Leveraging Technology Tools to Improve Student Equity

Leveraging Technology Tools to Improve Student Equity

The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded existing equity issues among students in the California Community College system. Reliance on technology has exacerbated the equity challenge, with some students not able to easily access reliable connections, while also simultaneously improving education access by making learning available to everyone, everywhere.

With equity in mind, the California Community Colleges system, in partnership with CCC TechConnect, is finding new ways to leverage technology to make learning more accessible to all students, while giving faculty the tools they need to teach in interactive and compelling ways.

One such tool, PlayPosit, is an instructional design platform that enables instructors, administrators and students to access and utilize on-demand and live interactive video experiences. It supports the needs of learners with different learning styles and enhances content with its ability to embed websites, video, audio and documents that complement the coursework. Its interactivity transforms passive observation into active learning and provides the ability for students to explore, analyze and apply concepts to the enriched content.  

The Pandemic and its Toll on Peer-to-Peer Connections

With the pandemic constraining students to study alone at home on their computers, the sense of isolation can be strong. It was important to find technology that could help students feel connected to each other, which in turn promotes learning and retention.

This is one of the strengths of PlayPosit — its ability to connect students by facilitating peer-to-peer conversation through discussions that foster community and bring students closer to each other, sharing their different experiences and perspectives.

Another equity-enhancing tool that CCC TechConnect will be rolling out soon is the Student Connect platform. Student Connect provides easy-to-use workflows that offer counseling, tutoring, office hours and other types of services that enable students, faculty and staff to meet online. The platform leverages Canvas and Zoom, in addition to being available as a stand-alone app, and enhances student services by making these connections more accessible and lowering administrative overhead. 

Student Connect allows staff to define their availability, which students can view and schedule  appointments with them as needed. Administrators can pair students with staff members for a meeting, counselors can take secure notes, session recordings can be made available, and metrics on usage can be provided to administrators. Student Connect can connect students who live in rural areas, have special needs, manage family responsibilities or experience other challenges that make it difficult for them to meet in person.

“The recent move to online learning by California’s community colleges due to COVID-19 has made the inequities that exist among students’ access to college services more apparent. Both the Student Connect and PlayPosit platforms recently introduced to the system address some of these inequities,” said Rico Bianchi, Director of CCC TechConnect, the system-wide project that provides these online resources to all California community colleges.

PlayPosit is currently available for use by any California community college, and Student Connect will be available starting July 2021. To learn more about how your campus can get started using these tools, please contact support at support@ccctechconnect.org.