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Articles: Classroom

At Pitt Community College (N.C.), online learning is about more than just putting in-person course content onto the web. Officials have created a system that emphasizes preparation for students and instructors. The institution will even be launching a certification program for professors wanting to enhance their online teaching skills. “We don’t want online courses to be a barrier to success in any way, for anyone,” says Don Hazelwood, director of instructional technology and distance education. “We all have to work together.” Despite efforts such as these, barriers are common.

Social networking, online banking, entertainment... There’s an app for that—and for everything else you can think of. When it comes to higher ed, there’s an app for that, too. From behind-the-scenes mobile CRM apps to in-your-face athletic program apps, campus administrators are developing ways to make students’, administrators’, and faculty members’ lives a bit easier (or just more fun).


Imagine being a student in a class listening to your professor as she writes on a whiteboard at the front of the room. She asks a question and you faintly hear a voice, but you can’t see who it came from or understand what was said—because you’re sitting at your desk participating in class through your webcam.

Mainstream colleges and universities could benefit from increased use of assistive technologies for learning, but there are some educators who feel that allowing students to use assistive technology is like cheating.

As someone who works at a college where these learning tools are used every day in every class, I’d like to clear up this major misconception. These tools simply facilitate learning, and all of us, different and “normal” learners alike, should understand what the tools can do for us.

Programs in entrepreneurship aren’t new on college campuses.  But, the mindset that college graduates may find it easier to create their own jobs rather than find one is new.

Last month, Professional Media Group, owners and producers of the EduComm conference, announced a new name for the conference’s 2012 incarnation: UBTech.

When it began in 2003, EduComm’s focus was on the convergence of AV and IT in higher education. But as the years went by, EduComm sessions increasingly reflected the disciplines and topics covered in University Business magazine and its companion web seminar series.

Proposals are in from institutions vying to build a tech campus in the “city that never sleeps” as part of the “Applied Sciences NYC” initiative. It’s the beginning of an effort to bring New York City to the forefront of technology start-ups and innovation. The request for proposal was announced in July by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other members of his cabinet, and the initiative will provide a university, institution, or consortium city-owned land and up to $100 million to cover building costs.

Everyone in higher education at last understands that important components of “the public”—state and federal officials, nongovernmental accrediting bodies, and prospective students and their parents—expect a college to cite compelling evidence that students learn a great deal at that institution. Officials who are most eager to make evidence available believe students will enroll only in colleges demonstrating that their graduates experience impressive intellectual growth over four years.

Leaders from 16 community colleges around the country gathered at the White House in September to participate in a roundtable discussion on the role community colleges play in America. The discussion was part of the Obama administration’s Champions of Change program, a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping to meet the many challenges of the 21st century. Education Gateways recently spoke to four of the Champions of Change honorees about the challenges and opportunities they face as presidents of their institutions.

Laundry Made Easy


While the rest of the working world uses summer as a time to decamp to waterfront locales, college and university officials take advantage of quieter campuses to catch up on projects and prepare for the return of students. At Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, summer activities include training student leaders.


Blackboard, the ubiquitous online course-management tool, is a valuable resource for faculty, staff, and administrators alike. However, its learning outcomes are only as good as the quality of material that faculty members use to build all of their courses on the back end—a typically lengthy process. So when Regent University (Va.) officials decided to add an undergraduate business major and approached the school’s Center for Teaching & Learning in April 2008 to develop and deploy 40 online courses over the next year, CTL staff knew they had to find a different way of doing things.


Most people go to Disney to relax and have fun. For the past three years, David Zanolla, a communication instructor at Western Illinois University, has taken students in his Disney World Communication Culture course to see the principles they learn about in class in action. "The people who needed the most convincing were the parents," he says, adding that the spring break timeframe is usually thought of as party time. But with a daily schedule of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., students have a full plate.

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

The word “class” really doesn’t do justice to what medical students attend in the newly renovated lecture theatre at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

“It’s a production, which is so much better,” said Ed Hipditch, manager of classroom technologies with Memorial University’s Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS) department. “Students walk in and say ‘Wow!’ ­The wow factor is important when educating someone. It’s not just someone scribbling on a chalkboard.” ­

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Stockton College and the FAA Tech Center are geographically close in New Jersey, but intellectually even closer thanks to their shared interest in technology, research, and collaboration. These collective pursuits led experts at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey to design and install a high-tech classroom at the Federal Aviation Administration's William J. Hughes Technical Center, which is located about 15 minutes from the school's campus.