West Windsor, N.J. – Educators, business leaders and technology enthusiasts met at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) Conference Center for the 2019 Global Conference on Learning and Technology on July 10 and 11. Held in conjunction with the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) and Mercer's Division of Innovation, Online Education and Student Success, the conference sought to support post-secondary and online learning communities through research workshops and presentations.
“The conference’s focus, improving educational access, is such an important topic,” MCCC President Jianping Wang said. “Higher education is facing a serious challenge. We’ve been the leaders in knowledge transmission for a very long time, but now we have to compete with private entities like Google and Amazon.”
Scheduled during the two-day event were a pair of workshops, one of which was led by Alexandra Salas, Mercer’s Dean of Innovation, Online Education and Student Success. Her workshop, entitled “Technology-Mediated Holistic Advising Supports Retention,” highlighted the “ever-changing needs of students in an attempt to anticipate future trends,” Salas said.
Salas noted that in addition to preempting students’ concerns, institutions should create cross functional teams that supports critical goals. “Supporting students in a changing landscape requires that everyone be on the same page,” she said.
The keynote address was delivered by Sean Leahy, Director of Technology Initiatives for the Office of Scholarship and Innovation in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University (ASU). Emphasizing the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution – which is anticipated to see the convergence of physical, digital and biological technology – Leahy observed that these innovations are not neutral entities.
“Everything we’re discussing here is value-laden,” Leahy said. “And humans have to ensure that advances in tech will transform, not restrict, education.”
Salas added, “We need to have conversations with all students.” Online learning and non-traditional classrooms are still developing. As educators, we must set real expectations while advocating for all types of learners.”
For more information about the conference, click here.