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BCC receives $2.75M to enhance instruction

With a digital divide existing in many minority and low-income communities, Bronx Community College has secured a five-year $2.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to bridge the technology gap.

The Title V grant – called the Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions Program – helps eligible colleges and universities to enhance and expand their capacity to service Hispanic and low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen their academic quality, institutional stability, management, and fiscal capabilities.

Everyone in BCC’s diverse student body of 9,000, 50% of whom are Hispanic, will benefit. The grant money will be spent on objects such as smart boards, desktop computers, and overhead digital projectors. More importantly, both instructors and students will come to learn how to use the technology’s various applications.

“The reason we formulated an instructional technology tutor for students and workshops for instructors is so that we just don’t just drop technology into a classroom without giving those who will benefit the knowledge of how to use it,” said BCC grants officer David Hernandez. “There are technology applications that both faculty and students need to see how to use.”

History professor Dr. Howard Wach is the program director for the Title V grant and discussed how BCC has created an Integrated Instructional Technology Development Program that will pursue three major activities to support both faculty and students in mastering digital literacy skills.

The first part of the IITD program at BCC is faculty lead integration of technology-enriched skills and resources into courses and programs across the college.

The second installment of the IITD involves an expansion of BCC’s Instructional Technology Tutor program in which students are trained and employed as peer tutors and technology assistants to faculty.

The third part involves equipping 60 classrooms and laboratories – more than half of the campus total – to deliver technology enhanced courses.

With the help of these new activities, teaching and learning at BCC will systematically incorporate the 21st century skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the classroom and the workplace.

A 10-member faculty and staff team worked for a year to draft the successful proposal that resulted in the Title V grant. The program implementation begins on October 1, 2008.

“We are bringing both the faculty and students together on this project to use all of the applications and functions the technology has to offer,” Hernandez explained. “On many occasions, young people often know more than we do about certain technologies.”


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