Technology helps personalize the college experience for SOCCD students

SOCCD officials say they won't cut back on technology services during a budget crunch.

California’s South Orange County Community College District is a leader in ed-tech innovation, with custom-developed applications that help students register for courses, buy textbooks, and find the courses that are right for them. SOCCD is working with state officials to distribute these tools to the nearly 3 million students in the state’s community college system.

For these reasons and more, we’ve chosen SOCCD as our “eCampus of the Month” for March. Here, Dr. Robert Bramucci, vice chancellor for technology and learning services, describes SOCCD’s ed-tech initiatives and its keys to success.

(Editor’s note: To nominate your college or university for this award, and to read about past award winners, go to

 How do you use technology to advance student learning?

 South Orange County Community College District has a history of developing innovative systems for students, including:

• The first custom, Web 2.0, student-centered Student Information System (SIS) that enables our 43,000 students to spend an average of less than seven minutes registering for classes and buying their textbooks.

• MySite, one of the first community college web portals that has just been updated with student-requested features such as To-Do lists, calendars, and personalized recommendations.

• inFORM, our enterprise data warehouse that pushes “dashboards” to faculty for every class they teach, full of useful information about the students in each class; we also use inFORM to create a dashboard for our coaches, helping them increase the academic success of our student athletes.

• SHERPA (the Student Higher Education Recommendation and Personalization Assistant), a first-of-its-kind recommendation engine for courses, services, and information. No more “one size fits all”—Sherpa helps personalize each student’s college experience.

• Mobile Apps: SOCCD was the first community college in California to deploy Blackboard’s Mobile Central and Mobile Learn apps, and we’re now working on a custom mobile app that will bring Sherpa recommendations to mobile devices.

Have you noticed an increase in student performance and/or motivation? If so, how?

Yes. Students have used My Academic Plan (MAP) to create over 107,000 academic plans, and our Sherpa recommendation engine helped students find alternatives to closed classes more than 2,000 times last semester.

eCampus News Staff