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March 20, 2003

Pam Bryant
Assistant Director of Communications
(850) 201-7130

Two Florida community colleges rank among top 5 nationwide in digital education services

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Education announced today that Florida Community College at Jacksonville ranked No. 1 and Miami-Dade Community College ranked No. 3 in a recent survey of information technology services at U.S. community colleges.

The Center for Digital Education and Converge magazine conducted the country's first survey of community colleges and the use of administrative and instructional technology solutions. The survey focused on admissions and registration, use of technologies for administrative needs of both students and faculty and the progress of distance learning courses and issues.

"Florida is setting the example for the future of our country's community colleges," said Chancellor J. David Armstrong Jr. of the Florida Community College System. "Both Florida Community College at Jacksonville and Miami-Dade Community College are combining state-of-the-art technology and human resources to better serve its students, faculty and identified customers. This is truly great news."

Said Governor Jeb Bush, "Florida is committed to innovative learning and services through higher education. I fully support our community colleges as they embrace new technologies and bridge the digital divide."

According to Converge magazine, Florida Community College scored 100 percent in all categories. Students can pay their tuition and fees online, get online instruction and communicate with faculty online. The college serves over 80,000 students on its five campuses, four major centers and through its virtual programs.

As the top-ranking institution in the survey, Florida Community College at Jacksonville has a comprehensive approach to technology management. The college uses a Web portal, a local area network and wide area network to support services such as streaming video, virtual office hours, counseling and smart classrooms.

"We are obviously very pleased to be recognized as a leader in digital education," said Rob Rennie, vice president of technology and chief information officer at Florida Community College at Jacksonville. "Our focus has been on improving teaching and learning through the aggressive application of advanced technologies. It is gratifying to see that we have distinguished ourselves through these accomplishments."

Miami-Dade Community College has invested in multi-faceted Web services and technology infrastructure to give students and faculty a recognized marketplace advantage in academia and the workforce. Faculty, staff and students have come to expect this technology to be available for business and instructional activities.

"At Miami-Dade Community College we are extremely proud of the expansive services offered to the community through digital information technology," said President Eduardo J. Padrón. "Our commitment is always to be at the forefront of excellent and innovative service."

The Center for Digital Education also conducts the five-year national Digital State Survey, the Digital Cities Survey and the seven-year Best of the Web contest. It is a national research and advisory institute providing educators and industry leaders with decision support, research and resources to help them effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century.

"This national recognition of two Florida community colleges shows the state's commitment to implementing cutting-edge technology," said Education Commissioner Jim Horne. "Our K-20 education system will continue to adopt and use the best of digital technology solutions for administrative and instructional support."