The National Convergence Technology Center’s (CTC) “Brown Bag” webinar series that offers special topic presentations via bite-sized, 30-minute segments continues this fall. These half-hour presentations – first launched in fall 2020 – offer IT educators expert perspectives on unique technical and employability topics. Faithful blog readers know this series was inspired by a request from the CTC’s National Visiting Committee review panel to find new ways to offer additional faculty professional development.
Last week, 60 faculty members from across the country attended “A Very Quick Introduction to Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains.” The presentation was delivered by Dr. Debasis Bhattacharya, Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii Maui College, and he covered a lot in just a half hour. In addition to explanations of blockchain and the products that run on that technology like Bitcoin and smart contracts, he provided attendees with free blockchain labs – and even demonstrated one of them. You can access a shared Google Drive here to see the presentation and download the two labs. Feel free to use them in your classroom.
This interest in teaching blockchain concepts to faculty is driven primarily by the recommendation of the CTC’s Business and Industry Leadership Team (BILT). The May 2021 BILT meeting spent a fair amount of time discussing blockchain and cryptocurrency trends. That led to the convening of a “Tiger Team” in July to look further at blockchain technology and identify which skills and concepts IT students need to know. You can access the minutes of that meeting here. While blockchain may not be widely integrated into business and industry yet, employers agree that this is where IT is ultimately headed. Blockchain will be an essential part of cybersecurity, software, and infrastructure. It’s not “if” but “when.” Contrast that with our “Brown Bag” webinar attendees – of the 37 faculty attendees who completed a post-webinar survey, just four reported currently spending any classroom time talk about blockchain and cybersecurity skills and concepts.
Next up for the “Brown Bag” webinars will be Andrew Lutz from Johnson County Community College and “Developing and Hosting Your Own Cybersecurity Competition” on Wednesday, November 17 (12:30pm Central). If you want to make sure you’re on the invite list, contact us at nationalCTC@collin.edu.
See the list below to watch recordings of the previous “Brown Bag” webinars.
November 2020’s Providing IT in a Crisis
December 2020’s Avoiding LinkedIn Blunders
February 2021’s How to Bring Practical AI to the Community College
April 2021’s Integrating the Raspberry Pi into Your IT Program