A Virtual Assessment of Historically Black Colleges and Universities
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Technology is advancing the way people interact, communicate and learn at exponential rates. To determine if Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are keeping pace with the new digital resources available, this paper assesses HBCU web sites. Three practical ideal categories are derived from a review of relevant literature pertaining to institutional web sites, distance education courses/programs and information technology strategic planning literature. The purpose of this research project is to identify whether HBCUs are offering ideal institutional web sites, distance education programs and online courses, as well as, strategic plans that address increasing information technology on HBCU campuses. Content analyses of sixty web sites is used to determine if how well they provide general information and information about distance education programs. The top 10 HBCUs are further reviewed to determine whether they are providing information technology strategic plans. Coding sheets to observe the data were created for each ideal category based on the literature review. All of the HBCUs reviewed provided web sites and a majority of them provided key components associated with an ideal institutional web site, such as an introduction to the college and a posted mission statement. The opposite was observed in terms of HBCUS offering distance education programs and online classes. Only a third of the web sites reviewed provided such programs. While two of the 10 schools assessed had various aspects of information technology strategic plans available through their web sites, none of the 10 schools had strategic plans focused exclusively on information technology. Overall, HBCUs web sites are consistent with ideal components identified in the literature. Many of the web sites contained a mission statement, faculty credentials, and accreditation information. On the other hand, a number of HBCUs did not provide ideal components for an institutional web site that offered distance education programs, online courses and information technology strategic plans.