Comprehensive Standard 3.4.12

 

The institution’s use of technology enhances student learning and is appropriate for meeting the objectives of its programs. Students have access to and training in the use of technology. (Technology Use)

 

COMPLIANCE

 

Narrative:

 

Vernon College enhances student learning through the use of technology, meeting objectives of its programs, and ensuring that students and faculty have access to and training in the use of technology. The College’s Strategic Plan, College Priorities, Directive Goals, and the Annual Plan all have many elements and objectives that focus on the use and importance of technology in today’s world as the College works toward improving the quality of life for the students and for the area communities.

 

The College is committed to technology as evidenced through its mission, through its technology plan, through its curriculum offerings, and through its General Education Core Curriculum Requirements.

 

Based on the College mission, Vernon College is committed to preparing graduates who are confident and competent in their use of technology. As the College Mission implies, the institution strives to align its education programs with the needs of service area employees who have an expectation that graduates will have been exposed to general technology such as basic computer use as well as curriculum-specific technology. The College complies with this mission through its distance education program, information technology curriculums, use of technology in the classroom, library database services, classroom media technology, open computer labs, academic courses with required computer components, a introductory computer course as part of its core curriculum, current editions of textbooks with active Web sites and Web enhancement, and assistive technology for special population students.

 

The Vernon College Technology Plan is created by the College’s Technology Committee.  This plan is reviewed and updated annually. The focus of the plan is to position the College to be a teaching and learning organization that incorporates proven technology in the delivery of instruction and service to meet the demands of current industry needs and administrative functions. The content of the plan includes network infrastructure, and academic and administrative computing. This plan is closely tied with the College’s Annual Plan and together these documents drive budget planning at the institution.

 

To ensure that technology is current and functioning, the College has fully-staffed Information Technology (IT) Department. This Department consists of five full-time staff members who serve five instructional locations throughout the College community as needs dictate. The IT Department is responsible for all College technology needs including the bidding, purchase, installation, maintenance, and upgrade of all office and classroom hardware and software.

 

The College also demonstrates its commitment to technology by offering curriculum targeting training in current technology skills. The Computer Information Systems Department consists of three full-time instructors and approximately four adjunct instructors depending on the needs of each semester. A Division Chair manages and oversees all aspects of the certificate program and Associate in Applied Science Degree in Computer Information Systems. The department remains current in the latest technology in a hands-on learning environment.

 

Vernon College’s General Education Core Curriculum Requirements (VConfirm the Core) also demonstrates the institution’s commitment to technology by including information literacy as a competency necessary to become a contributing, productive member of society. The competency states that “students will develop the information literacy skills to confidently and competently locate, use, and evaluate information.

 

Vernon College has two primary goals as far as its commitment to technology: enhancement of student learning and meeting course objectives.

 

Enhancement of student learning through technology is actually achieved through a general education requirement and is, therefore, integrated into the total Vernon College curriculum plan. One of the core academic skills for most curriculums is computer literacy, a basic technology skill determined necessary for success in the workplace and in the classroom. All Associate Degrees require a COSC 1301 Microcomputer Applications course. The course syllabus of this course states specific technology competencies including specific instruction in word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation development. The Computer Information Systems Department’s instructors remain current on the newest version of Microsoft Office, which is the core of the COSC 1301 Microcomputer Applications course.

 

To enhance student learning and meet course objectives even further, the College continues its plan of equipping its classrooms with “Smart Room” Technology. This means that the classrooms have Internet access, multimedia players and data projectors. To date, 51 classrooms at the College’s five instructional locations (Vernon, Century City Center, Skills Training Center, Sheppard Learning Center, and Seymour) have smart room technology. And, those classrooms that do not have permanently mounted equipment have access to portable computer/projection equipment.

 

Another key way that the College enhances student learning through the use of technology is through its Internet/Hybrid course offerings. During the 2006-2007 academic year, the College offered 54 different Internet courses with 228 different sections, and with a total of 3904 enrollments.  During the same academic year, the College offered 25 different hybrid courses with 63 different sections, and with a total of 970 enrollments.  The grand total for Internet/Hybrid courses at Vernon College during the 2006-2007 academic year was 79 courses with 291 sections, and with a total of 4874 enrollments.  In terms of meeting course objectives, the use of Web CT/Blackboard as a supplement to face-to-face instruction (hybrid) continues to increase.  In the Fall 2007Schedule, the College offered 44 sections of face-to-face courses that used the technology as a supplement to instruction (hybrid courses).

 

Vernon College is also committed to providing technology that is appropriate for meeting program objectives. Individual programs have specific technology needs as determined by the nature of the curriculum and the articulation of those needs by program faculty. The College is committed to providing the technology necessary for meeting program objectives through its annual planning process. As part of the planning, evaluation, and budgeting process at Vernon College, all faculty through their Division Chairs have the opportunity to determine specific technology needs appropriate to meeting program objectives. Technology may come in various forms including, but not limited to, capital improvements, software and hardware purchases and installations, and specialty equipment. All requested needs are analyzed and then prioritized by the Division Chairs and presented to the Dean of Instructional Services during the budgeting process. Where appropriate, requests for equipment funds may be made to the President’s Office during the budget hearing process.

 

Vernon College is committed to empowering students to increase their performance capabilities through self-discovery, education, and training programs. Because of these commitments, the institution provides students access to and training in technology. The College utilizes 16 academic computing labs for students. Each program/discipline that uses the computer lab is responsible for selecting the software applications used in those labs. The library/PASS (Proactive Assistance for Student Success – a tutoring lab) Center provides open computer access to students at each major instructional location. Library and PASS center staff are available for assisting and training students in the use of any services offered. And, the College has established a Student Help Desk for students who have computing issues after normal college operating hours.

 

The College offers students with disabilities several technological options to help them succeed in the classroom and at the College in general. The libraries have a workstation that is accessible to students in a wheelchair and contains Zoomtext, Job Assistance with Speech (JAWS), a scanner, a Telesensory Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), and a printer that is dedicated to this workstation. Any Vernon College Library or PASS Center employee can assist the student with the use of these technologies. Tape recorders are issued to students with learning, visual, or mobility disabilities and all Special Services staff can assist with the operation of this equipment. When a student utilizes materials from the Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic, instructions come with the specialized CD players and disks.

 

To monitor college-wide integration of technology, the College routinely evaluates the effectiveness of its technology training programs and the adequacy of technology access and support. The evaluative measures include: the collection of data on staffing, faculty credentials, program costs, courses offered, enrollment headcount, grade distribution, course completions, and student and instructor satisfaction.

 

Documentation

 

1.    Vernon College Mission

2.    Vernon College Technology Plan

3.    VConfirm the Core

4.    COSC 1301 Course Syllabus

5.    Fall 2007 Course Schedule