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Vanguard Learning College



Institutional Profile

Outstanding Features of Learning College

Project Plans

Solutions to Problems and Issues




Solutions to Problems and Issues—Compiled Spring, 2002

II.  Technology

For further information contact Deborah Poropat at poropat@morainevalley.edu

Part A.
Using Technology to Improve and Expand Learning for Students

1. What are your college's plans to ensure that all students have access to the technology tools and training necessary to have a basic level of technology literacy?
The college strives to make available the latest technological tools used both in the classroom instructional setting and in independent learning. It is our objective to provide access to the tools that students will encounter in the workplace and for personal use. The number of open access computer labs has increased as funds have become available.

Training in the use of these tools is provided through:

  • Credit courses that teach the use of workplace technologies or provide access to the technologies in an internship environment.

  • Basic computer instruction/use as a component of an ever-increasing number of class formats.

  • Hands-on instruction in the use of computers for information research provided as a component of COL 101, the college's required freshman seminar. 

  • Ongoing LRC workshops that train students in the use of the personal computer. 

2. How is your college building programs that encourage students to develop the capacity to learn in multiple formats (e.g., traditional technology enabled, mixed model)?
The college's approach to assisting students to learn in multiple formats is based upon:
  • Providing facilities that afford the faculty the opportunity to teach using a variety of media/delivery formats

  • Training the faculty to expand their approaches to class delivery 

  • Scheduling a variety of delivery options to allow students a choice; a number of general education courses are offered in all formats supported by the college-Internet, videotape, compressed video, directed study, and independent study, and many general education courses are available in all formats

3. How is your college using technology tools to promote learning communities and collaboration?
Learning communities are being fostered via:
  • The use of class discussion software, i.e., Web Board in both technology enabled and mixed model class delivery

  • Technology-based training for faculty that encourages collaboration

  • The move from straight-line to pod format computer lab layouts

  • The implementation of a "Cybercafe" for students

4. How do you ensure that your college's technology budget is being spent on tools and techniques that will impact student learning in the broadest and most effective ways?

Expenditures in technology are the product of a variety of planning elements that encourage campus-wide participation.  These include:

  • The strategic planning process that establishes Institutional Priorities.

  • Division/departmental development of technology initiatives based on the priorities.

  • The ongoing revision of the college's Technology Plan

  • Campus-wide decision-making meetings on specific issues; e.g., the annual "computer cascade" discussion that facilitates the reassignment of lab equipment based on need.

Part B.
Using Technology to Enhance Learning for Faculty and Staff and to Improve College Operations

1. How does your college train faculty and staff to make the best use of technology?

Moraine Valley trains faculty using a variety of approaches:

  • Learning Challenge Grants - Since 1997 the college has provided grants to faculty to assist them in the development of creative instructional approaches.  Faculty members are invited to submit proposals that expand student-learning opportunities through the incorporation of technology, introduction of innovative approaches, and interactive learning.  During the semester of the grant award, the faculty member meets regularly in a class setting with a peer mentor from the Teaching/Learning Team and members of the Information Technology staff who assist with training in the use of a variety of technology.

  • Participation in training opportunities provided by regional and state consortia

In Fall 2001 all of these activities will administered through:

  • Center for Teaching and Learning-The center provides learning opportunities for faculty related to all aspects of teaching, including designing material for the classroom incorporating the use of technology and implementing effective teaching methods. The Center offers various professional development activities for faculty, ranging from workshops and seminars to credit courses.  The center will also provide space for faculty to meet one-to-one with center staff on curriculum development and course evaluation. Technology training for staff will also be coordinated through the Center.
2. How does your college decide which technology tools and training will best promote learning at the institution?
The activities of the Center for Teaching & Learning are the responsibility of the Dean, Academic Development supported by a professional staff. A media technologist, an instructional designer, and a curriculum specialist support the Center. They work in collaboration with a team of administrators and faculty who will serve as the center's advisory committee.
3. How is your college developing a comprehensive technology strategy to create a more learning-centered technology infrastructure?
Building on the college's comprehensive Technology Plan (2001), the strategic planning process being implemented addresses the use of technology in the creation of a more learning-centered technology. Annually, teams composed of administrators and faculty will engage in an environmental scan and an assessment of campus strengths and weaknesses in the development of technology-based initiatives to support a learning-centered environment. The results of their analysis will guide the development of the short and long-range institutional priorities.  These priorities will provide a focus for college divisions/departments in the development of technology initiatives.
4. What creative approaches are being used to ensure a return of investment for your college's technology expenditures?
This was a question submitted by Moraine Valley. We would be interested in an extended discussion of this topic.
5. How is your college blending all elements of its technology infrastructure (e.g., Web system, phone system, in-person/on-campus services, learning tools and strategies) to improve learning?
Historically, the college has moved steadily to incorporate technologies into operational processes; i.e., online registration, online library system, Internet presence, etc. with support for all elements of the technology infrastructure being administered by Information Technology. The Vanguard initiative has served as a catalyst to expand awareness of the need for technology strategies to support student learning across the institution. As a component of incorporating the Vanguard objectives into the institutional planning process, the college developed a  "Promise" statement that serves to focus in the development of institutional priorities:

We promise to provide a student-centered environment and to focus all college staff and resources in support of student learning, student development, and student success. 

This, together with the creation of the Technology Strategic Planning Team co-chaired by a member of the Vanguard team and a representative from Information Technology, has provided direction for the blending of campus services and infrastructure to support learning. Ongoing projects include the selection of a campus business system that will also support classroom activities and student services and integration of IP/TV with the telephone system.