Learning College Manual
Technology in a Learning Environment
Technology permeates every facet of our society. To be competitive in the marketplace and function effectively in a knowledge-based society, our students should be equipped to utilize information and technology effectively. In addition, they should be able to exploit technologies to enhance communications and expand their learning experience. Technology is a tool that can enhance awareness, enrich learning resources and extend the learning experience beyond traditional boundaries. Learners, not technologies, should be the focus of our efforts, and the following should be considered before applying technologies in the learning environment:
- Technologies should serve a clearly identifiable need.
- Faculty, staff and students should have adequate access, training, facilities and support.
- Technology should supplement but not supplant effective pedagogy.
- Innovative learners should be allowed to experiment in a secure environment.
- Effective innovations should be acknowledged and rewarded.
The College periodically assesses the technology training needs of employees and students. Training is provided in various formats to instruct students in research activities and computer applications, to assist faculty in the use of instructional technologies, to support administrative applications and operational changes, and to introduce new and innovative products and processes.
Information Technology Mission, Values and Vision
The mission of Information Technology is to interactively empower the learner and the facilitators of learning through direct access to information and services. Information Technology supports and promotes the following values:
The College should provide a strong base of IT support for educational, service and administrative needs.
College information technologies should be available to all students and faculty within reasonable limits, and to all staff as determined by their job functions.
Decisions made about computing and information services should take into account concurrent developments in all other communication and related technologies.
Academic and administrative functions must be fused into one fully integrated infrastructure, and artificial barriers between academic and administrative systems must be eliminated if the College is to properly position itself to meet its upcoming challenges.
Decisions regarding computing and IT services should be made at the lowest practical level. However, leadership must provide oversight and control to prevent unnecessary duplication and costs. Therefore, Isothermal Community College should delegate appropriate personnel and adopt guidelines and technical standards to be used in decision-making.
Technology infrastructure requires adequate and predictable funding. Investments in computing (hardware and software) and information applications should be justified in terms of improved learning outcomes, provision of training and support, process improvement and/or administrative effectiveness.
Information technology staff plays a critical role in the development, maintenance and delivery of services critical to this vision. Therefore, support of an Information Technology (IT) environment conducive to effective service and appropriate investments in human resources are essential to the realization of the vision.
Information Technology Vision Statement: We envision a virtual environment, a common space, which invites innovation and provides access to global information resources. We encourage members of the College community to make use of information technology in realizing the College’s learner-centered mission, and we welcome members of the community at large in the collaboration.
Distance Learning Mission and Philosophy
The mission of Distance Learning is to provide convenient alternatives to attending traditional on-campus classes for students who wish to take Isothermal Community College courses.
The only certainty when considering technology is the inevitability of change. With the shift to computer-based tools requiring almost constant updating, and the primacy of the ever-evolving Internet, it is no surprise that those forced to deal with the resulting uncertainties must sometimes feel overwhelmed. In this chaotic environment, there are no hard-and-fast rules.
It is, therefore, a difficult task to outline a meaningful vision for distance learning given that it is inexorably tied to the tools of technology. Goals which seem reasonable in the current environment will almost certainly prove either unreachable or no longer relevant in a depressingly short amount of time. For this reason, it is crucial that any statements involving the future of distance learning seek not to predict the future, but rather to serve as a framework to help guide administrative decisions on choices that are as of yet unimagined.
While the technologies available in the future are unpredictable, the educational principles and practices of Isothermal Community College are much more stable. The College's commitment to the Learning College concept, in particular, may serve as a useful guide when making choices concerning future distance education goals, practices and policies.