The Instructional Technology Council, or ITC, is releasing the 2017 results of its “ITC Annual National eLearning Report,” which in this edition is devoted to the impact of learning technologies in Community Colleges. The survey included ITC members, “comprised of predominantly two-year institutions” in for- and not-for-profit segments.
In an introductory note, the report highlights how the relationship of community colleges with technology has evolved and how roles have shifted along the way. At first, there were concerns about legitimacy, profits, and the role and responsibilities of regulatory agencies. Fast forward to last year, and community colleges are in general exemplary use cases of EdTech. Virtual enrollments skyrocketed here first, driving a higher and higher share of revenues. Today, students who enroll in online programs do it mostly through community colleges.
But while the business case was practically building itself, the elements and the way these institutions are conceived sow doubts about the industry’s ability to address growing challenges in a continuously evolving technological landscape. This has implications for all those involved. The seven “Core Challenges” are:
- Students are not always accustomed to a virtual format. Quickly a profile arose about the ideal virtual learner: self-disciplined, organized, and computer-savvy. Definitely only a fraction of the student population exemplify these traits.
- Faculty does not fare better. Not only there are skill flaws and reservations about technology applied in the classroom, perhaps the main risk at the time of introducing technology in education is the limited training provided by their institutions.
- A final issue on the human scale involves the quality of instructional design for virtual settings. Directly transponding existing practices might be considered enough for a program to be offered, but institutions that do so are underutilizing their resources, which leads to…
- …Struggles at the time of measuring impact and performing sound student assessment;
- Limited completion rates of students who enroll in a given virtual course.
- Compliance to regulations begins to unfold, which some argue is only beginning to take its final form.
- And increased competition.
Despite these concerns, the report generally paints a positive picture of the relationship between community colleges and EdTech.
While growing to a market share of 17%, its highest ever, Moodle remains third in popularity, after Blackboard’s impressive but declining 40% down from 43%, and Canvas’ fast rise from 23% to 27%. Also growing is D2L, swinging from 15.8% in 2015, down to 8% in 2016, then back to 14% last year.