Summer Working Connections – which wrapped up in July – was a rousing success by any measure. This annual event remains one of the National Convergence Technology Center’s (CTC) crown jewels. Ninety IT instructors from 20 states gathered at the Frisco, Texas campus of Collin College and enjoyed north Texas’ first truly hot week of the summer. Nine more joined online via the WebEx webinar platform. These instructors chose to spend five days exploring in-depth one of seven tracks: “Hacking Mobile Devices,” “Linux+ Virtual Labs,” “Microsoft Public Cloud Services,” “NetApp Storage and Management,” “Python Scripting,” “vSphere 5.5” and a special CTC showcase of best practices (including strategies to work with business and industry, communicate with colleagues, use social media tools) called “The Think Tank.” The goal with all of these tracks is to send the instructors home with the know-how to immediately implement the curriculum in the classroom.
The rigorous track instruction was supplemented by additional content from lunch speakers on topics like using gamification and simulation in the IT workplace, teaching the internet of things, and looking ahead to the future of IT. Attendees also participated in a “Birds of a Feather” group discussion workshop and had a chance to go to a “pay your own way” Monday evening networking mixer at a local Tex-Mex restaurant.
The National CTC is diligent in collecting evaluation feedback from Summer Working Connections attendees. One question posed to attendees asked for a self-identification of skill levels. That is, attendees are asked to rate their skill level when Summer Working Connections started on Monday morning and compare that to their skill level at the end of the program on Friday afternoon. A whopping 79% reported an increase of at least one skill level (i.e. they believed they grew from “beginner” level to “intermediate” level or “intermediate” to “advanced”).