In a time of deeper and deeper cuts to education budgets, keeping community colleges afloat can prove challenging, but it’s a problem for which technology can provide one possible solution. The fiscal crisis has colleges experimenting with collaborative and virtual efforts to increase access to courses, as online education and mobile learning not only expands community colleges’ reaches, but also saves them money. Through one-time investments in equipment like telepresence endpoints, community colleges can set themselves up to offer increasingly desirable distance learning options for years to come. And, by embracing popular trends like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), community colleges can also configure their networks to support mass wireless connectivity and virtual access, mobilizing their academic offerings and making them more attractive to potential students.
Always interested in the unique ways telepresence is being used in education, I recently heard about one of Georgia’s technical colleges with six campus locations using telepresence in a unique way. With video communication, staff advisors and registration personnel work from one main location and use video to connect to students across the state to assist them with the often stressful registration process.
The college is a member of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), which is the agency responsible for Georgia’s technical colleges, adult literacy programs, and many economic and workforce development initiatives. As recently published in an interesting case study, the TCSG works to unify the education system across 25 technical colleges in Georgia, representing 100 campus locations and more than 170,000 students and 11,000 employees. The TCSG team wanted to provide a technology solution to streamline internal communications between administrative staff at each college. Its goal was to migrate campus infrastructure from the older Centrex architecture to a next-generation technology model, which would help enable the efficient provisioning of student and administrative services and increase opportunities for collaboration between campuses and colleges. Read More »
It’s one thing to use technology. It’s another to take that technology and do something extraordinary with it – especially when that involves something that benefits others. Each year, IDG’s Computerworld Honors Program recognizes organizations that use “visionary applications of information technology promoting positive social, economic and educational change.”
This year, one of those organizations happens to be Lone Star College System, a community college in Texas (naturally) that has integrated collaboration technology from Cisco to reach more students and improve the overall learning experience for an increasingly diverse student population.
They say everything’s bigger in Texas. Lone Star College serves more than 85,000 students at five campuses and ten learning centers in a service area of 1400 square miles. Oh, and the student population is growing by approximately 20% each year.
So what do you do if you’re the CIO at a school with the goal of becoming recognized as the best community college in the nation? You find the technology to meet your goals. Some of the highlights: Read More »
Rural communities are increasingly losing trained professionals to larger cities where up-to-date education & certification are more accessible. The Smart+Connected Community in Action video case study on Colorado Springs takes us to a smart+connected community in rural Colorado that is working with the bigger city of Denver to address this important issue.