In the first part of our series highlighting the unique tech-forward environment at HCC, the importance of student laptops, and the unique needs of a near-paperless campus are examined.
Heritage Christian College is a distinct university for many reasons. However, there is one specific aspect makes HCC especially unique and distinctive – being a highly advanced, technologically enabled campus. HCC has intentionally built a technology environment in which the students and faculty are striving towards a near-paperless educational context.
HCC’s distinctive technology plan not only promotes good environmental stewardship, but perhaps more importantly, it produces competitive students and faculty equipped for the 21st century. HCC students will be on the same globally competitive level as graduates from any other university in the world, and in some ways even better prepared. For example, HCC graduates will have used, not just studied, a host of technologies that many of their peers will not have experienced. Just to list a few, HCC graduates will have strong skills in the use of:
- iPads, Laptops, Tablets
- Multiple network tools
- Server technologies and network storage devices
- Technology used to do work beyond just rudimentary skills
- Developing, creating, and distributing their work materials without paper
- A library that utilizes electronic books (90% of HCC’s library is paperless)
Although a wide variety of technologies are used at HCC, laptop use is especially important to the learning process and distinctiveness of the university. Every student, faculty member and administrator is required to have a laptop. HCC is prepared to help students who do not have qualified laptops buy one and pay for it over their time as students. Additionally, all faculty and staff are issued laptops as tools for their job.
Technology is an integral part of HCC; every student is required to learn and use it. The message to students is practice and apply it – they must learn to work and study in a completely paperless environment so they are prepared for this competitive, digital world. Students and faculty use their laptops as their primary learning and teaching tools; a laptop is necessary for almost everything they do. There is not a single printer available to students on campus; everything is done digitally. HCC hopes to produce technology-literate students and faculty -which is unique in Africa – who will start businesses aided by their experiences on campus.
HCC’s entire campus is wireless, meaning students can study and work on assignments outside, from under the trees or in their rooms; they do not have to go to the library for anything. HCC has a highly advanced server room with multiple servers, plenty of storage and 10 GB technology, which most campuses in the U.S. don’t even have.
The only limit and challenge that HCC faces is that internet bandwidth is outrageously expensive in Ghana. Since technology in Ghana is not up to speed with other countries, consistent high-quality internet access reaches excessive prices. However, as part of the maturation of technology in Ghana, internet costs are declining every year. The cost has gone down about 1/3 every 18 months as internet becomes more pervasive. Yet, even with these plummeting costs, internet service remains one of the largest expenses on campus.
Although HCC is faced with the challenge of funding these tools and services, it is well worth it and crucial to their mission and vision.
The whole strategy of HCC’s focus around the serious use of technology is unique, even for the United States. Not many universities, in the U.S. or anywhere, have a mandatory, all-electronic campus with no physical textbooks, in which ALL faculty and students have their own laptop. HCC has a lavish infrastructure on campus. The Ghanaian examiners are blown away by the technology that HCC has access to and has implemented. The whole point behind HCC’s technology plan ties into another strategic objective of HCC, which is this…
If you’re going to get a degree in today’s global world, you must be willing to compete. If Africa wants to compete with countries like Europe, Asia, India, and the United States, they must become technology-literate in a very serious way.
HCC is not dumbing down the technology experience for students in the slightest. Instead, they are giving them an advanced technological experience in line with the very best available. HCC is, by orders of magnitude, beyond what you’ll see in any other university in Africa right now, and even in the U.S.
Keep in touch with HCCF’s website and social media platforms for the second and third parts in this series which will take a closer look at the technology fueling some of HCC’s most unique programs the school proudly offers to its students.