Aiken Technical College Recognized Among ‘Best Online Community Colleges’ in South Carolina

Staff Report

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

Aiken Technical College was recently named among the top two-year colleges in South Carolina in the 2020 Best Online Community College Rankings list by Optimal’s Guide to Online Schools.

The College is ranked No. 4 on the list, an honor that comes as the College prepares for its fall semester, which will include many online and hybrid course offerings as well as online and in-person support services for students. Currently, the College’s Enrollment Services Center, Student Success Center, and Testing Center are open for both in-person and remote service delivery.

“We are excited to receive this recognition and I believe it demonstrates that our faculty and staff are dedicated to providing a quality education, regardless of mode of delivery,” said ATC President Dr. Forest Mahan. “Now, more than ever, colleges must adapt to new norms, including being innovative in the way we deliver education. Our College is well-prepared and has been a leader in this area.”

To be considered for this list, community and technical colleges must be regionally accredited and offer at least one fully online associate degree. The Colleges were then ranked based on data such as graduate and retention rates, online enrollment, and available online degrees and courses.

ATC currently offers its Associate in Arts degree completely online. Additionally, the College has offered a number of courses through online delivery for several years.

The number of online courses has been expanded for the upcoming fall semester as a safety precaution due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, students can expect to receive the same quality education that they would receive in a face-to-face course.

Faculty participate in trainings to learn best practices and how to include valuable learning experiences in online courses through interactive activities.  This training includes using technology such as Blackboard, a learning management system; Blackboard Collaborate, an instructional tool that allows students and instructors to interact virtually in real-time; and YuJa, a lecture capture system that provides access to videos within Blackboard.

Another key to student success in online classes is the availability of support services such as tutoring and coaching. Those services are provided through the Student Success Center and are offered remotely and face-to-face for student convenience.

“Our student support services are available to students for free. Services such as tutoring and coaching help address obstacles students may be facing in being successful—whether academic or personal,” said Dr. S. Vinson Burdette, ATC Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “By offering support on-campus and remotely, we can serve students where they are most comfortable.” 

The College has implemented the guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control in response to COVID-19.

Enrollment is open now for the fall semester. Fall terms 1 and 2 start Monday, August 17.  Fall Term 3 starts Tuesday, October 6. For more information about enrolling for fall or available courses, visit www.atc.edu.