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TOPP To Go! is one facet of Kapiʻolani CC’s national award.

Kapiʻolani Community College has won another national award for online education. The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) Strategic Innovation in Online Education Award often celebrates one specific innovative program at a higher education institution, but Kapiʻolani CC’s online education programs and classes are now supported by a complex network of interconnected initiatives and projects. The 2022 award recognizes and celebrates that these interwoven initiatives are responsible for the high quality of the online education provided by the college.

Professional development

A focus on professional development has served as a cornerstone for the campus’ network of innovations. These include Kapiʻolani CC’s nationally recognized TOPP (Teaching Online Prep Program), TOPP To Go!, Kapiʻolani Summer Camp, the Fundamentals of Digital Accessibility training and SPOTLIGHT. The programs have provided professional development for online teachers at Kapiʻolani CC and across the University of HawaiʻiSystem.

Professional development has been flourishing with 184 faculty from seven campuses trained by TOPP, for which Kapiʻolani CC received the UPCEA award in 2020, and 517 employees from all 10 UH campuses who participated in TOPP To Go!

Supporting students

Kapiʻolani CC is also among the first of the UH campuses to join the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, allowing students from other states and U.S. territories to take online classes at the college. To support online students, SŌL: Success for Online Learners, an online readiness module, can be embedded into online classes. A new orientation for fully online learners also helps to ensure that students will get the most out of their online learning experiences.

“I applaud the faculty and staff of the Distance Education Team for their hard work,” said Chancellor Louise Pagotto. “Since 2017, their collective efforts to advance distance education at Kapiʻolani through multifaceted professional development opportunities and infrastructure initiatives have resulted in a high quality, rigorous and engaging online learning environment for our students.”

Looking forward

Anticipating changes to the accreditor’s requirements for distance education (DE) that will be implemented in July 2022, the campus developed and instituted a Kapiʻolani CC definition of Regular and Substantive Interaction. With the committed efforts of more than 25 faculty members, the campus also initiated a DE Class Coaching Program that both ensures that all its online classes comply with federal and Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges standards and provides an opportunity for online teachers to engage in meaningful pedagogical discussions with their peers.

Due to the efforts of committed staff, faculty and administrators, 19 complete online degree and certificate pathways have been opened and are in the process of being incorporated into campus structures. And the monthly Kapiʻolani CC DE Newsletter, with an email distribution of more than 850, seeks to keep all online educators, at the campus and beyond connected with relevant DE information and updates.

Most importantly, the campus uses all these initiatives as opportunities to build, strengthen and nurture a mutually supportive community of online educators and learners, recognizing that all of its online educators and students are motivated, innovative and committed.

By Leigh Dooley, professor and distance education coordinator

faces on screens
Top row from left, Kara Plamann Wagoner, Jamie Sickel, Youxin Zhang, Nadine Wolff. Middle row from left, Helen Torigoe, Kawehi Sellers, Leigh Dooley, Kelli Nakamura and bottom row from left, Kristie Malterre, Man Beryl Yang, Melissa Nakamura, ʻIwalani Koide.
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