February 28, 2013 Central Penn College creates a collaborative IT learning classroom
IT curriculum updates include new concentrations
Central Penn College is keeping pace with the fast-forward motion of the Information Technology (IT) field with updates to its IT curriculum and the creation of a computer classroom that reflects the current trends in teaching models.
One of those models is collaborative learning, a cooperative arrangement in which learners of different abilities and interests work jointly in small groups to complete a project or solve a problem. The new room design encourages collaboration. The new classroom desks allow for computer monitors to be raised and lowered to allow for additional desk space as needed or to let students use the computer to practice hands-on activities. The furniture choices and layout allow the room to be used in several ways—as a computer lab, a traditional lecturing room, a collaborative space or as a flipped classroom, where the instructor is more of a guide to classroom projects and collaboration and the students lead the discussion.
“There is a wide variety of technology included in our new classroom that helps encourage student-focused learning and other current teaching trends,” says Jeremy Dixon, professor and program champion of Central Penn’s information technology program. “The collaborative nature of the room allows instructors, and students alike, the ability to learn from, and teach, each other.”
Specialized software in the classroom allows student computers to be shared on the main projector, on a touch-screen TV mounted on the wall, or across all computers in the lab. The software encourages students to remain focused on the topics being discussed, and it allows information to be shared easier.
Additional technological features include a smart podium interactive display that allows the professor to easily facilitate when addressing remote sites. A web camera-enabled classroom allows students at other sites, including their home, to watch live streaming video in the classroom. All of the furniture is ADA compliant and includes two desks to allow students who may need additional space to feel more comfortable in the room.
Central Penn is committed to maintaining its career-relevant education. The college’s IT program now focuses on three options: networking and security; applications development; and general IT. The program has added several new courses to address the ever-changing industry. Among the new courses are:
- Human-Computer Interaction - the study of how users interact with the various computers that they may use; and
- Virtualization - examining virtualization and how cloud computing is now an important part of everyday computing.
“It is important for us to constantly evaluate and update our curriculum to meet new challenges in the marketplace,” says Dixon.
Central Penn College has been helping students turn potential into career success since 1881, now offering bachelor's and associate degrees in the fields of accounting, business administration, criminal justice, information technology, communications, healthcare, homeland security, legal studies and organizational leadership. The college, currently serving students at its Harrisburg, Lancaster and Lehigh Valley locations, attributes its high rate of student success to a caring faculty and its hands-on learning approach. Based on Central Penn’s most recent One-Year Graduate Survey, 82.9 percent of graduates were employed in their chosen field or continuing their education within one year of graduation. Central Penn College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. www.centralpenn.edu