The January 2005 issue of Campus Technology has a nice two spread on my employer, the Maricopa Community Colleges. In “Who We Are”, our IT Vice Chancellor outlines some of the big numbers about our big system (which is impressive), our recent successful .980 billion dollar bond election, and puts some prods into some areas we can do better:
Are your technology implementations responding to, or driving this new market for non-traditional education?
We are reacting, more than driving, right now. And too often, we respond to an opportunity a couple of years after it presents itself—we simply try to apply some technology solutions or services. There’s a need to become more strategic about technology. We need to get out in front of the curve.
In your strategic planning, which technologies are central?
Technologies that can deliver services to students 24/7 are primary. And that’s a mixture of many: course management systems, database services, library systems, online help desk, and more. After that, I see new media—digital video and all kinds of multimedia—as emerging on our campuses. Though we’re not dealing very well with this yet, I see a great future for it beyond the classroom, in use by students. That’s what students are good at, and what they want. It’s an important skill; a kind of digital literacy for this new century.
Maricopa has a huge, well-earned reputation for its technology and for its innovations in teaching, but anyone sitting on their laurels will quickly attract rust. We are behind the curve on things, and our internal structure (highly de-centralized, colleges that compete for students) tends to work against collaboration and leveraging our combined strengths. Like everywhere else, faculty and staff focus the bulk of their time on course management systems, admin systems, networks, security, and classroom technology — the time, place, and support for R&D is squeezed pretty tight. It is my pleasure to have a primary charge of doing R&D work.
That said, I can think of no other place I’d rather be, and sometimes have to pinch myself to believe they pay me to do the stuff I get to do.
So thanks, Campus Technology for giving Maricopa some good exposure. But someone slept through editing, as on the closing page article “OSS Myths Debunked!”, the profile of author John Robinson mentions a Maricopa Community Colleges somehow located in Florida??:
But living in a glass house of typos, I would never cast stones. Nope.