CLEVELAND -- According to official enrollment figures, the number of students taking spring semester classes at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) is continuing to rise, and popularity growth in distance learning is among the reasons.

"It is projected that by the end of this year, our distance learning will account for approximately 8 percent of our full time equivalencies," said Tri-C President Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton.

Tri-C offered 199 spring classes via distance learning -- a total of 3,197 students enrolled and are taking a total of 4,707 classes via the five types of distance learning offered by the college.

Cable College allows students to participate in "live" classroom instruction from home, and tests are given at an assessment center. Independent Learning Courses let students complete assignments and communicate with their instructors on an independent basis using modules available at campus libraries.

Interactive Video students at one site see, hear and participate in instruction delivered from another site via closed circuit television -- this option allows a course at one campus to be delivered "live" to other campus locations. Telecourses are professional productions with on-location settings and interviews with experts. Students must watch the programs, assignments, attend on-campus seminars and take required exams.

Web-based Courses use an Internet website for course delivery and assignments, and e-mail and discussion forums are used for class interaction.

"Distance learning has grown dramatically over the past several years," said Doug Fox, Assistant Vice President of Telecommunications, Planning and Outreach. "In 1997, we had 5,662 enrollments in distance learning. We just passed the 10,000 mark and we're projecting that in two years we'll have about 14,000 enrollments annually."

The College also received two distance learning related grants from the Ohio Department of Education.