9 community colleges that are digital innovators

The Center for Digital Education (CDE) recently released its rankings of the most innovative community colleges—that is, the community colleges most effectively using technology to serve their students, faculty, staff, and greater community.

The rankings go hand-in-hand with CDE's annual "Digital Community College Survey," which highlights schools' digital priorities for the coming year.

CDE broke the rankings down into three categories based on enrollment size. The top three institutions recognized in each category are:

Community colleges with over 10,000 students:

  1. Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC), Va.
  2. Harper College, Ill.
  3. Howard Community College, Md.

 Community Colleges with 5,000 to 10,000 students:

  1. Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC), Va.
  2. Virginia Western Community College, Va.
  3. Cleveland Community College, N.C.

Community colleges with fewer than 5,000 students:

  1. Carl Sandburg College, Ill.
  2. Mid-Plains Community College, Neb.
  3. Rappahannock Community College, Va.

The winners in each category were lauded for their use of various technologies to improve student success and experience. TNCC, for example, won first place for the largest size category for using EAB's online platform Navigate to:

  • Guide students through the onboarding process;
  • Stay on track with obligations and deadlines;
  • Create "best-fit" schedules;
  • Select and enroll in courses; and
  • Choose the right majors.

Find out how TNCC also increased its enrollment by 24% and earned $15,700 in tuition revenue

In the middle size category, LFCC was recognized for using its videoconferencing service Zoom to connect remote students anywhere to lectures and digital whiteboards. And in the small school category, Carl Sandburg College was recognized for how well it has helped its faculty adopt various online and mobile options for educational and student services alike.

From the survey, CDE found that this year's top ten digital priorities for community colleges are:

  1. Developing and improving mobile devices and app support;
  2. Updating and redesigning their websites;
  3. Improving and testing cyber security tools;
  4. Ensuring disaster recovery and business continuity;
  5. Hiring and retaining competent IT personnel;
  6. Consolidating servers and virtualization;
  7. Modernizing wired and wireless network infrastructure;
  8. Doing a computer refresh;
  9. Doing a server refresh;
  10. Virtualizing desktops; and
  11. Migrating to cloud services.

Other digital innovations and initiatives already underway at community colleges include:

(Grenslitt, Center for Digital Education, 4/18; Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, 4/19).

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