CCN Focus: Rajiv Malkan, Lone Star Community College

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During the 2018 CCN Summit, Rajiv Malkan receives a certificate from Dr. Ann Beheler for his participation.

As a part of the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) featured blogs, we would like to introduce to you some of our professors and instructors in the Convergence College Network (CCN) community. The CCN is a select cohort of community colleges and universities from across the country that connects IT educators with a wealth of resources to enhance their programs. In this week’s Q&A blog, we’re featuring Rajiv Malkan, Professor of Computer Information Technology, at Lone Star College – Montgomery, Houston, TX.

What do you teach?  Computer Science, Business, and IT courses.

How long have you been a teacher? I have been teaching for more than 33 years. From 1985 – 1995, I taught at Lamar University-Orange (now known as Lamar State College – Orange), and from 1995 – present, I have been teaching at Lone Star College, Montgomery.

What sparked your interest in teaching? When I was doing my Master’s in Computer Science, I was offered a teaching assistantship.  When I taught my first class in COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) – I became very interested as students’ eyes were brighten when they understood some concepts. That sparked my interest in going into an academic field.

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Rajiv teaching a class during the 2018 Summer Working Connections.

What is the secret to successfully teaching IT to students? Teaching IT students is challenging because they think it is hard.  I try to emphasize to my students that they need to focus on understanding the basic concepts of the topic and you will do fine. In technology understanding the basic concepts is very critical.  I try to emphasize that students are clear about the underlying concepts of a topic.  For example, when we discuss about ASCII coding system, I spend time helping them understand 0’s and 1’s and how different characters are derived with different 0’s and 1’s combination and why. Based on such understanding, advance topics are easier to comprehend.

What’s the biggest challenge of teaching IT? The biggest challenge in teaching IT is to make students understand that it is not difficult to master information technology.  Also, that the IT field is a dynamic field and thus requires constant and regular updating.

Have you always been a teacher? If you had a job in industry prior to teaching what was it? I worked as in the industry back in India, and in the U.S, I have been in the teaching field, but have lots of industry experience as a consultant.

How has the CCN helped you? CCN has been a tremendous help to me and my students.  The IT Faculty Professional Development has allowed me to learn new and emerging technologies.  These workshops encouraged me to incorporate new learning materials in the curriculum and also to offer more courses and certificates and degrees. Relation with CCN grew as we became a partner in the new renewal grant last year. CCN’s IT Faculty Professional Development workshops allows IT faculty to learn new and emerging technologies.  After every such workshop, I update my courses to include new and emerging topics.  I also make a list of topics and let students do some research and make a presentation in the class.  Also – IT faculty workshops have allowed us to update the curriculum and add courses such as Mobile Apps Development, Cyber Security, etc., in our degree plans.  The workshops’ topics are always forward looking – allowing the faculty to be a step ahead of the dynamic field.

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Rajiv and colleagues attending the 2018 CCN Summit.

What advice would you give a new community college joining CCN? Be involved and know that you have the ability to share resources. Ask questions if you need anything because we have a wealth of knowledge among CCN members.

Is there anything you would like to suggest improving the CCN program? The Team is doing an excellent job.  Keep it up.

How do you see the IT landscape changing in the next 5 years? Emerging technologies – such as AI, Blockchain, Machine Learning, IoT, Analytics – will all become part of our daily vocabularies.

Anything else we should know but didn’t ask about? Keep up the good work and Kudos to CCN team.

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