- College Information
- Apply & Enroll
- Services for Students
- Online Services
C. Technology resources are used to support student learning programs and services and to improve institutional effectiveness. Technology planning is integrated with institutional planning.
1. The institution assures that any technology support it provides is designed to meet the needs of learning, teaching, college-wide communications, research, and operational systems.
a. Technology services, professional support, facilities, hardware, and software are designed to enhance the operation and effectiveness of the institution.
Ventura College recognizes the increasing importance of technology in meeting the ever-changing needs of the students and community that we serve. The college has integrated technology into the student learning process, administrative services, and support activities. As a consequence, the college included technology as a component in the Ventura College Educational Master Plan (General Reference Bin), program review (IIIC-2) and the unit planning process (IIIC-3). Since the last accreditation, Ventura College developed and implemented a wide range of technology-based improvements (IIIC-4 IIA-1, IIC-1). Notable improvements include the increase in the number of technology supported (e.g., "smart") classrooms and computer laboratories, improvements in the Assistive Technology Center (computer access for the disabled), the development of the Internet Cafés at both the main campus and at the East campus, and the upgrading of the Staff Technology Resource Center .
Another notable improvement involves the college's Web site. Approximately two years ago, the college realized that its Web site, which had been designed by a consultant in the early days of web design, did not meet the needs of any major user group (faculty, staff, or current students), nor did it serve the intended user-the potential student-well. However, the college did not have the funds to hire an outside designer to redesign the site, which consisted of approximately 600 pages of information, much of it incoherently collected and listed. In 2003, the Public Information Officer, in conjunction with the Information Technology Department at the district office, undertook the full redesign of the site. Over a period of three months, this group redesigned the entire site for both appearance and ease of use. The site now contains more than 700 pages of current information. The group designed the site so that new students, potential students, faculty, and staff could all access needed information easily. The college now provides the entire catalog and schedule on its Web site, with the schedule provided in both Spanish and English.
The college also possesses the means to evaluate usage of the Web site. While no formal evaluative process exists, the email commentary system allows the college to receive and respond to questions within a 24-hour period. The site usage has escalated tremendously. In January 2002, the Web site received 78,270 total page views, an average of 2,899 per day. In January 2004, the college received 131,301 total page views, an average of 4,235 per day. The college now relies on the Web site as an accurate and efficient means of providing and disseminating information to the college community.
On campus, Ventura College provides its students and faculty with 21 computer-based labs that provide both direct instructional capability and supplemental access for students. The following areas provide labs:
Sciences (open lab)
Computer Science (2)
Assistive Technology Training Center
Computer Information Systems
Business Information Systems (2)
Geographic Information Systems
The library is currently open 64 hours per week, serving day and evening students. Additionally, students and faculty can electronically access the library on Ventura College 's Web site 24 hours a day from any Internet location. For those students who do not have computers at home, the college makes electronic access to the library available on campus from the Science Building, the Learning Center, the tutoring center, all campus computer labs that have Internet access, the Internet Café and the East Campus. In addition, Ventura College subscribes to various online database resources , including Gale's Literature Resource Center; Biography Resource Center and Opposing Viewpoints; Proquest's Research Library Complete; National Library Complete; CINAHL and Ethnic Newswatch; Grove's Art Online and Music Online; Wilson's General Science Index and Book Review Digest; Encyclopedia Britannica; Encyclopedia Universal en Espanol; CQ Researcher; and Title Source II for student and staff use.
The tutoring center also began providing a web-based tutorial service called Smarthinking in fall 2003 as a supplement-or another learning option-to existing tutoring services. Students may contact Smarthinking tutors from any Internet connection 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Smarthinking provides students access to real-time online tutoring and homework assistance for core courses such as math (basic math through calculus), economics (macro and micro), statistics, accounting, chemistry, English, and Spanish. Smarthinking offers students access to a "Live Writing Center" for real-time assistance in developing an idea, a thesis, content or in organizing concepts; access to the "Essay Center" where students can submit drafts of essays any time of the day and receive a review and feedback within 24 hours; and access to a live math tutor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or through pre-scheduled tutoring sessions. In addition, Smarthinking provides all students, including those who are taking classes at off-campus locations and/or online, individual tutoring 24 hours a day, seven days a week (IIC-15).
The Learning Center encompasses what previously were several computer labs, providing instructional software and Internet access to support student learning lab activities in reading, writing, study skills, foreign languages, nutrition, and astronomy. It also provides drop-in computer access for the college and offers software to assist students in completing activities such as research and term papers for their classes. The new Learning Resource Center (LRC) will include a 500-station computer lab, incorporating stations with technology to support students in English, reading, psychology, nursing, statistics and several foreign languages. The technology incorporates video streaming, online resources, and subject-specific laboratory resources. The college will expand the center's hours from 54 hours per week to 62 hours per week with the move into the new building. The college will staff the new LRC with two full-time lab technicians, student assistants, and a computer specialist. The opening of the new LRC also allows the college the opportunity to expand its assistive technology.
The campus decision-making process with regard to technology varies as much as the technology itself. College staff evaluates program specific technology with different criteria than they evaluate program technology that serves a broader audience. For example, staff members selecting software such as AutoCAD in the drafting and architecture programs, Maple in mathematics department, Final Cut Pro in the Multimedia program, and the associated hardware base their decisions on program-specific criteria and instructional needs. The college makes decisions relating to the investment in general technology, such as for administrative areas and general student support areas, through collegial discussions within the appropriate committees and/or councils, and generally receives funding via the commitment of block grants or instructional equipment funds. The college has revitalized its Technology Committee and created a new structure and charge, both of which faculty and staff are reviewing through its shared governance process (IIIC-5).
Due to the increasingly integrated nature of technology, the process for selecting and acquiring technology solutions has become more unique. In developing a technology-based response, the college conducts a series of typical activities: preliminary discussions with the end users/department to clarify the needs and breadth of the project; identification of potential hardware and/or software providers and, if appropriate, demonstrations of technology solutions; evaluation of alternative solutions involving department/end users as well as college and or district information technology staff; and administrative review to ensure that it meets program goals and remains fiscally practical. With both equipment/software acquisition and outsourcing to third party solutions, the college and district procurement processes include review and approval steps to ensure both compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and compatibility with college and district networks, systems, and standards.
Ventura College is committed to increasing its ability to provide services to students through distance education. Indicators of this commitment include the recent hiring of a full-time distance education coordinator, acquisition of the hardware and software for voice activated real-time closed captioning, and an institutional license for distance education course management software. Technological support for distance education from Learning Resources and Student Services includes the development and/or implementation of on-line tutoring, online library reference and research capabilities, online degree audit capabilities, and on-line orientation classes. Enrollment in distance education courses increased 66% in the last year, a clear indication of the success of our development efforts for these courses (IIIC-6). To help ensure that the reliability, security, and disaster recovery capabilities appropriately support an expanding distance education program, Ventura College contracted with the California Virtual College, Region 2, to host the majority of our distance education classes on the their servers because technical support staff is more readily available to address any problems. Campus technology facilities (Web servers, High Speed-45Mb- Internet connection, and open computer labs), in conjunction with districtwide Student Services Web Portal, also help provide a strong support base for distance learning programs and courses.
The college has built redundancy into the campus network and technology facilities and it serves as an important consideration in the planning of additional campus structures provided for by the passage of "Measure S," the local bond measure. In most instructional laboratories, the college employs backup technology that provides images of computer configurations to refresh computers to their original configuration each time they are turned on. Additionally, the college implemented firewall security between Internet access points and campus networks and between instructional and administrative technology facilities and subsystems. The college protects student records in a secure firewalled district datacenter and stores backups of student data at a secure off-site data vault facility.
The college has progressed significantly since the last accreditation in the acquisition and deployment of technology in support of its goals and objectives. The college has expanded and improved computing, telecommunications, and duplication capabilities. However, with program and discipline assessment and planning for technology varying greatly, the college has been unable to create an accurate overview of the technology needs of the campus although for some sub-areas such as distance education, we possess a good understanding of where we stand in regard to resources and support mechanisms (IIIC-7).
Although the college, as described above, conducts most new technology efforts in collaboration with the college and district Information Technology (IT) staff, there remain sporadic exceptions that may lead to incompatibility issues or technical support problems. Increased awareness of this potential problem has led the college to include the vice chancellor of IT as a member of the Ventura College Administrative Council, and the college forwards technology requisitions to the district's IT department for review.
- The Technology Committee will reassess the technology procurement and development/deployment processes to ensure compatibility and avoid redundancy.
- The college will explore and develop mechanisms to extract the technology information from both the unit planning process and program review and will consolidate it to provide a more comprehensive overview of the status of technology on the campus. The college will charge the Technology Committee with developing and maintaining a campus wide technology plan.
b. The institution provides quality training in the effective application of its information technology to students and personnel.
Ventura College provides a wide range of information technology training to its students. Additionally, the college specifically trains students in technology for a number of academic and vocational programs. They include the following areas:
Art (digital design)
Business Information Systems (general applications software)
Computer Information Systems (Oracle and Cisco networking)
Computer Science (Hardware/Software theory and languages)
Geography (Geographic Information Systems)
Manufacturing Technology (Computer Numerical Control)
Multimedia (web, video, animation and gaming)
Photography (digital photography)
To provide more "real world" experiences, the college awards course credit for students enrolled in work experience/internships in Computer Information Systems (paid and unpaid), as well as in other technology-related disciplines. To assist students upgrading their skills or entering into a new career, the college developed partnerships in the local community with businesses including, but not limited to, the County of Ventura , the City of Oxnard , and the Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD). Due to the increasing demand for work experience, the college has placed many students on campus to gain experience in areas of technology (e.g. networking and security, computer maintenance, repair, installation, application and web site development, and system administration). A group of interns working with a true business application developed a curriculum management database system that would allow faculty and administrators to develop and manage the college curriculum in a web-based environment. Faculty, staff, and students received recognition for this effort at the Community College League of California Annual Convention in November 2002 with the "Celebrating the Way California Learns" Award (IIIC-7). To support students in the distance education program, the college developed and implemented an online orientation course to help train students to employ the technologies associated with distance education. The recent hiring of a Distance Education Coordinator will help ensure further development of technology training for distance education students and staff.
The college also provides training to students in area-specific laboratories through instructional orientations. Librarians, for instance, provide instruction to students on how to conduct research using library full-text online database resources. Staff members also provide orientations in the Foreign Language Lab, Learning Center , and Tutoring Center .
The college bases staff training in technology both on the technology changes that are occurring/planned and on the expressed needs of the staff. To identify staff interests/needs, the college established a task force, "The Red Team," to conduct a survey of faculty and staff technology training interests. The college utilized the results in the planning and implementation of the flex day activities for faculty and staff (IIIC-9, IIIC-10). In addition, the Staff Development Committee awarded technology mini-grants to faculty and staff utilizing Telecommunications and Technology Infrastructure Program funding.
Distance education, both as a primary instructional modality and as supplemental instruction, has proven of increasing interest to the faculty and staff. The Title 5 Cooperative grant that supports distance education provided the resources to train faculty and staff via both external training and onsite training classes in the use of course management systems for the development and deployment of online course content (IIIC-11).
College staff has shown particular interest in the 1999 deployment of the Banner system for student data, schedule, registration, human resources, fiscal management, and faculty support within the district. The District Service Center provided extensive training, first to lead campus personnel, and then to those individuals who served as facilitators. There is also a campus resource for the training of additional administrative personnel. Lead personnel created step-by-step documentation, which was distributed during training and is posted on the district technology Web site. The district continually updates and disseminates documentation to support Banner. Additionally, the district regularly upgrades, modifies, and enhances the Banner system, so the district and the colleges ensure that the documentation remains current (IIIC-12, IIIC-13).
Lead campus specialists on Banner provide on-campus training and retraining for administrative assistants at least once a year since Banner's implementation. The administrative assistants input class schedule information, faculty load, extra-hourly pay information, and departmental budgets.
The college holds day long, hands-on structured training in one of the computer labs whenever the district implements system changes. This type of session provides the advantage of allowing for questions and feedback from the staff using the system. Unknown problems come to light, as do ideas on how to improve the system. The college provides one-on-one training to all new staff and on an as-needed basis to all staff.
The college conducted special training sessions when the district introduced Faculty Central, the on-line faculty service interface to the Banner system. Over a two-year period, the college provided day and evening training sessions during its Flex Week activities (IIIC-10). The registrar has created detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to access rosters, faculty schedules, student information, and how to submit grades and drop students. The registrar updates the instructions as the district develops new systems (IIIC-14, IIIC-15).
The effectiveness of training personnel on the Banner student management system has resulted in many improvements. Class schedules contain fewer errors and take less time to input, review, and print; fewer conflicts in room scheduling occur; student registration runs more efficiently; and more students enroll online (IIIC-16). Additionally, Banner provides students real-time access to their course grades; schedule information, including times, days, locations; and student business office accounts. In the area of fiscal management, the college has trained staff outside the fiscal services offices to obtain up-to-date reports, initiate the requisitioning/acquisition process, track the procurement process, and manage departmental resources.
In the past, the Telecommunications and Technology Infrastructure Program (TTIP) funding from the chancellor's office provided a large portion of the resources for staff training in technology. Since the discontinuation of this funding, carry-over funds and categorical funding, both of which are insufficient, provide the only resources to meet the need for staff training. The federal Title 5 Cooperative grant will continue to support training for distance education activities, but alternate sources of funding need to be identified.
- The college will explore alternative funding sources for technology training and provide increased levels of training when it becomes feasible to do so.
c. The institution systematically plans, acquires, maintains, and upgrades or replaces technology infrastructure equipment to meet institutional needs.
The college acquires new and replacement equipment to ensure a high level of technology currency, especially in labs. Individual departments and programs periodically conduct program review and update their unit plans to include changes in technology. Programs and departments employ processes appropriate to their goals and operations to fund and support the technology they employ. Due to present budget constraints, the college has effectively replaced or upgraded technology by cascading hardware and software from high-end and/or well-funded programs to other areas that require a lesser level of technology and/or that are unable to fund new technology.
Information technology support staff exists in most instructional labs to help ensure functionality and reliability. Ventura College employs three classified staff members in information technology, and each has a wide range of responsibilities. Staff also exists to support administrative computing. This non-instructional technology support consists of one classified computer technician.
In both instructional and administrative areas, requests/needs for technology support flow continually. Some individuals make informal requests such as approaching a technician and asking, "Can you help me out with . . . , " and the service/support takes place on the spot. If resolved, the technician rarely documents or accounts for these requests. For formal requests for technology support, administration, staff, and faculty utilize a work order system. This system allows for the logging of requests, prioritization, and, assuming appropriate support staff is available, timely resolution of problems. The work request system allows the campus to see recurring problems, identify out-of-date systems, and, therefore, prioritize equipment replacement and upgrades. The college Work Order Report for 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 documents the scope of requests received (IIIC-17).
The college describes its maintenance/operational support for audiovisual technology in the learning resources section of the self-study (IIC), and the college generally outsources photocopying maintenance via a maintenance contract.
A combination of college staff and district telecommunications engineers support the college's technology infrastructure. The college and district have established a relatively clear delineation of responsibility. The district's information technology staff, for example, handles the telephone communications technology and data network infrastructure above the level of switches. In close cooperation with the district information technology staff, the college developed significant redundancy within the college infrastructure to ensure system reliability. In addition, the college deployed battery backup systems and generator backup for critical components in the event of extended power outages.
The district centrally funds core equipment related to intercampus connectivity. In the past, for example, the district provided specific project related funding for the installation and maintenance of the Banner system. In addition, the college has obtained funding from the state via scheduled maintenance project submissions.
A joint effort by the district's Information Technology Department and the college funded backbone equipment. Donations from local corporate partners such as Amgen and Countrywide supplied, and continue to supply, significant equipment in this regard. The college initially acquired network equipment using state building funds and then used local campus or donated equipment to provide for maintenance and upgrade.
Designated TTIP funds provide for all Internet connections and related electronics at this point.
Although college faculty and staff are well aware of the importance of having up-to-date equipment and infrastructure, fiscal constraints have inhibited the college's ability to acquire equipment and provide the level of technology support desired by the faculty and staff. The college's ability to deploy and maintain equipment and infrastructure was seriously impacted by the 2003 elimination of the TTIP funding as well as the lack of state instructional equipment support. The college provided all administrative personnel new systems with the migration to Banner in 1999. However, many of those systems are now outdated. College staff do not submit work orders because the systems are still working, but the technology has advanced significantly in five years, making the use of Banner for student, fiscal, and human resources systems slow and cumbersome.
Although several areas of the college have been consistently successful in obtaining external funding to support technology acquisition, technical support continues to pose a serious problem in instructional, student services, and administrative areas. The staffing level for computer and network technology support is significantly deficient in comparison with appropriate standards (IIIC-18). As a result of meetings with the appropriate technology support staff and administrators, the college has achieved some improvement in computer support for the campus through the use of student workers and increased cooperative efforts by the technical staff. However, the college is clearly deficient in the level of technology support staffing.
- The college will explore alternative funding sources to support technology acquisition, deployment, and support.
- The college will explore ways to increase the number of technology staff as part of its planning and resource allocation process.
- The college will review its current support request and fulfillment processes and implement feasible improvements.
d. The distribution and utilization of technology resources support the development, maintenance, and enhancement of its programs and services.
Ventura College and the VCCCD at large understand the need for a strong, dynamic infrastructure to ensure support for existing technology requirements and expandability for inevitable new technologies and campus expansion. The college and district understand, too, that with the resources available through the passage of Bond Measure "S" there has never been a more opportune and critical time to analyze existing campus infrastructure and strategically plan for the future.
As a consequence, the district has undertaken an infrastructure audit project to review and document existing infrastructure in detail as a basis to strategically plan for future technology and campus expansion. For Ventura College , the oldest campus in the district, this type of planning will prove especially significant, as renovation of existing structures will take place in addition to new construction. The district released a Request for Proposal (RFP) to retain an engineering firm to perform the needed review, documentation, and planning detailed above (IIIC-19). The district subsequently selected a firm, and the project should be completed by June 2004. This project will, as stated above, document existing infrastructure and lay the groundwork for strategic infrastructure planning for all future campus needs. The college plans to make the new Learning Resources Center (LRC) an important concentration of technology and a component of the network backbone. Additionally, in the planning for the building program enabled through the Measure S bond initiative, the district established technology infrastructure and requirements as an important consideration.
To help ensure the security and reliability of the college and district networks and systems, the college and district have developed appropriate policies and procedures. Ventura College has developed an Internet Use Policy (IIIC-20), and the Academic Senates, the Classified Senates, and the administrations at each college are reviewing a VCCCD Electronic Communications Policy draft prior to it being forwarded to the board of trustees for approval (IIIC-21).
The college derives resources to support technology from a wide range of sources. Most recently, the college has received significant portions of the funding from the following:
- State Instructional and Library Equipment grants
- Vocational and Technical Education Act (VATEA)
- Competitive grants (e.g., Economic Development, Title 5)
The college has depended on external grants in developing its distance education support technology. An Economic Development grant from the state enabled the college to acquire webcasting capacity, and the current Title 5 cooperative grant has provided the hardware and software for real-time voice recognition, closed captioning and course management software licensing.
In general, Ventura College and the district have built and support strong infrastructure components, networks, and telecommunications systems despite the current fiscal climate. However, the district's recent evaluation of the telephone system resulted in the decision to replace the system (scheduled for the summer of 2005).
A large proportion of Ventura College 's buildings, and, therefore, the related conduits, were built/installed in the 1950s and need replacement. The college will address this issue following the infrastructure audit and will at least partially support the needed replacements with Measure S bond funding.
In the past decade, the college replaced four major classroom buildings with the new Science and LRC buildings. Over the next five to seven years, the college will replace another nine antiquated classroom buildings with four larger buildings. The college will place a high priority on technology infrastructure in each of these projects.
The costs of replacing equipment, maintaining currency in software releases, and addressing the ever-increasing needs of instructional and student support services has long since exceeded the available resources of the college and the district. As a result, the college's maintenance and development of computer technology-based activities has produced a harlequin pattern of achievement based upon differential funding availability. Categorical funding and/or other special circumstances have more frequently enabled some areas to progress to state-of-the-art levels than has collegewide planning and allocation of general apportionment funding. Although cascading of equipment has helped the college upgrade some equipment, it does not constitute an adequate replacement strategy to completely meet the needs of the college.
The college incurs substantial operating costs to operate multiple computer laboratories for student drop-in use. The opening of the new Learning Resource Center with its large computer "beach" will help mitigate the need for open lab access elsewhere on campus. The college will then be able to utilize these laboratories for direct class instruction.
- Complete the planned replacement of the telephone system for the college
- Develop a comprehensive equipment replacement strategy for implementation upon funding availability
- Explore ways to support the information technology infrastructure, including options yielding replacement costs that would be predictable and independent of individual departmental budgets
2. Technology planning is integrated with institutional planning. The institution systematically assesses the effective use of technology resources and uses the results of evaluation as the basis for improvement.
The college carries out technology planning and support in the context of its well-developed planning process. Program Review and Unit Plans serve as important parts of this process. Within the context of the college mission and the college's Educational Master Plan, individual unit program reviews conducted by the staff within the unit help determine the needs and priorities for technology required to address the goals and objectives of the unit. College faculty and staff, in turn, incorporate these priorities into the unit plans, and they forward requests for facilities, staff, equipment and other resources accordingly. Examples of the institution's responsiveness to the changing needs of our service include the development of heavily technological and intensive programs in Cisco networking, geographic information systems (GIS), Oracle, and Multimedia.
The college has implemented the Facilities Oversight Group (FOG) to help plan the organized development of the campus to reflect the mission and goals of the college. The college has specifically designated facilities for technology as major portions of several planned projects (e.g., planetarium digital systems and the Advanced Technology Building computer labs).
The VCCCD Information Technology (IT) Department continuously collects and evaluates data on the utilization of telecommunications and data systems. The college employs these data in the design and deployment of system improvements/replacements. In contrast to individual departments/programs where area personnel-largely unit specific-evaluate and plan, representatives of the respective district sites review campus and districtwide technology, hardware, and infrastructure. An excellent example of this representative review exists in the process employed in assessing the need for modifications to the Banner system software where lead personnel from each of the sites work with the district IT staff to prioritize needs and develop specifications for improvements. This process has led to many improvements in the Banner applications employed by the college. With the increasing reliance on network and telecommunications, the college and district recognize the need for developing and implementing policies and procedures that help ensure efficiency and effectiveness. To this end, the district is finalizing a new Electronic Communications Policy through the appropriate shared governance process (IIIC-21).
The college recognizes the need for standardized and robust software for general computing and possesses a collegewide license for a wide range of Microsoft software. This standardization enables a more effective internal operation and, in addition, provides staff and students the opportunity to acquire software that is compatible with the campus standard for their home use.
Although the college through program review and the unit planning process, includes technology as an important consideration in its internal evaluation, the college has not specifically addressed it in a clearly defined manner. The reconfiguration of the Technology Committee and completion of the campus Technology Plan will help address this issue. However, the current and short term fiscal projections for the district and the state suggest that there will be a very significant shortfall in the funding necessary to conduct the operations of the college, much less meet the needs for technology. As a consequence, the college needs to carefully assess the needs for technology and the degree to which these needs are being met in a more clearly defined way.
- Establish a mechanism for evaluating the success of technology planning, implementation and impact
- Complete and update annually the Technology Plan for the college
List of Documents:
|IIIC-1||Ventura College Educational Master Plan|
|IIIC-2||Program Review Template|
|IIIC-3||Unit Planning Utility|
|IIIC-5||Technology Committee Structure and Charge|
|IIIC-6||2002-2003 Distance Education Comparison|
|IIIC-7||Distance Learning Plan|
|IIIC-8||Celebrating the way California LEARNS|
|IIIC-9||VC Technology Staff Development Report|
|IIIC-10||Tech-related Flex Workshops|
|IIIC-11||Title 5 Coop Training Activities|
|IIIC-12||Sample Banner Instruction Sets|
|IIIC-13||VCCCD Web site Banner Documentation|
|IIIC-14||Faculty Student Reg/Records Instructions|
|IIIC-15||Part-time Faculty Orientation Flyers|
|IIIC-16||Use of Web-based Student System|
|IIIC-15||Part-time Faculty Orientation Flyers|
|IIIC-16||Use of Web-based Student System|
|IIIC-17||Computer Service Requests Reports 2002-2004|
|IIIC-18||COCCC Technology Standards|
|IIIC-19||VCCCD Districtwide Infrastructure Study|
|IIIC-20||Ventura College Internet Use Policy|
|IIIC-21||VCCCD Electronic Communications Systems and Services Policy|