Technology Facilitated Innovative
Instruction and Enhanced Institutional
Efficiency and Communication
Advances in technological applications and infrastructure across the campus reached new heights of efficiency and accessibility during FY11. In particular, great strides were made to boost the functionality of the college’s portal (my.mtsac.edu), and new features were added to facilitate better communication with students and employees. Notable progress was made over the past year to upgrade campus infrastructure to perform at lightning speed. Internet connection speeds have increased 10 fold, and Internet access capacity has increased 40 fold.
The all-important portal is the college’s primary communication platform for disseminating important and time-sensitive information to students. Both students and employees use the portal 24 hours a day every day. In the past year, they have spent more than 650,000 hours in the portal. The portal has enabled students to access a variety of services (like tutoring and orientation) remotely online.
Student support services comprised the primary use of technology in 2010-11. The Student Services Division and IT collaborated to implement new portal functionality for class enrollment “wait-listing.” When a desired class is full, students can now add themselves to the “wait list” and receive an electronic notification in their portal when a seat becomes available. Another portal-driven process implemented last year was the new drop-for-nonpayment process.
During enrollment periods, students who have not paid their fees are reminded of payment deadlines (via portal messages). The system automatically drops students from all of their classes if they miss the deadlines, thereby opening seats to students who are wait listed.
Additionally, technology played a major role in campus construction and continues to be incorporated in the planning and design process to facilitate innovative instruction. The Agricultural Sciences Building is a prime example of how new structures are being fitted with stateof- the-art technology to support instruction. The edifice is equipped with the latest technology to support the Veterinary Technician program’s operating and x-ray rooms as well as a 32-seat lab, where students can access landscape design software. Another example is the Business Division’s multi-classroom “virtual desktop” infrastructure, which allows a student access to 20 customized virtual desktops. The system has the capability of supporting the entire Business Division within the next two years.
Technology also played a key role in the college’s cost-saving efforts during 2010-11. The Payroll Department and IT, for example, partnered to develop the “electronic paystub.” An exact copy of an employee’s paystub is now available via PDF on the portal, thereby eliminating the need to mail statements to employees. IT also partnered with the Human Resources Department to implement an automated process for creating and e-mailing faculty contract letters, thus eliminating the need to mail them. These two process efficiencies alone will save the college approximately $25,000 in annual postage and printing costs. Mt. SAC also achieved similar cost savings in student communication by utilizing the more efficient portal and reducing the volume of mailings.
In late 2010, Mt. SAC implemented an emergency notification system to alert students and employees of campus incidents, natural disasters, and campus closures. Participants register via the portal and choose their preferred method of notification: text, cell phone, home phone, and/or e-mail. The system is tested several times throughout the year and is ready to alert the campus with emergency information and instructions.
Prospectively, we will continue to enhance the digital environment for the benefit of the total college community. Our strategy going forward is to continuously upgrade the infrastructure, make our processes more efficient across the college, strengthen campus communication, advance instructional technology, and expand on-demand student service applications.
Chief Technology Officer