A Publication of WTVP

In November Illinois Central College will offer online enrollment for the first time. While this may not seem like a milestone achievement, it represents a fundamental change in how we do business at the college. It’s one of the most significant steps in leveraging current technologies to serve our students. The new system will allow students who have an application on file to enroll in classes from remote stations. A student who has access can choose classes and build his or her schedule from a computer with an Internet connection at virtually any time of day.

In a lot of ways we’ve come to take for granted the technologies we have and use at Illinois Central College. We have computer-assisted drawing and design programs for our engineering and architectural students. We have programmed learning in special labs that helps students review and learn subjects like accounting. We use computerized tests for placement, so students take the classes best suited for their needs. Every student and faculty member has an e-mail account and can communicate rapidly through electronic means. These are only a few of our student applications of technology.

Many of our instructors use a program called “Blackboard.” This program, whether used for our more than 60 Internet courses or for regular “face-to-face” classes, allows class assignments and notes to be posted for future reference. It lets faculty enter grades online, and students can see their grades in real time. Our instructional technology center creates animated graphics that illustrate complex concepts visually that can appear on “Blackboard” for students to study.

The ICC library allows students to search thousands of journals and books online. Students can access and search databases from the library or at home. Many of these journals appear in full text so the student can immediately print the articles for later reference. Students also can search the entire card catalog of ICC online. They can find and reserve books they need for projects, as well as make requests for books from other libraries. ICC also has thousands of e-books. Students can check out these volumes without ever touching a real book. They simply read the book on their computer screen using a downloadable e-reader program.

ICC has several computer labs for students who don’t have computers at home. These computer labs have trained monitors who can help students get up to speed on programs and computer use. And, if students have problems with any of the ICC technologies, they can call a help desk, which operates from early morning to late at night.

ICC also has multiple “smart” classrooms. These classrooms allow faculty to show videos, project computer screens for viewing, link into national broadcasts, and project three-dimensional objects on large screens for students to see. The smart classrooms give faculty the latitude to incorporate technology in as many ways as can be imagined. In addition to these smart classrooms, ICC has the ability to broadcast classroom sessions from the main campus to select remote sites or to participate in videoconferencing.

And through the Teaching and Learning Center, ICC works with faculty to develop new ways to use technology to help students learn.

When we look at all the technology we use at the college every day, online enrollment seems like the next logical step for using technology to serve our students. IBI