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Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County schools. You can email him at jbranscome@freelancestar.com.

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Germanna recognized in annual survey on use of digital technology

Germanna Community College was recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative community colleges, according to a recent survey of digital technology, the college announced.

Germanna tied for seventh place among mid-sized colleges. Germanna has campuses in Spotsylvania and Orange counties and centers in Culpeper and Stafford counties.

Below are more details issued in a news release from Germanna.

Annual survey finds Germanna among nation’s most technologically innovative community colleges

Oct. 18, 2012 –  Germanna Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, Piedmont Virginia Community College and Lord Fairfax Community College were among the most technically innovative colleges in the nation, according to a recent survey by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Education. This was the eighth annual Digital Community Colleges Survey.

In the mid-sized colleges category, Lord Fairfax, which is based in Fauquier County, was first.  Germanna, with campuses in Spotsylvania and Orange counties and centers in Culpeper and Stafford counties, tied PVCC, which is based in Charlottesville, for seventh place. Northern Virginia Community College, which has a campus in Woodbridge, tied for fourth place in the large colleges category.
Community colleges across the nation have responded to increased enrollments and limited budgets through innovative use of technology, according to the Digital Community Colleges Survey results released today. Survey questions and criteria examined and scored areas of digital and emerging technologies, such as use of mobile devices and technology integration into curriculum; strategic planning and data management; and delivery models and professional development, including availability of technology tools and training for faculty and students.

 Ninety-two percent have expanded distance learning offerings online and 77 percent have increased online student services. Survey results also show that 95 percent are now using social networking to reach out to students and 79 percent use YouTube, up by 14 percent from 2011.

Among other things, Germanna has enhanced its online distance learning program and issued full-time faculty iPad 2s as teaching tools–the first school in the Virginia Community College System to do so.

“We’re proud our faculty, staff and administrators are being recognized for innovation in serving our students and communities,” said Germanna President David A. Sam.
This survey gives great insight into the nation’s community colleges’ efforts to advance services to students through new technologies,” says Cathilea Robinett, executive vice president of e.Republic. “The winners in these categories have increased the number of computers and kiosks, automated labor-intensive processes, improved student portals and increased student online services and more. Congratulations!”
Colleges from 26 states across the U.S. participated in the 2012 Digital Community Colleges Survey. Following are the top-10 ranked colleges in each of three categories.

2012 Digital Community Colleges Survey Winners

Large Colleges Category – 10,000 Students or More

1st Lone Star College

2nd Northwest Arkansas Community College

3rd Howard Community College

3rd Kingsborough Community College

4th Johnson County Community College

4th Northern Virginia Community College

5th Houston Community College

6th Delaware Technical and Community College

7th Delta College

7th Tidewater Community College

8th Montgomery County Community College

8th Salt Lake Community College

9th Moraine Valley Community College

10th Fayetteville Technical Community College

Mid-Sized Colleges Category – Between 5,000 and 10,000 Students

1st Lord Fairfax Community College

2nd Virginia Western Community College

3rd Laramie County Community College

4th Hostos Community College

5th Darton State College

6th Walters State Community College

7th Germanna Community College

7th Piedmont Virginia Community College

8th Southside Virginia Community College

9th Lake Land College

10th Minnesota West Community and Technical College

Small Colleges Category – Less Than 5,000 Students

1st Carl Sandburg College

2nd Tompkins Cortland Community College

3rd Kirtland Community College

4th Atlanta Technical College

5th Lake-Sumter Community College

6th Halifax Community College

6th Rappahannock Community College

7th Patrick Henry Community College

8th Spoon River College

9th Southwest Virginia Community College

10th Panola College

Selected Survey Findings:

Top 10 IT Priorities for the 2012 Digital Community Colleges Survey respondents:

1. Mobile Computing – managing devices, integration into curriculum

2. Wireless Infrastructure – upgrade and expanded access

3. Student Portal Development

4. Server Virtualization and Virtualized Desktop deployment

5. Professional Development in technology use and expansion into curriculum

6. Data Analytics – enhanced reporting, dashboards

7. Cloud Computing – ongoing migration

8. Lecture Capture – expanded use

9. LMS – upgrade or replacement

10. Simulation Labs – nursing, math, game design

Surveyed colleges are reaching out to the student population, businesses and the community in the following ways (all increases over 2011 were slight (2-4%) with the exception of You Tube/Flickr which increased 14 percent):

  • 95 percent using social networking/Web 2.0 such as Facebook, Twitter, My Space;
  • 93 percent using emails/newsletters/text messaging;
  • 91 percent using distance learning;
  • 86 percent using hazard/warning/mass alert system;
  • 79 percent using You Tube, Flickr (a 14 percent increase over 2011);

Forty-six percent have developed and published social networking policies – a 16 percent increase since last year.

Responding colleges have used IT to cope with increased enrollments and limited budgets in the following ways:

  • 92 percent have expanded distance learning offerings for online, hybrid and Web-assisted courses;
  • 77 percent have increased online student services;
  • 76 percent have virtualized servers;
  • 74 percent have standardized classroom implementations;
  • 73 percent have increased number of computers and kiosks;
  • 68 percent have automated labor-intensive processes;
  • 56 percent have improved the portal; and
  • 51 percent are involved in economic redevelopment efforts in the community.

Colleges reported 100 percent of full-time faculty (and 95 percent of adjunct/part-time faculty) receive college-provided or funded technology skills development training.

Eighty-four percent of adjunct faculty receive support for faculty research for course content and delivery methods

Fifty-six percent of colleges report they have fully implemented mobile computing while 19 percent are learning more about it and/or preparing a business case for implementation.

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