I’ve always considered myself a good student. Ask my parents—I think they’d agree. I would dutifully tote textbooks and color-coded binders with matching dividers around everywhere I went, from home to school, school to after-school practices, practices to my part-time job, and then back home every evening, studying any chance I could.

Oh, how things have changed.

Now students have access to all those learning materials and resources from the touch of a small, light-weight device. They can access what they need from anywhere, regardless of what device they are using. In a world of constant change and continuous improvement, finding paths that will encourage student growth, success, and retention are vital in our educational strategies.

Hinds (Miss.) Community College is now a world without lost backpacks, forgotten textbooks, or misplaced notes, fostering a culture that encourages constant learning, even when class isn’t in session.

The Instant-Access Model

Rooted in the basic principles of a community college, our institution believes in opportunities for higher education and training for anyone. This means barriers that prevent students from attending college must be identified, analyzed, and addressed. These barriers include socioeconomic status; geographic challenges; and students with unique, individual life circumstances that hinder the ability to receive a quality higher education.

Four years ago, our president encouraged us to identify potential solutions for two initiatives we identified as strategic goals. First, creating a “first-day ready” concept for our students, and second, lowering the cost of educational resources to our students.

In addition, the need to streamline the distribution of education tools to our growing online population was becoming more evident.

These needed improvements led to the adoption of the “Instant Access” model at Hinds.

(Next page: How the instant access model works; promising results)

About the Author:

Dr. Keri Cole is the dean of eLearning for Hinds Community College in Clinton, Miss, a role she has held for the past decade. During her time in this role, she has led the institution’s digital transformation that includes the growth of distance learning through online classes, instructional technology and design and media services, and the implementation of new technologies including a new learning management system. Prior to her current role, she served as a business technology instructor in the Mississippi Community College system. Keri holds a bachelor of business administration degree and an MBA from Mississippi State University and a doctorate of education from Delta State University. She is also an alumna of Hinds Community College.

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