From the Ashes of CAN Rises C-ID

February
2006
Mark Wade Lieu, Vice President

While the precipitous demise of the California Articulation Numbering (CAN) system in Spring 2005 caused panic in many circles, a new course numbering system is emerging like the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes that will take the best features of CAN and build on them to provide greater utility to the california community colleges and their students. this phoenix has been christened the course Identification system, or C-ID for short. The C-ID fills a void left by the dissolution of the CAN system, but it also fulfills other important goals for the community college system that were not addressed by CAN. C-ID, as the successor to CAN, fulfills the mandate of SB 1415 (2004), which requires the community colleges to "provide for the effective and efficient progression of students within and among the higher education segments and to minimize duplication of coursework." In addition, C-ID provides a mechanism for working with the CSU's Lower Division Transfer Pattern (LDTP) project and the UC's streamlining project.

The C-ID system will be grounded in the previous work of the CAN board, and, in particular, on CAN's recent plans to improve the processes for assigning identifiers to facilitate articulation of courses between the CCCs and universities. beginning with the existing repertoire of CANned courses, C-ID will employ the expanded descriptors developed through the Intersegmental Major Preparation Articulated Curriculum (IMPAC) project. Many IMPAC faculty have already moved beyond the existing CAN descriptors and have created new descriptors not just for courses but also for course sequences and major preparation patterns. Faculty Discipline Review Groups (FDRGs), which will include participation by CSU and uc faculty in addition to community college faculty, will be used to qualify courses for a C-ID number.

Although C-ID will build on the foundations of the former CAN system, creating a new system of course identification presents the opportunity to expand and improve upon the CAN system. Perhaps of greatest significance will be the chance to create a course numbering system that meets the particular needs of the California community colleges. While CAN provided a means to articulate courses between the cccs and csus, this process was not always smooth. With C-ID, one major change will be the assignment of identifiers not just to single courses but to major preparation patterns and a significant expansion in coverage of course sequences. This has long been requested by articulation officers, counselors, and transfer center directors as a means by which students could see whether courses meet specific requirements for major preparation. there are two additional distinctions between CAN and C-ID. First, while a CAN number indicated that a course was articulated, the initial C-ID numbers will not represent articulation but rather serve as an identifier that a course meets the criteria of the descriptor and can be considered comparable to other courses with the same C-ID number. Second, while CAN was developed for intersegmental transfer purposes, C-ID plans to include other courses including many technical preparation and other courses that may not be intended for transfer students.

Another component of C-ID will be the use of course identifiers within the community college system between colleges. such an effort, it is hoped, will enable more efficient movement of students between colleges as they seek to complete vocational or transfer goals. C-ID also plans to take advantage of advances in technology to facilitate course/course sequence/major preparation review and qualification for a C-ID number. C-ID will provide for online submission of courses for consideration and a website for use by faculty, counselors, articulation officers, transfer center directors, and our transfer partners.

Worthy of repeated emphasis is the planned involvement of both UC and CSU. UC pulled out of the CAN project early on, so the involvement of the UCs in this new project will be significant. the C-ID also plans for the involvement of the independent colleges and universities in the state, to which more and more of our students now transfer.

It was a shock when CAN folded so suddenly last spring, but what first seemed a terrible event has evolved into the opportunity to make a course identification system that will truly bring together all segments of higher education to better serve community college students throughout the state. We will keep you informed about the progress of this project through correspondence with local senates, President Walton's updates, and our website.

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