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Grant assists college in making big steps with technology

By Staff | Nov 28, 2017

ESTEHRVILLE?- Trustees of Iowa Lakes Community College met Tuesday, Nov. 22 at the SERT (Sustainable Energy Resources & Technologies) Center in Estherville and learned about the high tech resources available to students and faculty at the college.

A five-year Title III Grant for $1.6 million was awarded to the college back in September of 2016 for active learning and instructional technology. Two pilot programs Nursing and Agriculture are the first to receive the enhancements. The nursing simulation lab has taken its first steps and students are already using the facilities.

As year two gets under way, new pieces of nursing simulation equipment have been ordered. And, the agriculture programs will benefit from guidance mapping, a precision planter for the farm lab along with other high quality ag equipment.

A fully-equipped active learning classroom is located on the Emmetsburg campus of Iowa Lakes. It includes mobile desks and chairs; mobile whiteboards; five large monitors, as well as 15 Microsoft Surface Tablets.

As active learning classrooms become more popular, faculty will have additional chances to learn the best and latest techniques for teaching and learning. While this method of learning expands, a committee is working to identify what technology will go in which classes.

In addition to technology, this grant also supports two full-time positions, a grant coordinator and an education technologist.

Overall, the goal of this grant is to infuse more technology into curriculum; redesign and assess hybrid class offerings; increase the number of students who will be able to bypass remedial coursework; enhance program and degree completion in both Agriculture and Nursing; provide peer-to-peer mentoring for faculty; and, increase Canvas usage.

The Trustees gave their approval to a donation from Vestas Americas as presented by Executive Director of Community and Business Relations Jolene Rogers. Vestas Americas has been working with Iowa Lakes since the inception of the Wind Energy and Turbine Technology program. With their donation, Vestas Americas will have the climb room in the SERT Center named after them. The total gift to the college is $100,000.

In other business, Executive Director of Facilities Management Delaine Hiney presented updates for several campus projects.

The Emmetsburg Student Services Center has had the large glass area etched with the college logo installed. Side panels are expected to be delivered and installed by Dec. 15 at which time the glass company will finish off work on the last of the offices. Various staff members were moved into the new area on Nov. 6.

At Algona, the steel crew has been on site for two weeks and the basic metal components are mostly in place. Strong wind has slowed progress on some days.

At the Fine Arts Auditoirum facility in Estherville, the block layers are working hard to get the south walls erected in order that crews can continue to work this winter. This area of the building is the back stage, mechanical room and loading dock area of the facility.

In the Spirit Lake center, the new flooring is being installed this week. The lab is waiting for some equipment. An open house is planned for Dec. 14 at 10 a.m.

In other action, Board of Trustees President Janice Lund set up the committee structure for the coming year.

The next meeting of the Iowa Lakes Board of Trustees will be Tuesday, Dec. 12 in Estherville.