July 31, 2017

CARTERVILLE — To early Illinois settlers, something may have seemed slightly unusual as Erica Mathis of Carterville sat on the steps of a 199-year-old log cabin at John A. Logan College this week.

The 19-year-old sophomore — thanks to technological upgrades throughout campus — used her cell phone to access the College’s high-speed internet connection. Through it, she is able to access the World Wide Web while soaking in some sunlight on the cabin steps.

The historic cabin backdrop, with its rough-hewn lumber, provided an interesting contrast with the state-of-the-art technology that put the world at her fingertips.

One can only imagine the response from Emanuel Hunter — the cabin’s original builder — if someone had told him that so much information could be obtained and so many people reached through a phone from the porch of his home. For that matter, he would likely be asking, ‘What’s a phone?’

But technology, high-speed connections, and the information accessed through phones and computers continues to grow immensely each day, noted Brad McCormick, vice-president for business services and college facilities.

“High-speed access is one of the most important things students are looking for on campus today,” McCormick noted. “It’s safe to say, that in the past three years, we’ve more than tripled our students’ access to fast data. We have done this in order to respond to students’ needs.”

Mathis can access high-speed internet from the cabin and even the baseball field. In all, more than 276 wireless access points have been added throughout the College’s campus. “That’s important to students like me,” she said.

 While expanding high-speed access, McCormick noted, the College has also upgraded the protection of students’ data and is currently adding new fiber that will more than triple the current student access to fast data.

“It’s a much different world than it was when the College was founded 50 years ago,” McCormick explained. “So much of what takes place on campus today relies on technology instead of just bricks and mortar.”

The mix of historic cabin with state-of-the-art technology is a perfect picture of how John A. Logan College has promoted the region’s rich history while at the same time sprinting toward the future by being a regional leader in the technological race.

“Today, technology is something that requires constant attention,” McCormick said. “Staying current with technology in all of its forms and keeping faculty and staff trained as well as ensuring that learners are appropriately engaged with technology presents major hurdles that must be at the forefront of all planning initiatives.”

Said McCormick, “Technology is no longer the means to the end, but the door that opens up an environment which provides students increased access to courses and programs, flexibility, and the chance to realize their untapped potential by allowing them to take control of their own learning experience.”

McCormick explained that technology is no longer related only to the career division of the College. Transfer courses and programs are increasingly utilizing technology in its various forms in both traditional and non-traditional settings, he said.  The faculty members at John A. Logan College are extremely adept at developing technology-based learning materials and engaging learners in technology at all levels, he added.

For years now, the College has been a leader in online degree and certificates, meaning most of their coursework would take place at home or at any other location away from campus through the use of technology. 

“What this means is that John A. Logan College can now provide learning throughout the state and even the world,” said Dr. Ron House, the College’s president, “Those students who previously had obstacles barring their educational pursuits such as physical limitations, transportation issues, work schedules that conflicted with traditional course offerings, or family care issues have now had the access to accomplish their career dreams.”

The College is currently enrolling for the fall semester. For more information on online courses or to enroll in classes with traditional classroom instruction, contact John A. Logan College at 618-985-3741.