Section 3: Programs
The institution provides facilities and other learning/information resources that are appropriate to support its teaching, research, and service mission.
Narrative:TSTC distance-learning students are instructed via two different learning technologies: interactive television (ITV) and Internet resources. WTC provides ITV courses by which the student can hear and see an instructor in real time to four different TSTC locations in Texas including Sweetwater, Abilene, Brownwood and Breckenridge. The WTC science department also employs Internet-based methods to provide learning resources for its Anatomy and Physiology classes offered to TSTC students. In these courses, the lecture is done via ITV technology, and the lab is done online via the course’s textbook publisher, McGraw-Hill. The publisher offers ARIS, a complete online tutorial and course management system, to facilitate online instruction.
The Western Texas College mission statement provides in Goal 7 that Western Texas College shall have “Support for educational programs, faculty, and students through library, media services and technology departments.” The College library provides access to the library for all students, whether they are traditional on-campus students or students taking classes online or by ITV. The WTC library, which is housed in the Learning Resource Center building, has 31,244 print and non-print items available in its various collections. The first floor of the library houses reference and reserve materials, newspapers and popular magazines, academic journals, audiocassettes, DVD’s, videos, and circulating digital cameras. The second floor houses bound periodicals, microforms, microfilm readers and circulating print media. A microfilm copier is located at the circulation desk. Computers located in the Reading/Media room provide access to the library catalog as well as the Internet. Various types of software are loaded to these computers to enable the students to complete library assignments created by faculty. Also, the library’s catalog can be accessed online from any location at any time through opening the college’s homepage and using the “Quick Link” drop down menu and choosing the library link.
Types of student access to the College library’s learning/information resources depend upon how the student is enrolled in the College. Traditional on-campus students can access the library’s resources physically or online. Students who choose to access library resources via the Internet can do so from the College homepage and accessing the Library’s resources via a drop down menu focusing on Western Texas College - Library as the option in the menu. From there, students can access the library’s 23 databases, including TexShare Databases. TexShare is licensed and administered by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for a statewide consortium of academic and public libraries and libraries of clinical medicine. These databases are accessible 24/7 from any computer worldwide, and they provide maps, 27,000 full-text e-books available from NETLIBRARY on TexShare, in addition to full-text periodical articles and full-text reference tool selections covering all areas of knowledge. These databases are electronic "shelves" stocked with encyclopedias, reference books, literature, medical information, technical, business, and scientific journals, and even current newspapers and magazines. The TexShare databases are current, accurate, commercial-free and available to all patrons of the WTC library.
The TexShare program also provides the TexShare Library Card Program, which allows students, faculty, and staff of Western Texas College to borrow materials from all other participating TexShare libraries, subject to individual library policies and procedures, and requires the WTC library to reciprocate by allowing other TexShare participants to borrow from the WTC collection.
Access to the Library of Texas and an Interlibrary Loan program balances the collection. In addition, the WTC library has an agreement with the Scurry County Library whereby the county library’s resources, such as the more than 70,000 different types of materials available there, are available to WTC students. The staff members of the Scurry County Library also provide WTC students assistance if needed.
For distance-learning Western Texas College student access to databases, appropriate logins and passwords are available from the WTC library staff by telephone, e-mail, or in person. Library brochures instruct the students in accessing not only the databases available, but also all services offered by the library. Students receive master usernames and passwords from their instructors, from the library staff, or from print materials in the library.
Western Texas College also serves its distance-learning students with access to current technology to facilitate student communication and participation with instructors. In the Western Texas College mission statement, Goal 3 states that the College will develop and continually review objectives to be attained through specific systems and processes, “a program of distance learning instruction which is equivalent in quality to main-campus instruction”. Western Texas College meets this mission objective by offering both on-campus students and distance-learning students ready access to the learning resources of the College library as well as its technology resources, such as ITV and Internet services.
For example, the College has an agreement [Is this a formal, written agreement? If so, we need to document it. –EB] with Texas State Technical College (TSTC) whereby WTC has assumed responsibility for providing the academic curriculum for the TSTC vocational nursing program and other Allied Health programs. Students in these programs are enrolled in both institutions, but for transcripting purposes for courses provided by WTC, the College is the primary institution of record. TSTC students have the same access to the WTC library databases and learning resources as any other off-campus student.