Harold's Synopsis of

Technology, Learning and Community (TLC) by Mark Milliron and Cindy Miles and

Reaching for the Future by Patricia Carter and Richard Alfred

Technology, Learning and Community (TLC) presents a study on the use of information technology in community colleges. The authors combine focus groups of award winning teachers with a survey. Focus groups developed seven theme areas: technology for student application production; technology for student driven learning; technology for presentation; technology for communication and interactions; technology for research and reference; technology for course management; and, technology for assessment. There were 1670 out of 6958 faculty that responded to surveys sent out to National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) award winners. The authors emphasize an "information technology revolution" which is "transforming the educational enterprise." The authors call the web "powerful new tools to improve student learning" and highlight "asynchronous learning." They refer to "the learning revolution" and its absence in most mission statements. They note the difficulty of keeping faculty and staff "up to speed" with technology and that it does require a real time investment. They note the danger of using the technology just for its novelty. They highlight a "putting the big things in first" approach, but do admit to a large expense caused by computer maintenance and failure problems. They emphasize the need for "maintaining the human touch." They conclude with suggestions. For technology: ensure students have access, expand access to "asynchronous" mode, provide training to faculty, improve communications between students and faculty, foster use of internet, and explore use in course management and assessment. For learning: develop information technology literacy, enable faculty to use technology effectively, catalog and showcase usage to faculty, use faculty as mentors to students/faculty and encourage students to take control of their learning. For community: deal with costs openly/honestly, provide access and support to all, avoid changes during semester, fix things quickly, listen to all comments and never lose human touch.

Reaching for the Future presents a view of "transformation on community college campuses." Readers need definitions of terms. "'In the box' strategies are small improvements or solutions that allow colleges to gradually change by tinkering with what they have done in the past." "'Out of the box' strategies are unorthodox or maverick approaches to change that take colleges beyond their existing limits by employing radical solutions." Both are considered to be unsatisfactory, and a compromise referred to as "stretch" is highlighted as a bridge between the "operational change" and "framebreaking change." Interestingly, both OC and FC are mentioned as leading to chaos, or worse, polarization and resentment. The "stretch" strategies are viewed as a way of making changes for an ever changing future while keeping a firm grip on the past and its strengths. Numerous examples are provided, with OC and FC examples, concluding with a "stretch strategy." Ultimate goals are stated as relating to: becoming learner based, rethinking structure, systems and culture, redefining roles, and redefining community relationships. Stretch strategies are presented for each category. For learning center approach they include: moving from leadership to stewardship, developing college wide focus on learning, developing an organizational learning plan. Stretch strategies for redefining roles include: defining core staff needs and exploring contractual relationships for non-core functions. Stretch strategies for redefining community relationships are all centered around the use of technology: creating a climate for adopting technology and becoming intra- and entre-preneurial to address cost issues. The monograph concludes by emphasizing a "tapestry of change." Colleges must compare "market needs" to resources and identify the gaps. This can be accomplished by "breaking change down into multiple dimensions" and using both "in the box" and "out of the box" strategies. Ultimately, colleges are said to need to "reach for the future through a continuing process of change, while maintaining the present and honoring the past."