Two Tidewater Community College programs aimed at accelerating degrees and credentials for military students and reducing the cost of mathematics textbooks received funding from the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund.

TCC and Rappahannock Community College are the lone Virginia community colleges to earn multiple awards from the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).

TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE) was awarded $25,708 to develop a pilot program related to how Virginia’s community colleges assign academic credit for military experience.

The Virginia Joint Center for Military Credit Evaluation will be a statewide repository to track credit awarded for specific military occupations and training courses. The project will establish consistent practices for reviewing and accepting military credit. Currently, credits awarded military students for the same previous training and experience may differ.

“This program aims to shorten military-related students’ time to certification, degrees and entering the workforce,” said Bruce Brunson, executive director of the CMVE. “Additionally, their Department of Defense or veterans education benefits will be left available to cover other courses and will hopefully reduce or remove any accrual of student debt.”

The second VCCS award of $13,000 will fund two workshops to train faculty on how to use MyOpenMath (MOM), an online learning management and homework management system that is based on Open Educational Resources (OER). OER reduces textbook and online homework access costs by using teaching and learning materials that are freely available online.

The staggering costs of textbooks and access codes in mathematics courses can be barriers to success for many community college students. Continuing the path started with TCC’s Z-degree, the nation’s first textbook-free degree, TCC will be able to reduce or eliminate the cost of required materials for students enrolled in mathematics courses.

The faculty workshops will be presented at TCC and at least four other Virginia community colleges. They will also be available online for all VCCS colleges to use for training faculty on how to use MOM.

Training will be ready to implement in the spring of 2016.

The Chancellor’s Innovation Fund is a competitive fund open to faculty and staff of VCCS colleges to fund targeted projects that closely align with the VCCS Strategic Plan and other system and college priorities.