With a bachelor's degree in business, a master’s degree in curriculum and education, and a Ph.D. underway, Scott has been helping educators at institutions of all sizes use traditional business tools to improve the teaching and learning process for more than 15 years.
At Tyler Junior College (TJC), Scott is currently assisting with the launch of a faculty learning management system (LMS). Through the LMS, educators will be required to participate in assessments in an effort to increase professional development accountability. “It won’t be sufficient to just do the professional development anymore; they have to prove they actually learned something from it to receive the credit,” says Scott. “We’re ramping up accountability so we can prove to our stakeholders that people are actually learning from these opportunities and implementing these best practices.” By applying business tools, such as data from the professional development assessments, TJC is better able to communicate its success to the public. “We want to use the taxpayers’ money to the best benefit of the students and the community, and help discover how the tools we already have, as well as new tools, can be used to maximize their impact,” says Scott.
With Scott’s help, TJC also plans to launch a new student collaboration tool in 2016, featuring a campus-wide instant messaging system, virtual tutors and advanced lecture capture. The goal is to provide students with the services they need, when they need them. For instance, if a student is unable to visit campus for a tutoring session, they can use the campus-wide IM system to communicate directly with any available tutor. Also, professors will be able to use the lecture capture function to distribute recordings, providing online students with an in-class experience.
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The college’s new state-of-theart nursing and health sciences building is already piloting some of these capabilities. “Our first order of business is to help our nursing and health science faculty put new equipment to use and create the kind of lecture capture that hasn’t been possible before, using cameras in the classroom, SIM dummies and other technology to really put together a true experience in the classroom, outside of the classroom,” says Scott.
While TJC is on the brink of a largescale technological shift, Scott says schools can, and sometimes should, pace themselves when implementing technology. “If faculty are afraid, unsure or they just feel uncomfortable, I try to encourage them to change just one thing this semester,” she says. This can include changing a project as simple as a term paper — instead of submitting a printed paper or PDF, students can submit their completed paper via Google docs. According to Scott, “If you change one thing this semester, and then change one more thing next semester, over the course of a few semesters, you’ve completely changed your curriculum and you now have a technologically heavy course. Now, not only have you made things easier for yourself as a professor, you’ve managed to teach students a covert curriculum of skills they are not officially taught, but that give them the opportunity to experience different technologies and actually use them. So, when they go into the workforce, they have these transferable technological skills, as well as the overt curriculum of whatever the courses were.”
Scott sees a strong nexus between technology traditionally used in business and the learning process, and by familiarizing students and faculty with this technology, she is changing the learning landscape.