CULVER CITY — West Los Angeles College has been honored for its online presence by making two best lists: No. 15 in the United States on the 2020 Top Online Community Colleges list published by CollegeConsesus.com; and No. 13 on the 2020 Best Online Community Colleges in California list published by Optimal.com Guide to Online Schools.
“Experience providing college instruction online is particularly important right now,” said college President James M. Limbaugh. “So, we are especially pleased to be included on a list of best online degree programs in the nation.”
On the California Finish Faster Portal, West L.A. is one of the most searched for community colleges by California State University and University of California students. The portal allows students to easily locate university-transferrable classes offered online at California’s community colleges.
“The Distance Education Program gave me the freedom to receive my degree and transfer without having to be on campus,” said Ashlee Jerro, a working mom who completed the first half of her bachelor’s degree online through West L.A. College. “The staff is incredible and was willing to help with any problem I had. The courses are well laid out and the instructors are supportive.”
Jerro then transferred to a California State University campus to complete her degree in child development. She will be starting a full-time job with the Los Angeles Unified School District.
For Hannah Tribolet with LA Models, the West L.A. College online program gave her the flexibility to travel around the country and abroad while still pursuing a college degree.
“I’m in an industry where you are looked at for how you look, so to be in school and have a backup is very important to me.”
West L.A. College has been a leader in delivering online education for more than 20 years, which was very helpful in converting all of the in-person classes to a remote format when the campus closed in March due to the COVID-19 crisis, said Aracely Aguiar, vice president of academic affairs. The Distance Learning team not only provided training to West L.A. College faculty who needed it, they also trained faculty from the other eight campuses in the Los Angeles Community College District.
Eric Ichon, dean of Distance Learning, helped establish the online program at West L.A. College when very few community colleges saw merit in doing so.
“Today there are many more online options for college students, particularly through private schools,” Ichon said. “However, the advantage at West L.A. is not only our experience but the low tuition. We have out-of-state students who pay less to attend West L.A. than they would at a campus in their home state.
“University students appreciate being able to complete general education classes at a savings and high school students can complete college requirements for zero tuition.
“Students also appreciate that West L.A. is an actual campus where they can visit and, under normal circumstances, opt to take in-person classes.”
Even prior to the safer-at-home orders, West L.A. College offered dozens of degrees and certificates that can be completed online including business, accounting, liberal arts and computer science as well as courses that meet university general education requirements and career development.
Students who are anxious about the virtual classroom experience can enroll in a three-week “Student Success in Hybrid and Online” seminar class addressing how to succeed online.
With the exception of a few health sciences classes, all courses at West L.A. College will continue to be offered remotely and online in the summer and fall sessions.
Plans are being developed to reopen some or all in-person classes and services in spring 2021 in accordance with the most current government guidelines and regulations.
“I am proud of our talented team of faculty, staff and administrators who converted hundreds of classes to remote and online format in just 10 days,” Limbaugh said. “This shows their commitment to serving our students, many of whom come from communities hardest hit by the health and economic impacts of the quarantine.”
“I am proud of our talented team of faculty, staff and administrators who converted hundreds of classes to remote and online format in just 10 days.”
— West L.A. College President James Limbaugh
Wave Staff Report