The e.Republic Center for Digital Education and Converge Magazine have released the 5th annual list of community colleges that are leading the way in area of digital technologies. The colleges that made the ranking utilize digital technologies for online registration, distance learning, tutoring and advisory services; technology training for students and faculty; and Web 2.0 social and collaborative capabilities.
The Center for Digital Education’s press release notes:
Marina Leight, vice president of the Center, said, “Community colleges, year after year, impress us as forward thinking and quick to adapt. Our survey results show overwhelmingly that community colleges are fast embracing cyber technologies used by “First Digitals” fostering collaboration in learning by using tools students are familiar with. Those institutions chosen as this year’s top community colleges are exceptional examples of this investment in learning.”
On the one hand, this article is quite refreshing, as it’s wonderful to see community colleges, rather than four year universities, applauded for their strides in integrating technology into learning and student support. Although how the technologies are actually being leveraged for learning is not assess here. We must acknowledge, there’s a big difference between putting a powerpoint online and using digital technology to create a collaborative, online learning experience. This latter, deeper reshaping of learning activities through technology is more challenging and occurs through a cultural shift in our approach to teaching and learning.
On the other hand, as a California educator, in the midst of our economic crumble as I witness our learners bear the brunt of budget cuts through furloughs, layoffs, course reductions, increased class sizes, resource reductions and tuition increases, I can only wonder how many years it will be before we will see our first California Community College appear on this list — and which one it will be. Any guesses?