Ball State’s vice president of information technologies has been nominated for a national technology award for his focus on students.
Phil Repp has been working on restructuring the way the university approaches the topic of lifelong education. His work has earned him a nomination from the readers of The Chronicle of Higher Education to be 2013’s Technology Innovator.
According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Repp “pioneered a student-centered approach to information technology at Ball State.” This work focuses on creating an environment where learning transcends the classroom that connects learning to the overall human experience.
“I’m asked to run a basic utility to campus, the information utility,” Repp said. “But I’m also asked to create and innovate these technologies. What I find interesting about my work is that I can daily switch from these two different worlds.”
Repp said the connections allow the classroom to become more about the person figuring out the material through human interaction that will lead to persistent learning throughout students’ lives. He said this thinking came together in the “persistent learning experience platform,” or PLEP.
Repp and other professors at Ball State created PLEP to keep up with competing universities and online programs. The focus is on the changing ways students find and work with information and the blurring line between online and on-campus classes. Repp said his team looks for ways to incorporate these changes into curriculum and software.
“He’s a big thinker, very creative,” said Michael Goldsby, the executive director of the Entrepreneurship Center in the Miller College of Business. The two have worked together on PLEP and other projects.
Repp’s past works helped the university earn a $40 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., which funded much of the Center for Media Design. He now oversees the $17.7 million Emerging Media Initiative that helps Ball State focus on the application of innovative technologies into the field while pushing economic growth in the 21st century workforce.
“He understands the process of taking big ideas and bringing them into the real, which very few people have that skill set,” Goldsby said. “You can see Ball State provides great immersive learning opportunities and Phil has been a big part of that change.”
In the future, Goldsby hopes Repp can work on off-campus learning that still embraces the immersive learning opportunities at Ball State. Currently a big obstacle in distance education that both Goldsby and Repp recognize is the disconnect that comes with distance.