Community colleges will develop and use centralized and integrated technology, which can be accessed through campus or district web portals, to better guide students in their educational process.
Several recommendations in this report rely heavily on the capability of technology to help guide students along educational pathways. To implement many of the recommendations, the community colleges must develop and implement a variety of centralized technology applications. Thoughtfully designed online technology will enable students to guide as much of their own education planning as is appropriate for their level of technology access and skills and their ability to choose and follow an appropriate pathway. It will also provide useful tools for counselors and advisors to better assist students with educational planning and for administrators and faculty to better plan class schedules to ensure that students have access to the courses they need to complete their educational goals in a timely and efficient manner. As the system moves in this direction, it is essential that there be strategies and tools to bridge the digital divide, ensuring that all students have necessary access to computers, high-speed internet, and the opportunity to learn basic technology skills.
These technological applications will generate efficiencies, but more importantly, they will increase and improve communication with students by using platforms they already rely on to manage their daily lives. Today’s students use laptops, smart phones and tablets not only to communicate with friends and professors, but also to make appointments, purchase goods and services, watch movies, and do research. This is where our students spend much of their time, and we must create smart applications that make it easier for them to pursue and reach their educational goals. While not all students have the devices, skills, and experience to make effective use of this kind of technology, a large and growing proportion do and have expectations that the institutions with which they interact will utilize current technology to facilitate practical transactions as well as the learning experience.
Rather than having individual colleges create their own online student planning tools, the Chancellor’s Office will work with students, counselors, instructional and student services administrators, and college technology representatives to create applications that could be plugged into existing college and district web portals. Colleges will be able to place these applications in locations that mesh with their own unique websites, with the services being centrally provided and centrally supported.