NWACC’s IT department ranked 2nd in U.S.

BENTONVILLE — The information technology department at NorthWest Arkansas Community College ranked second nationally among community colleges in the “large colleges” category, according to Converge Online and e.Republic’s Center for Digital Education.

The “large colleges” category is for colleges with 10,000 or more students on campus. Last year, NWACC ranked sixth on the “mid-sized colleges” list.

“Members of our Information Technology department continue to outdo themselves,” said NWACC President Becky Paneitz. “Paige Francis, associate vice president for information technology, and her team continue to put the user experience as the number one priority and this recognition is a true testament to their hard work.”

According to results of the Digital Community Colleges Survey that were released in October, community colleges nationwide respond to increased enrollments and limited budgets through innovative use of technology.

Survey results show that 92% have expanded distance learning offerings online and 77% have increased online student services.  Survey results also show that 95% are now using social networking to reach out to students and 79% use YouTube, up by 14% from 2011.

“This survey gives great insight into the nation’s community colleges’ efforts to advance services to students through new technologies,” said Cathilea Robinett, executive vice president of e.Republic. “The winners in these categories have increased the number of computers and kiosks, automated labor-intensive processes, improved student portals and increased student online services and more.”

NWACC was recognized for its outstanding use and implementation of technology services across campus, according to a press release from the college.

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“This year alone, NWACC IT launched its mobile-themed technologies, upgraded its Blackboard distance learning platform and added a mobile charging station to its campus resources. Additionally, student, faculty, and staff surveys were utilized to get feedback on the tools and technology resources used and needed across campus,” the release reads.

The recent Educause student survey examined technology involvement in college curriculum and campus life, specifically documenting use of technology in online admissions processes, distance education, technology training for students and faculty, campus security alerts, use of Web 2.0 social and collaborative capabilities and online tutoring and advisory services.

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