckee Meadows Community College say that web-based classes give them opportunities to be on the go, balance school and work, and to travel while they study.

Another benefit is that many online courses are also offered as late-starting classes, and begin as late as the end of March in Spring Semester.

“First off, it’s easier because you can move at your own pace and work on the class at various times of the week, instead of specific set class periods—there are still set assignment due dates, but you can do an assignment all in one day or spread it out,” said Gloria Chavez, who is working on her Associate of Arts Degree.

Chavez is in her second year at TMCC and is planning to transfer to a four-year university. She is also secretary for this year’s Student Government Association (SGA). With her classes and paid officer position in SGA, she is on the go and considers herself mobile.

“It’s also good because you can work on it anywhere you have a computer; if you’re at home, at school, out and about, or anywhere you have access to a computer, you can do coursework when needed,” she said.

Another student working on an Associate of Arts Degree, and fellow SGA member, Hirokazu Kishinami agrees. He is SGA's senator-at-large this academic year. During Winter Session, he was very mobile, across the Pacific Ocean mobile in fact.

“In Winter Session, I went to Japan and could still take a class—it was a good opportunity to save time, because I had the time then to take a class,” he said. “I didn’t have to go up to an in-person class on campus.”

Kishinami also enjoyed the course.

“It was Sociology 101, an interesting class—the professor explained by taking a movie of herself explaining what the chapter in the textbook was about and how to do the assignments,” he said.

He added that students should check with their professors before leaving the region, though, because some require an in-person meeting to start, or to take class quizzes at TMCC's Testing Services.

“It’s good to make sure the dates you have for travel are available,” he said.

Quality Matters in Distance Education

Online courses may be referred to as Distance Education (DE). Courses that combine in-classroom sessions with online work are called “hybrid” classes.

Quality Matters (QM) is a nonprofit organization that provides a peer-review process to promote and recognize excellence in online courses. Numerous TMCC faculty have gained QM certification for their courses.

“The QM recognition process is a rigorous one, proving instructors have huge commitments to designing and delivering effective online courses,” said Brandy Scarnati, Program Director for WebCollege.

Many online courses at TMCC are now Quality Matters approved, including the following:

  • ART 100: Visual Foundations
  • BUS 117: Applied Business Math, and BUS 150: Personal Finance
  • ENG 98: Preparatory Composition
  • ENG 101: Composition I, and ENG 102: Composition II
  • EPY 101: Ed, Career and Personal Development
  • HIST 101: U.S. History, and HIST 217: Nevada History
  • IS 101: Introduction to Information Systems
  • MUS 121: Music Appreciation
  • MATH 182: Calculus II
  • NURS 212: Cultural Aspects of Nursing
  • PSC 101: Introduction to Political Science
  • PSC 231: Intro to International Relations
  • SPAN 111 and 112: First Year Spanish I and II
  • SPAN 211 and 212: Second Year Spanish I and II

“I’d like to thank our Retention Specialist, Tamara Anderson, and all of our instructors who have completed Quality Matters certification, and who also attend professional development training to enhance their online teaching,” Scarnati said.

For more information about WebCollege, call 775-673-7814. To find a late-starting online course for which to register, go to (online courses are indicated in the details section of the class schedule under "class type".)