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March 11, 2016

College IT Department Honored with 2016 Tech Excellence Award

RELATED: The Information Technology Department has been awarded the 2016 Technology Focus Award by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office for its new “registration appointment text message reminder” program. More​​​

The College of the Canyons Information Technology department has been awarded the 2016 California Community College Chief Information Systems Officers Association (CISOA) Technology Excellence Award in recognition of several new online services designed to enhance student success.

Included among the initiatives evaluated by the CISOA award committee were the college’s recently launched ‘online education plan’ for students, the arrival of new online counseling services, and the debut of new online tutoring services offered to students through The Learning Center (TLC).

Each of the evaluated projects have been funded through the approximately $2.6 million Department of Education Title V Grant the college received in 2014, with those dollars allocated toward technological improvements designed to enhance the educational experience of all students.

“These initiatives are extremely important in ensuring our students are able to meet their educational goals,” said Jim Temple, associate vice president of information technology at the college. “Collectively, they have provided students with the tools they need, at the time they need them, in order to be successful. I am delighted the Chief Information Systems Officers Association recognized our efforts with their Technology Excellence Award.”

The college’s online education plan is an interactive program that helps students track the classes they need in order to meet their stated educational goals. The plan also provides students with a proposed timeline for their classes, a weekly format to show their various course options, and a progress page to monitor how close they are to graduation and/or transfer.

In fall 2015 the college also hired its first full-time online counselor, with the position dedicated to meeting with students, answering questions and fulfilling other student service needs in an online forum.

By utilizing the college’s WebEx software, online counselors are now able to essentially share the computer desktop space with students, allowing for the review of transcripts, student educational plans, course petitions and other web-based resources. The software can also be used to conduct live online workshops in a webinar format.

“Both the student and I see the same thing, which makes the conversation easy to follow and allows the appointment to be as effective as an in-person meeting,” said Sonny Requejo, the college’s online counselor.

The TLC provides online tutoring for students in a variety of classes, with many of the resources available inside TLC’s Writing Center also available to students online. TLC staff has implemented a variety of workshops, video tutorials, and online technologies to its lineup of services, including the use of programs including WebEx, Smart Pens and Tutor Chat. Online writing resources are available to students enrolled in online and hybrid courses in every discipline at no additional cost to the student.

“With WebEx students can share their work in real-time through various screen sharing capabilities, annotation functions, a virtual whiteboard and other video/audio components as well as an online chat function,” said Kim Haglund, TLC coordinator at the college.

The CISOA Technology Excellence Award annually recognizes demonstrated excellence through technological advancements by a community college Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or IT Staff member. This can include but is not limited to the development of new applications, infrastructure advancements, green initiatives, or the successful execution of a new technology related plan or college initiative.

Nominations are evaluated on the basis of: effective educational technology leadership at the institution, district, region and/or system level, mentoring of other professionals, visionary achievements and effectiveness in identifying and advancing technology opportunities for the various needs of higher education, and prominence in the arena of state and national technology agendas.

This year’s award was presented during the California Community College Chief Information Systems Officers Association (CISOA) annual convention held in February at the Hyatt Regency Orange County ?in Garden Grove.

The conference featured the theme “The Future is Now” and was designed with a broad range of offerings appealing to community college IT leaders, technical staff and department employees who regularly interface with their college’s enterprise resource planning and student information systems.

About COC Information Technology

The goal of the COC Information Technology department is to enhance the learning and operating environment of the college, through the strategic deployment of technology and audio/visual resources.

The department is responsible for the installation, maintenance and upkeep of all computer hardware, software and audio/visual equipment throughout the Santa Clarita Community College District. The department also provides technical support to all district faculty and staff through department offices located at both the Valencia and Canyon Country campuses.

The overarching COC Information Technology department includes the college’s computer support services, online services, audio/visual and Management Information Systems (MIS) departments.