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Kirtland Ranks #3 in National Technology Poll

Kirtland Achieves #3 Ranking in National Technology PollCongratulations Kirtland!  In the eighth annual Digital Community Colleges survey, Kirtland received national recognition, taking third place as an institution dedicated to implementing innovative uses of technology despite the increasing pressures of declining enrollment and limited budgets.  While Kirtland has impressively landed in the top 10 each year of the survey, this was our highest placing year ever and we’re excited to share some of the ways this 3rd place recognition demonstrates Kirtland’s commitment to providing enhanced learning technologies and opportunities to our students.

Director of Institutional Services, Tim Scherer, provided additional background (complete with some really cool links to additional data and statistics) on the importance of Kirtland’s commitment to enriching student learning through technology:

Q:  Why does Kirtland feel it is important to continue to seek gains/growth to improve tech services for our students?

A:  Technology continues to play an expanding role in our environment from work to play and it is impacting every industry.  Students who are not able to leverage technology, well beyond just using it for recreation or communication, are going to be at a significant disadvantage.  I see the importance of our technology services as two-fold:  First, we must leverage technology tools (across the college) to provide the best learning possible.  Secondly, students need to become fluent in using technology tools and in obtaining, analyzing, and using information if they hope to be competitive in the job market.  The best way to achieve this fluency is to have those tools available to learn with.  The world has changed and today’s workers need to be more efficient, be complex problem solvers, work collaboratively, and be effective regardless of place or time to compete in a global market – these are just a few of the areas where technology skills are critical and we must provide the tools to develop those skills.

Consider these findings from a recent survey of 500 American college students:  Seventy-three percent of them said they would not be able to study without some form of technology, and 38% said that they could not even go more than 10 minutes without checking their laptop, smartphone, tablet or ereader.  Here is an interesting info-graphic to go with it.

Q:  Which of these initiatives, (below, as identified in the official press release) are priorities for Kirtland and can you give an example or two of what, why or how?

A:  Interestingly, out of the 10 below, we are actively engaged in all 10!  As you know, we have invested significant resources including time and money into expanding our online programs and improving our use of classroom technology.  But the key to both of these is faculty professional development.  If faculty members are not equipped with the skills and strategies to help students learn (not just transfer information) all the hardware, software, and cool stuff will have little impact on the students’ success.

2012 Digital Community Colleges Survey Top 10 IT Priorities:

1. Mobile Computing – managing devices, integration into curriculum

Instructors integrate mobile devices into curriculum in several ways, but I think most importantly right now is our use of our Netbook carts in the active learning labs.  Of course, there are many definitions of what “mobile computing” is.  Several of our learning tools such as our new Canvas LMS and Tegrity lecture capture are specifically designed to support mobile use.

2. Wireless Infrastructure – upgrade and expanded access

This semester, we are in the process of, and should be completed by the end of October, upgrading our entire wireless infrastructure in the INS building to support dedicated networks for classroom use and public WiFi.  The remainder of campus will be completed by the end of winter.

3. Student Portal Development

We are currently working on deployment of a new mobile portal for MyKirtland.

4. Server Virtualization and Virtualized Desktop deployment

See above.

5. Professional Development in technology use and expansion into curriculum

See above.

6. Data Analytics – enhanced reporting, dashboards

This is an emphasis of Dr. Quinn’s and we are constantly working to provide better reporting.  We are also deploying several executive dashboard products through our Jenzabar student management system.

7. Cloud Computing – ongoing migration

We already use cloud-based computing for our email and office productivity applications and student learning programs including Canvas, Tegrity and our new tutoring system, Grades First.  Finally, the math department has implemented Hawkes Learning System which is a hybrid system using both cloud and local tools for students.

8. Lecture Capture – expanded use

We are in the process of training and implementation of a campus wide lecture capture system with Tegrity.

9. LMS – upgrade or replacement

We have piloted a new cloud-based learning management system this semester for all online courses and are in the process of training and implementation for all classes next semester.

10. Simulation Labs – nursing, math, game design

As mentioned earlier, Hawkes learning is new in math this semester, our online business classes are using MyLabs, and, of course, we have several simulation labs in health occupations including our simulated patient – METIMan.

Technology is pretty…techie, but it is easy to see that Kirtland is doing what it takes to remain front-runners when using technology to enhance student learning.  Thanks to Tim for the in-depth look at why Kirtland is cutting edge and relevant as technology changes and adapts almost daily, and kudos again for the impressive #3 ranking in this national technology survey!

For the full media release on the 2012 Digital Community Colleges Survey, check out

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Your future – it really is closer than you think.  And it all begins @ Kirtland!