Growing through the pandemic
The results of NETC’s innovative initiatives in HR, academic affairs, and OER adoption have already led to spectacular results: a 4.4% increase in enrollment and a 5.2% increase in student persistence during 2020. With just over 2,000 students, the college saw nearly half a million logins to its D2L Brightspace platform—demonstrating the huge success of its online learning strategy.
“During the pandemic, we were the only college in South Carolina that actually grew our population for the fall and spring semesters. We’re so proud of that, and we attribute much of our success to using D2L Brightspace to keep our students engaged.” —Dr. Edwin Delgado, VP for academic affairs
Christi Meggs agrees: “In that first year of using D2L Brightspace to monitor our KPIs, we hit both our target and our stretch goal for enrollment, and our retention rates.”
Moreover, by driving the adoption of OERs, NETC has cut the average cost of textbooks by 77%, a savings of around $1,000 per student per semester. Ron Stafford, NETC’s head librarian, has an even more ambitious goal of cutting that cost to zero by making every course adopt OERs over the coming semesters. As Derk Riechers puts it: “Our focus here is on education and providing resources, not selling expensive textbooks. Our mission is to educate our students, not make a profit from them.”
Looking to the future, Dr. Wagner concludes: “Now that we’re looking beyond the pandemic, students are seeing the value of having better skill sets and being able to go back to work after COVID-19. We want to help them start that learning adventure so that they can get better, higher-paid, more fulfilling jobs, and really make their mark in the world.”