The Midwest Centre for Information Tech

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The Successful Evolution of a Four State Virtual IT Program : 

1 The Successful Evolution of a Four State Virtual IT Program The Midwest Center for Information Technology NSF Funded: 2001-2008

Grant Agency : 

2 Grant Agency National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Program Division of Undergraduate Education Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education Regional Center of Excellence in Information Technology Education

National Science Foundation (NSF) Background : 

3 National Science Foundation (NSF) Background The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program began in 1992. Competitive proposals are solicited on a periodic basis. NSF funds ~ 25% of proposals. Proposals are evaluated, scored, and successful proposals are funded. FY 2006-NSF awarded 218 grants totaling 82.4 million dollars.

Planning and Collaboration : 

4 Planning and Collaboration The concept was developed by the Applied Information Management Institute (AIM) in collaboration with Regional Community College Administrators. An agreement was reached based upon NSF guidance and funding, along with in-kind support from the participating Community Colleges. The highly successful, replicable Midwest Center for Information Technology (MCIT) was implemented in 2001 continuing through August of 2008.

Midwest Center for Information Technology (MCIT) : 

5 Midwest Center for Information Technology (MCIT) AIM Institute (fiscal agent, project leadership and direction) (NE) Central Community College (NE) Iowa Western Community College (IA) Metropolitan Community College (NE) Mid-Plains Community College (NE) Northeast Community College (NE) North Dakota Community College (ND) Southeast Community College (NE) Southeast Technical Institute (SD) Western Iowa Tech Community College (IA) Western Nebraska Community College (NE)

Key Personnel : 

6 Key Personnel Dennis Kirlin, Principal Investigator Jeanne Surface, Project Director Jeff Watne, Co-PI, Chair, CIS Department North Dakota State College of Science John Jeanetta, Co-PI, VP of Research and Planning, AIM Institute Tom Pensabene, Co-PI, Dean of Computer and Visual Arts, Metropolitan Community College

Slide 7: 

Applied Information Management Institute Community Colleges

Successful MCIT Elements : 

8 Successful MCIT Elements Applied Information Management Institute (AIM) a non- profit organization (501c3) serves as the fiscal agent and provides overall leadership of the project, leadership to principal investigators and site coordinators as well as programmatic resources for MCIT. College Administration at all ten colleges provide personnel, program and fiscal support. Midwest Educational Technology Services (METS) , the External Evaluation team, was selected and participated in all MCIT activities beginning at it’s inception

Successful MCIT Elements : 

9 Successful MCIT Elements Each college selected Site Coordinators to provide on-site leadership and to serve as a communications conduit between MCIT and the college. Site Coordinators became a cohesive cohort willing to share best practices and innovations between and among the colleges. Site Coordinators assumed a collective role of mutual problem solving.

Successful MCIT Elements : 

10 Successful MCIT Elements Grant Funding was distributed to colleges on an equal basis. Each college has the authority to spend and manage grant funds according to their own needs within NSF guidelines. Competition among the ten colleges developed into collaboration. MCIT became a “synergistic educational community”.

Successful MCIT Elements : 

11 Successful MCIT Elements On-site Communication resulted in a strong commitment by faculty. Infectious enthusiasm followed the educational initiatives. Faculty quickly reaped the rewards of their involvement including: Advanced degrees Training Certifications Curriculum and course development Faculty development leading to increased student achievement and engagement.

Successful MCIT Elements : 

12 Successful MCIT Elements MCIT faculty assumed positions of informal leadership within the college, the region and the nation. MCIT leaders became resources for other centers and serve on National Visiting Committees for other NSF funded centers. Strong partnerships were developed with other NSF centers for the purpose of maximizing best practices.

Focus : 

13 Focus Increase the number of teachers and faculty with advanced IT degrees and/or IT certifications. Increase the number of high school students articulating to community college IT programs of study. Increase the number of community college IT graduates. Increase the number of community college IT graduates that articulate on to the 4-year college/university level. Decrease the number of IT positions in the region that go unfilled each year due to the lack of a qualified workforce.

Focus : 

14 Focus Identify IT skills needed for the MCIT regions highest demand career pathways. To share the best practices developed by the MCIT consortium members. Expand the participation of MCIT colleges in emerging frontiers in IT, including bioinformatics and health informatics by jointly adapting and sharing curriculum and instructional resources to meet the needs of employers across the region. Increase the retention of IT students, particularly women and students of color, and insure all graduates possess the technical and non-technical skills required for post secondary transfer and career success.

MCIT Evaluation : 

15 MCIT Evaluation NSF requires a strong evaluation process. The first few years of the grant were quantitative in nature. NSF enhanced the evaluation process by adding a qualitative component for the remainder of the grant. Key research questions are investigated and lead to published articles.

Slide 16: 

16 While also examined against established indicators (addressing GPRA/PART): • Full time technology faculty • Part-time technology faculty • Faculty certifications • Faculty degrees • 4-year college articulations • Alignment with industry Article: “Collaborating for a Culture of Excellence in Information Technology 1. How effective is the collaborative model represented by MCIT in encouraging an organizational culture that supports IT student success, industry responsiveness, and regional innovation? Culture

2. How are IT students, and particularly women and minorities, moving through the educational pathways as they transition from initial recruitment to long term career success? : 

17 2. How are IT students, and particularly women and minorities, moving through the educational pathways as they transition from initial recruitment to long term career success? While also examined against established indicators (addressing GPRA/PART): • Student Enrollment • Student Retention • Participation of Women / Minorities • Salary Expectations • Graduates • Course Grades • Course DWF Indicators Report: “Understanding The Roads Less Taken: A Look at IT Career Pathways” Pathways

The Focus of Evaluation Questions: : 

18 The Focus of Evaluation Questions: Working Connections Institute Women in IT Bridge Program Call Center Problem-Based Case Learning

Is the Working Connections model meeting the training needs of faculty to ensure up-to-date curriculum? : 

19 Is the Working Connections model meeting the training needs of faculty to ensure up-to-date curriculum? An article submitted to Innovations in Education and Training International Working Connections Institute Research Question:

Data Analysis : 

20 Data Analysis Focus Groups Instructor Surveys Focusing on “Repeat” Attendees… Impact Conduits or “Threads” Impact on Instructors Institutional Surveys Instructor Interviews Impact on Curriculum Impact on Students Student Surveys Focus Groups Data Comparisons (GPA, Grades, Etc.) Business Perceptions Advisory Member Survey IT Competencies Surveys Business Focus Groups Selected Interviews Working Connections Institute

What is the impact on program retention, achievement, and career awareness for women who participate in the MCIT Bridge programs? : 

21 What is the impact on program retention, achievement, and career awareness for women who participate in the MCIT Bridge programs? Women in IT Research Question:

Data Analysis : 

22 Data Analysis Women in IT Programs Document Models (Build a Computer, etc.) Programs for Early Interest Student IT Interest Surveys Selected Interviews Impact on Recruiting Future Students Bridge Programs Document Models Impact on Woman Student Retention Women Retention Rates Woman Graduation Rates Selected Interviews Impact on Business Impact on Woman Student Success Selected Interviews

Do the usage patterns of a student run call center imply long term viability of a multi-institutionally supported outreach service? : 

23 Do the usage patterns of a student run call center imply long term viability of a multi-institutionally supported outreach service? Call Center Research Question:

Data Analysis : 

24 Data Analysis Operational Model Number of Hours Open Numbers of Calls Questions Asked Impact on Student Workers Student Survey Student Focus Groups Satisfaction Survey Impact on Help Desk Users Help Desk Initiative

What is the impact on instructional techniques and student learning as a result of implementation of Problem-Based Case Learning? : 

25 What is the impact on instructional techniques and student learning as a result of implementation of Problem-Based Case Learning? Problem-Based Case Learning Research Question:

Data Analysis : 

26 Data Analysis Use of Cases In Courses Types of Cases Courses Integrated Impact on Faculty Faculty Survey Faculty Focus Group Student Survey Action Research (Mind Mapping) Impact on Students Problem-Based Case Learning

Summary Conclusions : 

27 Summary Conclusions Conclusions: Working Connections Institute Working Connections Institute model is effective and efficient. Faculty and curriculum impact evidence exists Student impact is positive and encouraging. Business participation and interaction is important. Conclusions: Women in IT Bridge Program Bridge programs appear to be wanted and needed Retention (rather than recruitment) is key challenge

Summary Conclusions : 

28 Summary Conclusions Conclusions: Call Center Good start, logistical aspects are key challenges. Evidence for impact is needed. Conclusions: Problem-Based Case Learning This initiative has been widely implemented at partner sites. Cases are being developed by partner sites in collaboration with businesses and industries in the region. The cases are shared between partner sites.

Synergistic Observations : 

29 Synergistic Observations Regional collaboration is strong. Faculty professional development and curriculum adaptation efforts are impressive. Faculty are energized by the opportunity to grow and by the learning community which has evolved. Professional development and growth in leadership skills has resulted in site coordinators and faculty gaining a regional and national presence in IT education.

A final MCIT quote : 

30 A final MCIT quote “Consider the hammer. It keeps its head. It doesn’t fly off the handle. It keeps pounding away. It finds the point, then drives it home. It looks at the other side, too, and thus clinches the matter. It makes mistakes, but when it does it starts all over.” Author Unknown We are hammering away….

For Further Information: : 

31 For Further Information: Dennis Kirlin, Principal Investigator Midwest Center for Information Technology [email protected] Dr. Jeanne Surface, Project Director Midwest Center for Information Technology Applied Information Management Institute [email protected] Dr. Robert Mortenson, External Evaluator Midwest Educational Technology Services [email protected] www.nsf.gov/ate www.atecenters.org www.aacc.nche.edu/ateprogram www.aiminstitute.org/mcit www.aiminstitute.org