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Higher Education
College of the Mainland
News Release
Friday, October 28, 2011

COM Hosts Virtual Open House

College of the Mainland, in association with National Distance Education Week, will host a Virtual Open House on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. COM faculty and staff will be online to answer questions from prospective students and provide information about the different courses available online at COM. The goal of the Virtual Open House is to allow students, who haven’t thought of taking online courses before, to ask questions to help them get connected to online learning.
“College of the Mainland is the first community college in the area to hold a virtual open house,” said Martha Willis, instructional technical trainer for distance education. “Distance Education courses are becoming very popular with students today because they can learn anywhere, anytime at their own leisure.” 
During the open house, prospective students will be able to chat online with instructors, and academic and financial aid advisors to learn about the admission process, financial aid, scholarships, and other areas.
COM offers both Internet and hybrid online courses. More than 4,600 students were enrolled in online courses through COM during the 2010-11 school year. COM had more than 70 instructors teaching online during the 2010-11 school year. “Students are turning to technology to take classes and COM strives to offer these students a variety of quality online courses,” said Janet Wortman, director of the Instructional Technology Center. All the core classes needed to transfer to a four-year institution are also offered online. 
“Taking classes online allows me to study at my own pace and gives me more free time and allows me to work more hours,” said COM student Brenda Vy, from Texas City. She said that an online open house would have answered some of her questions and allowed her to get acclimated faster to learning online. “Online courses require more discipline than a classroom atmosphere. You have to keep up with your studies and the deadlines for assignments,” said Vy. 
To attend the Virtual Open House go to There are a few steps to follow before the open house will begin.
During Distance Education Week there will also be an award ceremony, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 12:30 p.m. in the COM library. COM will honor four instructors who developed COM’s exemplary online courses. Those instructors are: Michele Betancourt, Government 2301; Candi Hollier, Psychology 2301; Selina Rahman, Business Management 1327; and Gary Wilson, History 1301. A course with exemplary ranking is superior in instructional design and its ability to engage students using the appropriate use of technology for all learning styles. Exemplary status is determined by a rigorous peer review process. “These faculty members have worked really hard to make these online courses work as well or better than in the classroom,” said Willis. An award for COM’s Online Instructor of the Year will also be announced at the event. Online students can nominate an instructor by visiting
National Distance Learning Week is a nationwide effort to promote the growth and accomplishments of distance learning. For more information on the virtual online open house, call 409-933-8698.

Remembering Jim Guidry

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