Summer Working Connections South was successful at helping over 30 faculty from around the country learn about new technologies. The event was held July 15-19, at Florida State College at Jacksonville, in Jacksonville Florida and was a partnership with the National Convergence Technology Center’s National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. The five-day training workshops offered several tracks that cover a range of the most in-demand topics in IT. The goal of Working Connections is to provide attendees with the expertise needed to teach their respective track in a subsequent semester, bringing the most current information to their classrooms either as a stand-alone course or as supplemental information to an existing course.
The faculty attending Working Connections South learned some of the latest technologies taught by some of the best instructors in the county including Don Bittinger’s notable hands-on Mobile Device Programming track; Dr. Wally Eaton impressed the faculty in his Advanced Network Analysis, Troubleshooting and Security using Wireshark track; Dr. Timur Mirzoev track included an stirring hands-on experience in VMware; and Lee Toderick’s inspiring track on EMC Storage provided the faculty with the skills to incorporate best of class curriculum into existing or new courses at their home college.
Here is a small sample of the feedback on the features from attendees at Working Connections South:
- I liked the comfortable atmosphere, connections with bright, thoughtful, dedicated colleagues, and the chance to learn about some cutting edge tools.
- The technical component of the training was fabulous! The inclusion of hands-on exercises was very important, and we had plenty of those. The location of the actual training facility in relation to the hotel location was great; the commute was very short and simple. The classroom was great.
- The hospitality was above and beyond by the FSCJ staff. The foresight to provide lunch each day to prevent the stress of having to leave the learning environment was stellar.
- Collegial atmosphere, focus on concrete skills
Bringing Working Connections to the classroom
Here is a small sample of the feedback on how the attendees will use the information learned at Working Connections South:
- I will incorporate activities in all of my classes where students will have the opportunity to create apps for mobile devices. The products they produce will provide evidence of my increased capacity to provide guidance in this area.
- We will be adding this course to our curriculum and I will be teaching it. I will verify the impact by tracking the students who take the class to see if the employment opportunity was enhance.
- I will participate in the build out of a similar Netlab at my college, and help foster a strong program that builds a strong virtualization community.
- The training meets the requirement for certification, which in turn will facilitate being able to sit for the exam. Once certified I will be in a position to impact students with knowledge obtained.
- Integrate the appropriate portions of the material into existing courses in program. Feedback from hosts of required program internship.
- Better communications with IT professionals to encourage student learning in this area. Enrollment growth and referrals.
Working Connections South was a great success due in large part to the dedication of the presenters of the four tracks and all the people at Florida State College who were behind the scenes to make it possible. Although this was our first time hosting Working Connection, the staff at the National Convergence Technology Center at Collin College in Frisco, Texas provided a great support network. We look forward to an even more robust Working Connections South in 2014.