(This feature article was originally submitted to national higher education publications in March.)
The technological tide is turning at Del Mar College, and advancements in the last year amount to a full-blown sea change. The objective: Give today’s tech-savvy students what they need when they need it – and make it available on whatever electronic device they may be using.
A slew of new, interactive projects, some completed and others in the pipeline, are making the college experience easier and more accessible than it’s ever been for students and prospective students.
“We’ve never had this many projects launched in one calendar year,” said August Alfonso, Chief Information Officer at the College. “Collectively, we’re defining the prominence of technology at Del Mar College.”
After all, 60 percent of Internet activity is wireless and increasing, Alfonso said.
A major change
The College took the first step toward this technological revolution a year and a half ago by directing the Information Technology Department to put College resources at students’ fingertips.
“They asked us to maximize high-tech and high-touch, with the no. 1 goal being access to Del Mar College,” Alfonso said. “We know students have the devices. We want to allow them to use our resources. This is a major change.”
Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is the infrastructure behind the change. It isn’t so much a technology as it is a guiding principle aimed at making academic activities possible on any device 24/7. Any student with a browser, whether on a smart phone, tablet or laptop, has access to the College.
BYOD’s inception paved the way for a succession of forward-thinking projects. Viking Net, a wifi network designed specifically for students, enables them to surf the Internet, check email and do anything else online with their own device. (The Viking is the Del Mar College mascot.) Where the student goes, access follows.
“I use it for entertainment and to do research for my classes,” said Hilliary Herrera, 20, a nursing education major, as she browsed Viking Net on her tablet. “It’s very useful when I can’t get to a computer.”
To read the rest of this feature story, click here.
IN THE PHOTO: With the implementation of a new wifi network emanating from traffic intersections, Del Mar College students like Cecily Ensley can access Viking Net on any mobile device anywhere in Corpus Christi.