Inland Empire/Desert Region Community Colleges Set to Experience Cost Savings and Educational Expansion
Stakeholders throughout the Inland Empire/Desert Region are working together to bring virtual, cloud-based labs to its twelve community colleges. This effort has been driven by Susanne Mata, the Regional Director of Employer Engagement for the ICT-Digital Media sector, with planning, design, vendor selection and implementation being coordinated by SynED, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting innovation in education.
Traditionally, students have practiced computer networking and security skills at a centralized physical lab (and equipment) or a limited virtual lab appliance at their educational institution. An external service providing a turn-key virtualized environment that is identical to the corresponding physical environment will decrease the need for high-cost physical labs yet provide open virtualized environments that let students experience the real-life scenarios that are so critical in educating for technical careers.
“Our region is committed to serving local business by preparing the 21st century workforce needed to support economic growth,” said Dr. Melody Graveen, Dean of Instruction, Career and Technical Education, Moreno Valley College. “We are excited to participate in regional projects of this type that are designed to support equitable access to high-quality educational pathways and resources for our students.
The IE/Desert region desired to implement Labs as a Service (LaaS) with 24×7 support for faculty and students, third-party licensing bundled within the lab course, and a service level agreement (SLA) in place for availability and security thus eliminating much of the campus-based overhead.
Practice Labs, the selected vendor stood apart from its competitors because of its proven ability to provide a pool of shared licenses for use by all 12 colleges in the region, integration with Canvas and other learning management systems and 24/7/365 helpdesk for students and faculty. LTI integration allows for seamless and secure communication with Learning Management systems and gives students single sign-on access to all the tools they need in one place. In addition, it substantially saves time for faculty in managing their classes and grading students work.
“This project would not have been possible without the dedication of key individuals from our Inland Empire colleges including faculty, administrators and staff,” said Mata. “I am so pleased to be able to work with so many fine professionals willing to give of their time, energy and talent for the betterment of our region, students and communities. Throughout this project I have been reminded of something Henry Ford said; Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
The initial pilot scope will be limited to three colleges. The pilot project will continue throughout the coming calendar year adding additional colleges as they are ready. As the pilot program gains traction it can be expanded to include other sectors and K-12 schools. For additional information, contact Susanne Mata at firstname.lastname@example.org