Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What is your Idea of the University?

We have been exploring important questions and issues in higher education, as well as possible solutions and and new ideas that might shape the future of higher educational institutions like Mohawk Valley Community College. Perhaps the most common theme in the "solutions" category is disruption, or disruptive innovation, which describes the process by which technology enables new entrants to provide goods and services that are more accessible and eventually replace (or disrupt) already established competitors.

This week's post proposes five models of innovation in higher education that might expand our idea of what an institution of higher education should be. Read the article here and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

IT and the Campus of the Future

This week, we continue the conversation on what the future of technology could look like at a college campus, specifically at Mohawk Valley Community College. How can colleges stay nimble and ahead of the curve when it comes to technology when the technology is changing as fast — or faster — than the plan and infrastructure can be built?

Colleges across the country are trying to figure it out.
For example, Cornell Tech — a collaboration between Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology — is working on "the creation of an institution dedicated to technological innovation, academic experimentation, and the kind of serial flexibility those two principles require," or "'the chameleon campus,' a space where interchangeability permeates everything." But as with any long-term building project, technology keeps advancing, and no one knows where we will be technologically when the campus is complete.

Read about the project here, keeping in mind the following questions. We appreciate your feedback in the comments below.
  • What role can the employees of MVCC play in utilizing Information Technology in the most effective way possible, to benefit both students and administration?
  • To what extent are our initiatives sustainable in terms of financial and human resources?
  • How are our programs and practices synergistic in developing a campus culture for students and staff?

Monday, October 10, 2016

IT Plan: Is Technology the Chicken or the Egg?

Technology is present throughout MVCC supporting our students’ Learning and Administrative needs. The processes for our faculty and staff serving our students, more often than not, also involve technology.

As we use and evaluate our processes, or perhaps build new processes, do we take the approach of “What can technology do for the process?” or do we look at it in the inverse: “How can we fit the process into the technology?”

What processes could be modified or added and how might technology play a role?
What is the role of the end-user in technology planning?
Are we involving a wide enough constituency in our planning?

This post is designed to take a look at the College’s inaugural Three-Year Information Technology Plan. Please give it a review here, keeping in mind the questions posed above, and perhaps respond with questions of your own. We’d love to hear your feedback on technology process/design and the planning process in front of it all.

So ... What comes first?
The chicken or the egg?
The technology or the process?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

MVCC's Information Technology Plan

The Information Technology Council at MVCC was charged with developing a three-year rolling Information Technology Plan in order for the College to provide students, faculty, and staff with up-to-date, reliable computer- and telecommunication-based resources for effective instruction, as well as the management and reporting of data related to student service, administrative, and financial transactions.

The Plan demonstrates MVCC's commitment to long-term planning dealing with a wide range of technologies. It is important to keep MVCC moving nimbly into the future, offering students the state-of-the-art technology and information systems that are key to their education. While the plan is still considered a "draft," the Hawk Vision Council is posting it here for your input. What do you think about this plan? Do you think it will help move MVCC in the right direction now and in the future? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Draft of the MVCC Information Technology Strategic Plan

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Improving efficiency key to future success

Corporate America relies on efficiencies to drive its profits. While Walmart has its critics, it is ubiquitously seen as a master of efficiency. Walmart’s focus on efficient business practices are even reflected in its merchandise shipping procedures. By using 27 different boxes, as compared to the 12 it has historically used, the company has been able to decrease the total volume of boxes it ships by one-third. Needless to say, with a company the size of Walmart, this has resulted in tremendous cost savings.

With this in mind, MVCC is looking for ways to improve efficiency in all areas of the institution to make it easier for us to move successfully into the future. Do you have ideas or suggestions? Please share them in the comments below.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Higher Education: Not What It Used to Be?

Hawk Vision is back, and we are ready to talk about higher education.

This week, we ask, is higher education not what it used to be? Is a college education still worth the time, effort, and resulting debt?
Take a moment to read this article from The Economist, and weigh in with your thoughts (you can post them in the comments section below). We are hoping to explore efficiencies and inefficiencies at MVCC, and how they might affect students' experiences and outcomes.

In particular, we would like this article to initiate a discussion regarding our efficiencies and inefficiencies:
  • What policies/procedures does MVCC have in place that lead to efficiencies?
  • What policies/procedures does MVCC have in place that lead to inefficiencies?
  • What policies/procedures could be changed to improve efficiencies?
  • Is focusing on institutional efficiency worth the effort? 

Monday, November 2, 2015


The Internet of Things is happening all around us, and it has been for some time now. It is a movement to connect physical things to the Internet and to each other through wireless technologies to form a seamless, coherent experience  ( The future of the Internet of Things raises questions regarding big data and what we do with it. There is much discussion about how everything connects through wireless technology, but what happens with all the data that gets collected? Is there a place for the Internet of Things in higher education? And if so, what? 
According to a white paper written by software company Oracle (“This paper provides an overview for the adoption of Big Data and analytic capabilities as part of a ‘next-generation’ architecture that can meet the needs of higher education institutions”) on enterprise architecture, “Institutions have traditionally measured students by grades and attendance. Students facing severe academic challenges are often recognized too late. Many institutions are now starting to look at Big Data solutions to better understand student sentiment (gathered from social media) and other aspects of the campus life experience. For example, sensors in buildings enable tracking of students and the time that they spend in the classroom, in their dormitory, in the cafeteria, or in the library. The effectiveness of their instructor can be partly determined by analysis of student sentiment. Problems can be detected and corrected earlier, with less dire consequences for all involved.” (For the complete report, click here.) Although written and researched by a for-profit company, the implication of the direction of one of the largest data companies is staggering. 
So does the Internet of Things begin to quantify our students? Can we use the examples of a quantified self to increase student performance and completion? What is quantified self and what data are used to quantify one’s self? Currently the trend in quantified self is using personal data, such as fitness trackers, calorie counters, etc., to track one’s fitness and health. According to the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), “Quantified Self describes the phenomenon of consumers being able to closely track data that is relevant to their daily activities through the use of technology.” It is enabled by wearable technology and the mobile web. This is a notable trend because it gives us a glimpse of what our daily lives will be like in the near future, in which many of the emerging technologies that we are just getting used to – the mobile, big data, wearable technology – will come together for a seamless consumer experience. (Full article
Only when the Internet of Things, quantified self, and big data come together in a student profile can we begin to understand how much impact the data can have on higher education. In the near future, we will have to address how these three come together to better aid our students in study habits, health habits, and academic planning to truly enhance the entire student experience. The future beyond big data will be the true quantified self through learning experiences, and competency-based education through just-in-time learning and creating a fully quantified self that will serve as an e-portfolio of a person’s true qualifications and ability. The future of higher education will be credentialing competency-based education, experiential learning, and lifelong learning. Self-tracking websites such as LinkedIn ( give us a peek into the future and the quantified self. 
Do you have any comments or questions about the Internet of Things and the quantified self? Hawk Vision would love to hear from you! Share your thoughts with us at