Which community colleges in America have the best digital technology programs? To answer this burning question, the Republic’s Center for Digital Education and Converge magazine have collaborated to review and announce their fifth annual list of the top ten schools in the country.
As the Center for Digital Education
reports, schools earning the survey’s top ranks “Aae the leading community colleges across the U.S. that offer exceptional technology support to students and educators.” The community colleges were evaluated based upon each school’s digital technology resources, applications, and support services.
Why Digital Technology is Critical for Modern Learning
With so many comprehensive rankings of colleges in America, why is there one specifically dedicated to digital technology? Many advocates argue that digital technology is now intimately tied with a student’s learning process and experiences. Therefore, a campus with an excellent digital technology infrastructure is better equipped to train students for today’s high-tech jobs
The Future of Networking Technologies for Learning
reports that the use technology in schools has allowed students to access better collaborative resources, which enhances the entire education experience. For example, in exploring the influence of simply the internet among educators, “When students, teachers, parents, administrators, and even legislators can communicate via the Internet and begin to collaborate electronically on issues, the traditional educational process may see a fundamental transformation, with decisions about a student's learning being resolved in new and hopefully better ways.”
As opposed to confining learning and educational experiences to a classroom or library, the successful implementation of digital technology services allows students to experience both independent and cooperative learning advantages.
While the former tech-free practices of schools often relied on lectures, testing
, and note-taking, digital technology forces the processes of teaching and learning to embrace a new pathway: “The traditional education system, being more evolutionary than revolutionary […] emerging technologies, however, can catalyze this change much sooner than it would happen otherwise.”
Best of all, many experts argue that incorporating digital technology has allowed schools to more effectively prepare students for the real-world challenges that will undoubtedly be faced by all students upon earning their degrees
Top-Tech Schools for 2008-2009
To evaluate the vast number of qualified community colleges, the Center for Digital Education (CDE) placed each school into one of three categories: large colleges (population of 7,500 or above), mid-sized colleges (population of 3,000 to 7,500), and small colleges (population below 3,000).
In assessing the schools in each category, college officials among the contending schools were required to submit responses to survey questions, providing CDE evaluators with greater insight into their school’s unique resources, progress, and advancements. Celebrating this past year’s evaluations, Vice President of CDE, Marina Leight, praised the winners, articulating, “‘Community colleges, year after year, impress us as forward thinking and quick to adapt (skills).”’
CDE awarded the top ten schools from each of the three college categories. Among the 30 schools, the top five winners from each category represent some of the most prestigious institutions across the country.
Top Five Large College CDE Winners
- Montgomery County Community College, located in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
- Northern Virginia Community College, located in Annandale, Virginia
- Tidewater Community College, located in Norfolk, Virginia
- Kingsborough Community College, located in Brooklyn, New York
- Howard Community College, located in Columbia, Maryland
Top Five Mid-sized College CDE Winners
- Laramie County Community College, located in Cheyenne, Wyoming
- Tompkins Cortland Community College, located in Dryden, New York
- Darton College, located in Albany, Georgia
- Tie Winners: Rappahannock Community College, located in Warsaw, Virginia; Walters State Community College, located in Morristown, Tennessee
- Tie Winners: Carl Sandburg College, located in Galesburg, Illinois; Lord Fairfax Community College, located in Middletown, Virginia
Top Five Small College CDE Winners
- Panola College, located in Carthage, Texas
- Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, located in Clifton Forge, Virginia
- Mesabi Range Community and Technical College, located in Virginia, Minnesota
- Kirtland Community College, located in Roscommon, Michigan
- Minnesota West Community and Technical College, located in Worthington, Minnesota
Technology’s role in education will only continue to grow, and community colleges across the nation are indeed stepping into the limelight with their innovative digital technology programs.