Mount Wachusett Community College is prioritizing online learning and offering students the flexibility and online resources they need to thrive — both in and outside of the classroom.
At Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, MA, educators and administrators know that in order to provide a holistic education experience for students — and to stay competitive with other area schools — they have to keep up with changing trends in higher education. According to the college’s Dean of Academic and Institutional Technology, Vincent Ialenti, this means staying on top of new initiatives in online learning and technology.
“All community colleges must now be in the business of online learning,” he says. “Students require flexibility and accessibility — needs that can be addressed using new digital tools.” We spoke to Ialenti about how Hoonuit provides Mount Wachusett’s students and educators with flexible learning options and seamless access to classroom resources, along with his vision for the future of technology-fueled learning at Mount Wachusett.
Hoonuit Meets Wachusett
Mount Wachusett first began using Hoonuit about five years ago, but Ialenti, who has been at Mount Wachusett for almost fifty years as a faculty member and administrator, has been looking to online learning solutions for as long as those resources have been around. In the 1990s, when online learning was just a whisper in the hallowed halls of higher education, Ialenti was already advocating for importance of bringing technology into the classroom.
Ialenti first encountered Hoonuit thanks to a recommendation from colleagues at nearby UMass Boston. “We did a webinar with UMass Boston, and they were talking about the fact that using Hoonuit had helped reduce their helpdesk calls by 60%,” Ialenti says. “I said, ‘Wouldn’t that be great!’” Ialenti began to explore how he might use Hoonuit at Mount Wachusett. “When I first saw what Hoonuit could do, I could see the exciting opportunities it could bring to our campus,” he says, “And now we’ve been using for five years.”
Flexibility for Students and Teachers
Ialenti says Hoonuit works for Mount Wachusett because, “It’s a perfect, all-encompassing product.” Through the online platform, students can find resources and access material outside of normal classroom hours. The flexibility offered by Hoonuit’s online learning tools is especially useful for students who might work full time jobs or take care of family members, in addition to their coursework at Mount Wachusett.
In his role as the Dean of Academic and Institutional Technology, Ialenti has long been a self-described “pusher of Hoonuit,” not just because it makes life easier for faculty, but because he sees how it has improved student outcomes. “It’s not only a way to help our students, but to attract new students, and to keep them satisfied,” he says. That means equipping students with the technology skills they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.
Overcoming Technical Difficulties
As the Dean of Academic and Institutional Technology, Ialenti is perfectly positioned to implement new technology systems, but he recognizes the difficulty in helping busy, skeptical, and potentially less tech-savvy educators and students adjust to new systems. In response, Ialenti has played an integral role in developing non-credit Online 101 and Student Success 101 courses for students and building out Hoonuit tutorials that outline essential digital and college success skills. The courses are made available to students as soon as they register and receive their login credentials. The students can review the materials and Hoonuit tutorials and be ready to succeed on the first day of class.
Ialenti has also been instrumental in guiding educators towards Hoonuit’s resources, demonstrating the capabilities of the program to showcase how Hoonuit’s tools can save precious classroom time. Ialenti says, “If you’re teaching a course, students can use Hoonuit to learn relevant programs or necessary tech skills, freeing up classroom time to focus on the material.”
As Mount Wachusett continues to grow its technology programs and online learning initiatives, Hoonuit will remain a dedicated partner in helping the college meet the needs of its diverse student body.
Interested in learning more? Click here to find out how your college or university can transform student learning by providing students and teachers with seamless access to fundamental materials, resources, and technology training tools.
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