AV Tech Online: A Partnership Between An International Trade Association and Seven Community Colleges
The AV Tech Online has risen out of the need to educate the current and future workforce of the audiovisual communications industry.
There is a labor shortage in high tech industries and it is estimated that the US AV communications workforce will grow by 20,000 to 30,000 new jobs each year for the next five years. Until recently, no higher education institution offered a program to prepare audiovisual system technicians.
In 1997, the Educational Communications Foundation, Inc.® (now called the International Communications Industries Foundation, Inc.® (ICIF) and the International Communication Industries Association, Inc.® joined Coastline Community College, Dallas County Community College District, Metropolitan Community Colleges, Miami-Dade Community College, Monroe Community College, Northern Virginia Community College and Portland Community College to organize the National Partnership for Workforce Development. AV Tech Online is a product of this partnership. This project is sponsored in part by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE, U.S. Department of Education.
The AV Tech Online project is completing the development of an eight-course curriculum, which can be offered to incumbent workers or those seeking a professional AV career, as a college certificate program and/or as part of a college degree program. To eliminate duplicative effort and expense, the seven colleges and the industry are working as partners and have collaborated on instructional design, course development, and course delivery.
The online courses are now offered collaboratively and students from partner-colleges are co-enrolling in course sections taught jointly by one faculty, thus creating a community of learners across the partner colleges. The Internet/web-based online courses are scheduled across five academic terms throughout the year and are structured to facilitate learning activities in a 24x7 learning anytime and anyplace configuration. To facilitate student access and success; instructional, technical and academic-advising systems are also provided anywhere and anytime students can participate.
With the exception of the Electronics course, hands-on competencies are not addressed directly in the online courses; however they can be obtained through a variety of mechanisms such as self-identified internships or mentoring experiences, or ICIA’s three-day Installation Technician Course. In addition, ICIA offers a complete range of training options for entry-level AV workers through to experienced installers, designers and others. (For details please see www.infocomm.org/education.)
To sustain this effort after the FIPSE funding has concluded, the colleges plan to offer these courses as part of their regular offerings based on the number of sections dependent upon enrollment. Project expansion will be accomplished by increasing the number of faculty/sections in the seven partner colleges, or by adding more colleges to the partnership. Currently, the AV Tech Online College Network projects an expansion into an additional 17 states where the AV industry has a strong presence and hopes to attract “affiliate colleges” who will want to either join the network in co-enrolling their students or in licensing the courseware and offering courses to serve the AV industry in their district or region.
The project has benefited from a formative evaluation, which has been performed by an outside evaluator. The evaluation component has been instrumental in: 1) informing and shaping the project during its development by improving the quality of the products and services created as well as the processes used; and 2) documenting the effectiveness and significance of the project for all stakeholders and potential users.
Project Director: Randal A. Lemke, PhD
Lead Institution: International Communications Industries Foundation
- Coastline Community College, California
- Dallas County Community College District, Texas
- International Communications Industries Association, Virginia
- Metropolitan Community Colleges, Missouri
- Miami-Dade Community College, Florida
- Monroe Community College, New York
- Northern Virginia Community College, Virginia
- Portland Community College, Oregon
International Communications Industries Foundation
11242 Waples Mill Road, Suite 200
Fairfax, Virginia 22030