Cohort Model Program At CCU

Colorado Christian University, with seven locations throughout Colorado, offers what is called a “Cohort Model” of learning for CCU’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies students. Under the cohort model, you join a group of students and take classes, study and complete class assignments and work as a team throughout your degree program.  The courses for your degree of study are offered one at a time in a pre-determined sequence until full completion.

The cohort model of learning offers an intellectually stimulating learning atmosphere and creates a sense of community amongst members of the cohort. Research has even indicated that students who were part of a cohort model of learning experienced higher graduation rates, felt a greater sense of community with the peers in their cohort group, and due to the structured natures of the courses, cohort student seem better able to plan their degree program of study.

The Christian tradition has long been a fan of the cohort program of learning; the New Testament gives examples of believers who gathered in communal settings to study scripture and for create a feeling of fellowship. The Book of Acts and the Book of Hebrews both encouraged the spirit of collaboration amongst fellow man. Imagine how wonderful it would be to feel you were earning your degree right alongside others who had similar goals, dreams and lifestyles as you? You would never feel “alone,” and you would almost always have access to other people in your degree program to share ideas with, get help with difficult subjects and create and atmosphere of trust and togetherness.

Though we have touched upon many of these briefly, let’s take a look at the benefits of the cohort experience at CCU:

  • Strong sense of community/togetherness
  • Exposure to a variety of perspectives
  • Increased graduation rates
  • Spiritual growth
  • Participation in a personal and professional network
  • Guarantee of coursework–With the CCU cohort model, you’re ensured a well-rounded education because there’s a structured plan for your classes. You will always know that the next class in the sequence necessary will always be open to you. That will give you peace of mind to focus on your studies.

The cohort experience begins at varying times at CCU, usually dependent upon your degree program. As an adult undergrad, your cohort would begin after all of your general education and elective credits have been fulfilled. Cohort programs begin when you start your “core course” curriculum, like the 300 and 400 level classes at CCU.

Graduate students and nursing degree or education degree students will begin their cohort group at the very beginning of their program.

The great news is that the cohort experience is even available for online classes! When taken one at a time, cohort classes usually run five weeks for undergrads and seven weeks for grad students. If, for some reason, you must miss a number of classes, you will most likely have to rejoin another cohort group at a later time.

 

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  1. Brent says:

    One of the great advantages of the program that CCU offers is the cohort model. The faith-based teaching and fellowship are an integral part of the education process and enhance the traditional classwork. I believe that introspection and honesty in the class setting can be effectively accomplished by having an environment that feels both open and safe to the students. The cohort model achieves this goal by grouping fellow students together and giving them time to develop the relationships required for the desired honest discourse.

    As on online student, the cohort model is a great blessing. I will probably never physically interact with my fellow classmates, so it is comforting to recognize a standard group of names as we pursue our degrees through this online curriculum. Though I am not close to graduation yet, I have heard stories of great friendships made through these cohorts and the joy and excitement that come with meeting people for the first time at graduation after interacting over the years through online classes. I look forward to living out these experiences myself.

  2. Pemila says:

    In this response, we will discuss the positive and negative implications of CCU’s Cohort Model Program for degree based adult graduate learning. There is a significant growth of socio-technological system (STS) learning opportunities in our society, and CCU should give students the opportunity to use it to it’s maximum potential.

    Organizational managers who advocate socio-technical systems seek to create enabling constructs using information systems to accelerate communication, learning, and knowledge sharing (Aldridge, 2004). CCU has promoted e-learning as an opportunity for students to accelerate communication and knowledge sharing in their own time. This allows busy working adults to study around their busy schedule, rather than be required to be present for class at a certain time. It has also given the opportunity for a variety of people around the world with different backgrounds to collaborate and share their expertise through learning together. The diversity of students in an online class is significantly higher than the students who are sitting in the in-seat class at CCU. The e-learning opportunity at CCU is a good example of socio-technological implementation for collaborative individual and group learning.

    Many organizations are enabling a good fit between technology and human systems. STS is applied at the primary group and organizational level. Participants are now able to participate in structured and non-structure learning environments. In enforcing the cohort model, CCU has reduced the overemphasis on the technologies that drive the learning process, and through regulation, give the individual more responsibility for their learning and degree progression.

    However, the cohort model has also significantly increased the regulated learning environment for adults in graduate studies. Regulated e-learning resembles that of an online classroom, and learning is hierarchal and highly transformational (Aldridge, 2004). With the strict enforcement of the cohort model, the organizational manager’s enforcement of regulated learning is much more evident, and thus decreases the personalized learning opportunity that e-learning could have provided.

    Some adults elect to take a career break and attend a full-time MBA program at a University that holds classes five days a week. However, many adults enjoy the flexibility of CCU’s online learning environment where they can study around their busy work schedule. Some adults also enjoy CCU’s in-seat classes where they can attend class one evening per week and continue their day-time work. With the STS opportunities available, both these options have become a great platform for flexible learning and student collaboration and growth outside of a conventional classroom and strictly set hours.

    Some students want to combine both the benefits of in-seat classes and online learning. For some more challenging classes, they like to have the opportunity to discuss problems face-to-face and work together in groups. However, during seasons with busier schedules involving business travel, missions trips, or family vacations over the summer, they want to move to online classes temporarily. Online learning with STS in our society today provides the opportunities for students to collaborate with students all around the world and gain exposure and expertise that would not be found in a small in-seat classroom in one given city in Colorado, where the background and demographics of the students are relatively more similar.

    Adult students are all individuals and learn at different paces. Some students are stay at home parents and want to accelerate their degrees. Some students are busy business people who travel frequently during the certain seasons of the year. Students who want to have the benefits of in-seat classes and work together in teams face-to-face should still be allowed the opportunity to take advantage of the great STS systems that are offered as online classes. The current cohort model at CCU does not allow adult graduate students the flexibility to take in-seat classes at the same time as online classes, nor do they allow adults to take in-seat classes for eight months of the year, and online classes for their busy travel months. This cohort model is too regulative in this aspect. Adults who desire to have flexible learning opportunities by having some in-seat learning together with online collaboration should be allowed to do that.

    It is normal for an adult with a job and family to travel on business, or missions trip, or family vacation at least once a year. As soon as they miss one or more classes in the in-seat section, they will fail the class and miss their cohort progression. If however, they were allowed to take advantage of STS learning, they would be able to work around their own schedule and optimize their learning through in-seat and online learning.

    Another important note is that once a student misses their cohort progression, they are most likely not allowed to rejoin, and are required to wait for another cohort. Students are not allowed to accelerate learning, and students with the required pre-requisites are not allowed to join a class part way through a cohort if they did not start with them at the beginning. As a result of these strict rules, cohort sizes are only decreasing in size. When a cohort decreases to a certain number, the entire cohort in-seat class is forced to move to online learning for the rest of their degree. In this scenario, the class size of that particular cohort will never be large enough to re-start in-seat learning. This disrupts the learning of students who wanted to take an in-seat class. If students were allowed to take the occasional online class to supplement their individual schedules and then re-join their cohort once again, and if students who had the required pre-requisites were allowed to join a cohort class part-way through the year, this would not be a problem. This is a example of over regulation of individualized adult learning program, and is more suitable at the undergraduate program or full-time (five day a week) program, but not for adults who are working full-time and are looking for a flexible graduate program.

    Overall, I believe that the cohort model has great benefits for students who decide to take a career break and work towards a degree in a classroom setting. However, CCU’s adult graduate studies program is tailored towards working adults, and therefore the cohort model as it is currently enforced is too strict, and does not allow for optimization of STS online learning.

    Reference

    Aldridge, J. W. (2004). Information on Socio-technical Systems. Retrieved from: http://www.argospress.com/Resources/team-building/socitechnisistem.htm

  3. Eric R. says:

    It is surprising that the online program at CCU was a footnote to the blog on the cohort model. The online program allows a much wider audience to take advantage of the reasons we attend CCU; better integrate faith in our daily lives, become better Christian leaders, and a faith-based education. The online program extends these benefits to people impaired by scheduling and/or distance. The online cohort model is also a great example of a socio-technical system. We depend on technology for our interaction and the completion of tasks.

    The online cohort is very different from an “in seat” class. Normal interaction is done on and around campus. In the cohort model, we introduced ourselves by posting a biography in a discussion thread. Discussions are done through posting and responding on different topics. Conversations are done via e-mail or chat. We submit assignments in a virtual dropbox. Traditional students meet for coffee to discuss things, we have a cyber café where we can ask questions and post our thoughts.

    The online model can be challenging at times – it is often easier to gain understanding or clear up a misperception on the phone or in person. There is reliance on the technology to resolve issues. These challenges also create a greater dependence on the other cohort members. The collective is responsible to support and help all the members succeed. The benefits of the cohort model noted above are stronger in the online world. With the utilization of technology, these benefits need to be maximized for us to be successful.

  4. William Rosselot says:

    The cohort model is a good example of the socio-technical system. It allows students too virtually speak and learn from anyone across the planet. Having it here at CCU has made it easier to find a program online due to work schedules or other interferences that people might have. Many students looking for a master’s program do not have the luxury of spending time on campus, so having a cohort-model make perfect sense. Since we live in a world of technology, this makes it easier to have distant learning abilities and not being trapped to find a degree that is not right for you. This cohort model also teaches the foundation of living and succeeding through fellowship using our own knowledge as well as the principles of the Bible.

    The online program is different than the average in class or on campus because it relies on emailing back and forth, talking with other students and professors through the discussion forum, and doing web based research. The knowledge that comes forth from such a program is worth wild. It not only focuses one on how to study, it creates a new generation of tools that are carried through the program and used in the job market.

    In order to be successful with the online model, students need to realize that in our technological world; sometimes there might be glitches in the system. Unable to meet face to face with other students or faulty can be quite a challenge hence the STS model is there for that purpose. Not having an answer given real quickly is a challenge that must be overcome by other members in the online class setting. Helping one another through difficult time is the excitement that takes place here. Through faithful learning and good stewardship, all will succeed in this cohort model.

  5. Stephanie S. says:

    The Colorado Christian University online cohort is an excellent example of a socio-technical system. It combines the use of technology with the interaction of students and professors to complete tasks for each class. The online program is different from the traditional students program with the sole use of the Internet to accomplish courses. The Internet allows for shared knowledge and information.

    The cohort online system is an excellent form of communication among students to interact and converse throughout the program. This type of communication increases cohesiveness, camaraderie, and positive outlook for students. The goal of all students in the online program at CCU is to succeed; the cohort model reinforces collaboration and support.

    The CCU cohort is positively affected by the religious nature of the program and the students’ faith in God. The students are greatly impacted by God being a part of the journey. Matthew 18:20 states by God “For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.”

  6. Penny Music says:

    I have experienced the cohort both online and in class sessions at a local college. It is interesting to note that I think if I had to do it all over again that I would prefer in class. The level of cohesiveness/togetherness online doesn’t seem to be existent. And I was rather surprised to see or perhaps more confused that each class had new people in it, in the previous in class sessions they were the same group each time which initiated a more community atmosphere. As a full time working mother I do however recommend the cohort as a structured learning experience. I for one need that structure and gain great insight by reading peer’s posts. As a means to finally finish my degree I like the feel of the cohort model. At CCU the spiritual aspect seems to have a calming affect and allows for not only educational growth in the class topic but also at a spiritual level in real world experience. There are definitely more positives about the cohort model than negatives from my view point. I have experienced having to change from in class to online to accommodate scheduling conflicts and that did mess up the original cohort I was in. So experiencing both good and bad aspects I would still recommend the cohort experience.

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