Attractive short courses - Faculty Personal Homepage

Attractive short courses
Continuing education is becoming a professional necessity in IT and computer related
fields. Short courses that are attractive to the industry may be quite different from
academic courses. Industry participants expect to develop their knowledge and acquire
technical skills that have direct relationships with their day-to-day professional activities.
For this the selection of a title and content is one important task towards the success or
failure of each short course.
Before you propose a short course ask yourself the following questions:
Has there been a recent short course given on this subject?
Who are you trying to reach?
Is there a wide interest in a given subject?
Is this subject one for the future, or is it burned out?
Are you really willing to take the course responsibility?
What are the short courses that are conducted by business training centers?
Are there wide industry continuing education programs on the same topic?
Once you have settled on an idea that is wanted by the industry and not being offered by
others, ask yourself:
How many professionals might come? Be realistic!
How can you best advertise? How you best personally reach the people that
you would like to attend?
Can you get the best people to reach the course, even if they must pay their
own way to the course?
Do not attempt to provide only your personal answers to the above questions. Seek the
opinion of other course coordinators in the department, college, university. Modify your
idea as needed and try to offer a topic that is really needed by the industry and not being
currently offered by others.
A systematic approach
How to find out what the industry needs. The most effective way to get the right
information is the direct contact with the industry. However, one may also use a
variety of indirect approaches such as (1) phone calls to relevant industry, (2) ask
students returning from COOP and Summer Training and identify major reported
topics, (3) seek opinion of other coordinators, (4) consult with part-time students,
Emphasize professional development. Generally, short course participants expect
to be introduced and trained on a material that concentrates more on developing
their hand-on experience. The topic needs to be shortly introduced before
developing its application such as associated tools, case studies, and other
practical and professional aspects. Specifically, the participants need to be trained
on how to operate software and hardware tools, run experiments, interpret results,
and generate the right decision.
Have many lab sessions. A recommended common figure is to allocate at least
50% of the instruction time for lab activities. One approach is to set morning
lecture session followed by an afternoon lab session as a direct application of
morning session. For this prepare the lab experiments ahead of time and include
them in the course material. Select lab supervisors among those experienced
Select a suitable title for the short course topic that is the most representative of
the technical content.