Four ways to prepare your IT infrastructure for a mobile learning revolution

This blog post focuses on Walters State (TN) Community College’s ambitious initiative to implement mobile learning campus-wide and the IT needs required to support multiple devices for every faculty, staff, and student. Kevin L. Fowler, director of educational and user technologies at WSCC, runs down a list of four ways colleges can better prepare for the mobile learning revolution.


4. Bring Your IT Group to the Table Early

It surprised no one that before a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961 that President John F. Kennedy announced the goal of putting a man on the moon before the Soviets; but it did surprise many that he gave the space program an ambitious goal of doing it in nine years. It even surprised those in the highest levels at NASA. For many in your IT department, it is a known fact that mobile devices and emerging technologies are proliferating their wireless networks.

But, having the institution invest great time, money, and resources on a project to bring hundreds of these devices through the front door involves IT input very early on. By doing so, a partnership can be formed so that IT can evaluate and move lockstep with the institution’s goals. Speaking as an IT professional, during these planning stages, we in IT need to change from the department of “No” to the department of “Yes”, or “Well, let’s give it a shot,”  or “I’m not sure if that will work, but how about this instead?”

We need to realize that even though these uncharted avenues can make us nervous, it is often the path less traveled that yields the highest rewards. We owe it to our faculty, and ultimately the student, to leave no rock unturned to reach their educational goals.

We need to be about creating solutions, not stumbling blocks. President Kennedy and NASA remind us that we can do incredible things when we come to the table together. If the President kept NASA in the dark, or if NASA refused the President’s ambitious goals, having a man on the moon would still be a dream.

3. Hire an Educational Technologist

Anyone can agree that faculty and IT speak two different languages. With new, untested technologies pouring into our campus and with our IT obligated to support each of them, a widening communication gap began occurring.