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Innovative, Collaborative Digital Community Colleges Recognized in Annual Survey

The Center for Digital Education’s 2017-18 Digital Community Colleges Survey Awards honor community colleges utilizing technology to engage students, collaborate with K-12 and other educational institutions, and improve learning.


April 25, 2018 - The Center for Digital Education (CDE) announced the winners of its 2017-18 Digital Community Colleges Survey today. Now in its thirteenth year, the Digital Community Colleges Survey analyzes how community colleges use a range of technologies to improve services to students, faculty, staff and the community at large.

Highlights of the First-Place Colleges in each Category:

  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Va. (Enrollment 10,000 students or more) 
    After the recommendation by its Education Technology Advisory Committee, the college purchased laptops for its faculty to provide better mobility and enhanced productivity and creativity. At faculty request, IT completed a Windows 10 migration on all academic computers across the college. In addition, the college offers free library checkout of laptops and mobile devices, helping reduce the digital divide. Another success involves Reynolds leveraging technology to help students with developmental math through Math Central, a model that combines math coaches and access to computer-based instruction.
  • Walters State Community College, Tenn. (Enrollment between 5,000 and 10,000 students)
    The college collaborates with the Northeast Tennessee Technical Education Association, which represents K-12 programs in the upper East Tennessee, 10-county area, in programs such as Welding, Computer Applications, and Solar Energy. The college participates in the Tennessee Transfer Pathways programs in Computer Science, Agriculture, and Pre-Veterinary Science that make use of collaborative technologies used in the classroom.  Additionally, the college’s dual enrollment program continues to offer multiple modes of delivery to all dual enrollment students including online, desktop video, video-streaming, and hybrid classes.
  • Manchester Community College, N.H. (Enrollment of 5,000 or fewer students) 
    In addition to virtual reality crime scenes with 360-degree cameras for use in Cybersecurity classrooms, and simulation labs used in the Nursing department, Manchester Community College opened an Advanced Technologies Building for its HVAC, Electrical Technology and Mechatronics curriculum. Mechatronics combines the study of mechanical and electrical systems with software programming. The structure has exposed infrastructure to help students understand and work with the newest technology, and 14 different specialty labs with the latest automation technology.
The survey also revealed insights about community colleges’ technology priorities. Colleges surveyed indicated that mobility devices/app support is their top priority in the coming year, followed by cybersecurity tools and testing, website redesign/updates, upgrading classroom technologies, digital content and curriculum, and disaster recovery/business continuity. The survey revealed that 34% of colleges have a strategy in place for the use of mobile devices; 35% have a full-time Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or similar full-time staff in charge of cybersecurity; 71% of the colleges’ websites have responsive web design; and 88% of colleges have off-site data storage redundancies in place.

All accredited U.S. community colleges are eligible to participate in the Digital Community Colleges Survey within three classifications based on enrollment size. CDE thanks last year’s first-place winners who abstained from participation to contribute as members of the development panel for this year’s survey: Thomas Nelson Community College, Va.; Lord Fairfax Community College, Va.; and Carl Sandburg College, Ill.

2017-2018 Digital Community Colleges Survey Top Ten-Ranking Colleges

Congratulations Winners!

Large Colleges Category – 10,000 Students or More:

1st J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Va.
2nd Kirkwood Community College, Iowa
3rd La Guardia Community College, N.Y.
3rd Northern Virginia Community College
4th Howard Community College, Md.
4th Johnson County Community College, Kan.
4th Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, N.C.
5th Fayetteville Technical Community College, N.C.
5th Lone Star College, Texas
6th HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College
6th Houston Community College, Texas
6th San Antonio College, Texas
7th Central Piedmont Community College, N.C.
8th Pellissippi State Community College, Tenn.
8th William Rainey Harper College, Ill.
9th Kingsborough Community College, N.Y.
10th Bucks County Community College, Pa.

 Mid-sized Colleges Category – Between 5,000 and 10,000 Students:

1st Walters State Community College, Tenn.
2nd Cleveland Community College, N.C.
2nd Hostos Community College, N.Y.
3rd Columbia State Community College, Tenn.
3rd Virginia Western Community College
4th Delta College, Mich.
4th Saint Paul College, Minn.
5th Piedmont Virginia Community College
6th Kansas City Kansas Community College
7th Georgia Piedmont Technical College
8th Davidson County Community College, N.C.
8th Mott Community College, Mich.
9th Minnesota West Community and Technical College
10th Genesee Community College, N.Y.
10th Lake Land College, Ill.
10th Mohawk Valley Community College, N.Y.

Small Colleges Category – 5,000 or fewer Students:

1st Manchester Community College, N.H.
2nd Rappahannock Community College, Va.
3rd Central Maine Community College
4th Kirtland Community College, Mich.
4th Wytheville Community College, Va.
5th Bay de Noc Community College, Mich.
6th St. Cloud Technical & Community College, Minn.
7th Panola College, Texas
8th Lakeshore Technical College, Wis.
9th Laramie County Community College, Wyo.
10th Central Virginia Community College
10th Lake Area Technical Institute, S.D.
10th Northeast Mississippi Community College

Selected Survey Findings:

Digital Community Colleges Survey Top 10 Priorities for the Coming Year: 

1. Mobility (devices and app support)
2. Cyber Security Tools and Testing
2. Website Redesign/Updates
3. Upgrade Classroom Technologies
4. Digital Content and Curriculum
5. Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity
5. Network Infrastructure Modernization (Wired and/or Wireless)
6. Server Consolidation and Virtualization
7. Computer Refresh
8. Hire and Retain Competent IT Personnel
9. New/Updated Enterprise System
10. Server Refresh

Mobility strategy:

  • 34% of colleges have a strategy in place for the use of mobile devices
  • 51% of colleges are piloting the use of mobile devices in classrooms, but don't have a formal strategy in place
  • 44% of colleges offer professional development for teachers on how to use mobile apps for instruction
  • 20% of colleges offer professional development for teachers or provide specific policies regarding how to protect student privacy when using apps

  • 35% of the colleges have a full-time Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or similar full-time staff in charge of cybersecurity
Website Redesign/Updates:

  • 78% of the colleges’ websites use/link to/stream video
  • 75% of the colleges’ websites include social media feeds
  • 71% of the colleges’ websites have responsive web design
  • 52% of colleges’ websites use blogging
  • 37% of the colleges’ websites have a digital repository or link (such as Digital Academic Commons)
Upgrading Classrom Technologies:

  • 74% of colleges use standardized classroom implementations to cope with limited budgets
  • 77% of colleges report they currently use technology tools for the classroom such as interactive whiteboards, document cameras, display equipment, assessment tools
  • 13% of colleges will be modernizing, expanding or replacing their classroom technology tools in the next 12-24 months
Content and Curriculum:

  • 69% of colleges employ full-time employee(s) specifically to assist in designing online or multi-modal content and courses for use by college staff/faculty
  • 58% of colleges report that many of their instructors are using hybrid or online teaching models
Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity:

  • 97% of colleges have an emergency alerting and notification system in place, such as phone, text, computer pop-up alerts, broadcast or other voice-alerting devices in the classroom
  • 88% of colleges have off-site data storage redundancies in place
  • 80% of colleges have back-up for technology (such as cloud solutions, onsite or offsite system) that has been tested with successful results
  • 62% of colleges have conducted a continuity of operations drill with faculty and staff as needed
About the Center for Digital Education

The Center for Digital Education (CDE) is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding. CDE provides education and industry leaders with decision support and actionable insights to help effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. Learn more at:

CDE is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education


For questions, please contact:

Janet Grenslitt, Director of Surveys and Awards