Navigating unchartered wires: From “brick” to “brick -and -click”. The transition of Foothill Community College

Aimee Erin Suzanne Tabor, University of Pennsylvania


In 1994 a professor at a Silicon Valley community college decided that technology had advanced to such a point that he should be able to begin teaching online. Later that summer, Professor Michael Loceff approached the college's new president, Bernadine Chuck-Fong, with his idea. Undeterred by the risks involved with becoming the first community college in California to teach a for-credit email-based class, she approved his idea and supported it with all the means she had. By the fall of 1995, Foothill Community College had three classes online. In 1996, led by Professor Loceff, the college began building a learning management system and, in 1998, ETUDES, the learning management system, was functional and in use at the college. Since then the college has undertaken many endeavors, such as attempts at partnering with the Navy and NASA and beginning the ETUDES 2 Project. Through interviews and college documents, this qualitative study attempts to understand how Foothill College moved from a traditional four-walled college to one where the traditional still stands, yet a growing student population is virtual. Specifically, this study seeks to understand: who were the change agents; how did their actions affect their colleagues; how was organizational change on such a scale achieved; what can other higher education institutions learn from the Foothill College experience? Today, much of the initial buzz over online learning has faded. For Foothill, the reasons behind the move to online learning were a complex mixture of leadership insight, institutional knowledge, geographical location, space constraints, and timing. These are obviously not transferable to another institution but within the Foothill Community College story there are certain principles that other institutions might find helpful.

Subject Area

Community colleges|Educational software|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Tabor, Aimee Erin Suzanne, "Navigating unchartered wires: From “brick” to “brick -and -click”. The transition of Foothill Community College" (2004). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3137317.