Identify and Remove Barriers to Offering Noncredit Distance Education Courses

Resolution Number
Assigned to
Consultation with the California Community College Chancellor's Office
Status Report

Assigned to 5C and Leg and Advocacy. August 2020: With the COVID-19 pandemic and instruction moving to almost fully online, changes are being made to the funding for noncredit courses offered via DE. The 2020-21 LAC Committee will follow up. Temporary changes were made due to the COVID-19 pandemic:…. Regulation changes are being considered in 5C.

Whereas, There is increased interest in expanding noncredit course offerings as a means to provide students who are not college-ready with pathways into college programs of study that lead to transfer and/or employment;

Whereas, A recent survey conducted by the San Diego Continuing Education Office of Institutional Effectiveness on noncredit offerings in the California community colleges revealed that while 104 colleges offer distance education courses (credit or noncredit), only 29 of those institutions offer noncredit instruction via distance education,[1] signifying a significant and inequitable difference in access to distance education opportunities for credit and noncredit student populations;

Whereas, The required method for calculating weekly student contact hours (WSCH) for noncredit distance education courses stated in Title 5 §58003.1(f),[2] which includes accounting for the total hours of outside-of-class work and instructor contact in addition to the total hours of instruction, is confusing because outside-of-class-work is not a required element of noncredit course outlines of record per Title 5 §55002(c)[3] and instructor contact is typically not quantified by curriculum committees separately from the total hours of instruction required by Title 5 §55002(c);

Whereas, The method for calculating WSCH for noncredit distance education courses in Title 5 §58003.1(f) may not be well understood and thus may be regarded as a fiscal disincentive to offering distance education noncredit courses, thus creating barriers to access to students who may benefit from such educational opportunities that could provide a pathway to transfer and/or employment;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges work with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and other system partners to identify and eliminate regulatory and fiscal barriers to offering noncredit courses via distance education.


[1] The survey methodology and results are described in the report The Past, Present and Future of Noncredit Education in California (San Diego Continuing Education, November 2016). The report also notes that according to the survey results, 81 colleges offer noncredit instruction. The report is available at