ALN 2000 Conference – November 5, 2000 The NACTEL Project: An In-depth Look At A Successful Partnership Pace University/NACTEL Partners FIPSE LAAP Grantee
Background (original objectives, partners, curriculum) Program Benefits Challenges (curriculum, student support, partnership issues) Students Agenda
Original Objectives • Create an industry standard associate degree of science in telecommunications program • Industry driven curriculum • Delivered over distance • Help to prepare current and potential employees for “network technician” types of jobs • Help to meet current and anticipated job market needs for highly qualified technicians • Joint union and company sponsorship
Labor Unions Corporations Educational Partner Project Manager Grant Support IBEW CWA Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) GTE (now Verizon) SBC US West (now Qwest) Citizens Communications (new) Pace University CAEL Alfred P. Sloan Foundation NACTEL Partners
Pace University • Pace University is chartered by the Regents of the State of New York and is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. • Pace University information: http://www.pace.edu/ • Pace University has been delivering courses online since 1995. Courses have been developed for: • IBM • Special Libraries Association • University of Dallas • Educational Testing Service • NACTEL
Pace/NactelKey Dates • Fall 1997 Initial meeting of consortium partners • Summer 1998 Grant from Sloan Foundation • Spring 1999 Pilot classes begin • Fall 1999 “Official” program launch • Fall 2000 Second full year of program
Liberal Arts Courses English Topics in Sociology Physics Philosophy: Ethics and Values in the Information Age Computer Applications Psychology: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Technical Math Major Courses AC/DC Electrical Circuits Solid State Devices and Circuits Basic Digital Gates and Logic Circuits Telecommunications I, II, III, IV Technical Writing Electives Online Student Seminar Refresher Math Composition and Rhetoric Prior Learning Assessment Curriculum
“Official” Benefits Current employees courses are available any time, any place reduces work schedule and course availability issues addresses geographic issues Potential employees builds candidate pool of people entering industry addresses rural recruitment issues Curriculum has industry wide acceptance Sharing curriculum development and conversion cost “Unofficial” Benefits labor unions and corporations working together to solve key issue Benefits
Internet delivered technical curriculum Industry needs vs. academic interests/practices Student assessment and evaluation (how much, how often, hands-on, practical vs. theoretical) Secure testing – need for authentication Challenges - Curriculum
Internet Delivered Technical Curriculum We chose CourseInfo from Blackboard because it had many features to enhance online learning: • A clear and well organized layout • Threaded discussions • Real-time chat with white board • Assessment Tools and Grade book • Collaborative Work Groups • User Tracking • Online File Exchange
A Look at a Course Main Course Window: Announcements can be found on this page every time you log into the course. Pertinent information regarding course assignments, discussion topics, and even exams will be displayed in this section.
A Look at a Course Navigation Area: The navigation area consists of a series of buttons located along the left side of the screen. Selecting any of these buttons will take you to the corresponding area of the course.
Industry Needs Vs Academic Interests/Practices • Students come to the Pace/Nactel program with company training as well as credits from other colleges. • Pace has a team of people to evaluate students’ prior learning and to assess whether or not they meet the criteria for the company/union/university approved courses. * In addition, students have the opportunity to take INT100 Introduction to Prior Learning Assessment. This course assists students in applying for experiential learning credit.
Student Assessment and Evaluation Before students enroll in any Pace/Nactel course they are required to complete the following assessments: • Hardware/Software Assessment: to determine if their systems are appropriate. • Prior Learning Assessment: to determine if they are expecting to receive credit from an outside institution for any of the courses in this degree program • Math Skills Readiness Assessment: to determine the students’ math abilities and appropriate advisement/placement.
Secure Online Testing * Pace University is an accredited institution and this degree program carries academic credit. Therefore, the issue of periodic student verification is very important. *One of the steps that we have developed to address this need is a student proctoring system. * Students follow a set of procedures to find a proctor. The proctor supervises and administers various examinations throughout courses. • Proctors enable the University to verify that the person who completed the assessment followed all necessary examination guidelines and is actually the individual receiving credit for the course.
Students - faculty - classes in an online learning environment Re-thinking “traditional” student support in an online environment (information, program orientation, application, screening, registration, advising, social interaction, bookstore, library, accounting, feedback, quality, career planning) Challenges - Student Support
Online Learning Support • Designated technical support hotline and email addresses • Online Student Seminar - a one credit course to be taken before any other courses, designed to orient students to online learning • Small class size - although we are not limited to seats in a classroom we feel strongly that in order to create a climate of learning and provide students with a personal touch class size needs to be limited. • Web sites packed with information and Frequently Asked Questions: • http://www.nactel.org • http://csis.pace.edu/nactel
500 students enrolled Primarily from the 4 partner companies Range in age from 20 to 55 Average age 36.5 60% male 40% female Coming from 37 states Students (Fall ‘00)
What the students had to say: • Very nice job by Pace. • I've gone from knowing next to nothing about my computer to feeling comfortable in using it and the software. • Immediate returns. I am able to use the knowledge gained from this course at the office. • I enjoyed the course • Over all I loved the course and I'm looking forward to the rest of the classes. • I enjoyed the course and learned a lot from it. • Great program. Great class. Keep up the good work. • Online learning is so much less boring than traditional classes! I love it!
What the students had to say: • It is totally related to my job. • I learned a lot about electronics that will be helpful in my job. • With my schedule it was perfect because I was able to work on the materials anytime. • The most valuable thing about this course? Almost everything, from the text, to EWB, to lesson plans. All were well organized and informative... Great • I believe that I learned more in this type of learning arrangement than the traditional class. • Learning the material on your own gives you a chance to gain a real understanding of the topics covered in class. All of the lecture notes were well written. • The fact that I was able to immediately use on the job as I was learning the material.
[With NACTEL] “we're moving beyond traditional workplace training. It's critical that we help employees develop the skills to deliver the technologically sophisticated services our customers demand." "Labor Department statistics indicate that many of the jobs in today's economy won't exist a few years out. In the telecommunications and other parts of the economy, lifelong learning is the key to the future.” Other Quotes (Randy MacDonald, Executive VP - GTE) (Morton Bahr, President - CWA)
Questions/Comments? • For additional information: • Dr. David Sachs, Assistant Dean, NACTEL Program Director, and FIPSE LAAP Principal Investigator, Pace University at: email@example.com • Professor Nancy Hale, NACTEL Program Director, Pace University, at: firstname.lastname@example.org • Ms. Susan Kannel, NACTEL Program Director, CAEL, at: email@example.com • NACTEL Web Site: http://www.nactel.org • Pace/NACTEL Web Site: http://csis.pace.edu/nactel