NIU faculty and administration need to do more to promote Lynda.com as a learning tool that can be used by students and faculty in and outside of the classroom.
The Division of Information Technology signed a 3-year, $218,700 contract with Lynda.com in fall 2015, according to the results of a Freedom of Information Act request to the Division of IT by the Northern Star. FOIA results show that from November through February, only 9.4 percent of students and NIU employees have accessed their NIU-associated Lynda.com accounts.
Lynda.com, a LinkedIn company, features 12 different subjects including business, design and IT. There are also walk-throughs that teach users how to use different forms of software like Photoshop. Each video is taught by a Lynda-certified industry expert, according to the Lynda.com website.
The Division of IT has been trying its best to promote Lynda.com since the license was obtained in November, but still only 1,449 students and 871 employees logged in to their accounts over a three-month period. Lynda.com was introduced to students in a November email from the Division of IT and in a second email at the start of the spring 2016 semester. The Division of IT held workshops in the fall for faculty members to incorporate Lynda.com into their classrooms and has also held walk-up demonstrations in the Founders Memorial Library and Holmes Student Center to show students how to activate their Lynda.com accounts.
The $218,700 cost is too much for only 9.4 percent of the university to be taking advantage of Lynda.com. The contract fees for this year are coming out of the Division of IT’s budget, said Cindy Kozumplik, Enterprise Resource Planning testing and training coordinator from the Division of IT, who finalized the contract with Lynda.com. Budget issues have left more than 200 faculty and staff positions unfilled since September, according to a Feb. 15 Northern Star article.
Faculty Senate is attempting to incorporate Lynda.com into Blackboard, according to a Nov. 30 Northern Star article, but there is still no timeline for when that may be completed. NIU administration should be communicating with faculty to further implement Lynda.com in classrooms. NIU and its different colleges need to unite with the Division of IT to promote Lynda.com to ensure the $218,700 contract is not a waste of money.