July 24, 2024
Digital Transformation of Community Colleges

Digital Transformation of Community Colleges

Community colleges are turning to emerging technologies to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving workforce on top of recovering from a global pandemic. As Chen (2021) explains, technology has become a pathway to meet the needs of more students for less money, often a necessity for community colleges. The Center for Digital Education and Converge Online recently recognized some of the community colleges across the country that are making the best use of technology to enhance the education experience (Chen, 2021). But Gallagher (2020) asserts that community colleges need to transition to and focus on strategic online learning capacity more quickly

Stone (2021) details eight IT higher education trends to watch in 2021, which include virtual and augmented reality both of which are finding a home on community college campuses, helping students safely and conveniently gain critical hands-on experience. As part of this growing push, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) just held a national, two-phase competition where community college student teams, working with a faculty or administrator mentor, use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to innovate solutions to real-world problems; participate in a Virtual Innovation Boot Camp; and compete for cash awards. The non-profit Education Design Lab launched its Community College Growth Engine Fund, selecting six community colleges to receive a start-up award of $100,000, as well as support from the lab to launch what it calls “micro pathways.”

The Community College of Beaver County, outside Pittsburgh, claims it was the first community college to create an augmented reality application for use on its main campus in 2012. Since community college faculty like Corinne Hoisington from Central Virginia Community College has partnered with textbook publishers such as Cengage to provide videos discussing “Leveraging Virtual Reality in Your Course.”


Why is it more important than ever for community colleges to embrace emerging technologies?


Community college, innovation, technology, virtual reality


Chen, G. (2021). Community colleges leading the pack in digital technology. Community College Review. Retrieved from https://www.communitycollegereview.com/blog/community-colleges-leading-the-pack-in-digital-technology

Gallagher, S. (2020). It’s time to digitally transform community college, Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2020-08-12-it-s-time-to-digitally-transform-community-college.

Ivers, R. (2021). The role of leadership in driving successful competency-based education innovation in community colleges. Northeastern University Dissertation. Retrieved from https://repository.library.northeastern.edu/files/neu:bz611w48r/fulltext.pdf.

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