About the courses I am currently teaching or have taught recently:
Cisco Computer Networking (CCNA)
Just as Microsoft enjoys a commanding share of the software market CISCO SYSTEMS enjoys a commanding share of the market for the equipment that makes computer networks work. These include the networks in businesses, schools, homes as well as the internet itself.
CISCO realized that a major factor limiting the further development of the internet was the lack of skilled individuals to design networks and program the equipment. In response to that CISCO developed the course that we teach at Steel Valley.
CISCO was probably the one of most difficult, if not the most difficult course ever taught at Woodland Hills. It not only required high-level skills, it also required a great deal of self motivation. The majority of the course was taught on-line and it was self-paced and self-directed. This required a high level of maturity and self-discipline possessed by few high school students. The basic requirements were set by CISCO and students who do not score at least 70% on the semester finals were prohibited by CISCO from moving on to the next level.
This course is useful for students who were interested in pursuing computer networking as a career or were interested in studying a technical or computer-related field in college. Sadly the course was discontinued by Woodland Hills in 2004. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to teach it here at Steel Valley.
The program has great merit and was enjoyed by many students during it's five year run at Woodland Hills. In it's last year 100% of my students enrolled passed the first semester. Many of my students went on to study computer science in college. Some credit the CISCO course for their entry into the field. One student recieved a $ 40,000 scholarship to Penn State. Others got into schools such as Carngie Mellon and Drexel University. At one point six of my students were accepted into the Governor's Institute, a record for Woodland Hills. It is my hope for my students to enjoy similar success at Steel Valley.
Computers seem to be everywhere. Although many of our students are expert users, they don't have a firm understanding of how the computers actually work.
The IT Essentials program was developed by CISCO and Hewlett Packard to teach the theory, operation and repair of computers and computer systems. The course covers enough technical information so that students should feel comfortable designing, repairing and maintaining most computers in use today.
The course is designed to teach students how to deal with various hardware platforms as well as different operating systems and getting them to work together.
The IT Essentials course is not only helpful for students who wish do work in information technology, it also could come in handy for students who intend to operate their own business and will need to set up and maintain a computer network for their office. This course goes beyond the traditional A+ certification that many people in the industry may be familiar with.
Students who take either of these course may be offered an opportunity to work for the district.
Computers is actually a brand new course for the 2007-08 school year. The concept is to expose students to the many other computer course offerings here at Steel Valley by giving them a sample lesson from each course. In addition students will learn some basic computer concepts and skills. Concepts covered include the lessons in how computers are constructed and the nature of various computer operating systems. Basic computer skills such as folder creation and organization skills will also be re-enforced.
Please see the syllabus for more information.
Keyboarding (Taught 2007-2009)
Keyboarding is meant to help students improve their keyboarding skills while fulfilling their computer requirement. This is the same basic course that is offered in Middle School.
Keyboarding II (Taught 2007)
Keyboarding II is an advanced course that was designed to teach advanced document preperation techniques.
Software Applications (Taught for 5 years at Woodland Hills)
Software Applications was originally developed as two separate courses. Software Applications I was developed to give students a basic knowledge of the computer programs they are most likely to encounter. These include Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access.
Software Applications II was originally designed as an AP level course to provide college-bound students a more in-depth knowledge of the Microsoft office suite as well as HTML, used for web page creation.
As computer reliance in our society has expanded both courses have been expanded to include other elements such as Publisher and an introduction to graphics on the computer. The two courses are usually combined into one year-long course and both are now required for most students.
We recognize that most students come to us with basic computer skills. Even though many students spend a great deal of time on computers they may not be learning how to use the programs they will need throughout high school and beyond. Parents need to understand that while a student spending time in chat with their friends or playing games may increase the student's comfort level with a computer, these activities are not doing anything to improve skills that will help them later in life. The main purpose of this course is to give them these skills. For that reason we usually recommend that students take Software Applications early in their high school careers.
Software Applications as I teach it is not a typing course, though limited typing is required. The district does offer a separate course in keyboarding skills for those students wishing to take such a course. Because the district is currently unable to provide computers and software for students to use at home we seldom allow students to do work outside of class.
The district chose the programs and operating systems we use mainly because they are the most likely to be encountered elsewhere. No matter how one may feel about Microsoft there can be no denying that they command over 90% of the market. As the new software releases occur the district will constantly re-evaluate what we are using and will measure the improvements against the cost of software upgrades. I hope that usage outside of Woodland Hills in both education and business will always be a major consideration in the selection of the software we teach.
We were fortunate that Woodland Hills had one of the more progressive computer educational programs in the tri-state area. Although their computer network may have an occasional glitch it was still one of the most advanced among school districts in the Pittsburgh area. They developed have many innovations that keep costs down while meeting or exceeding most federal and state requirements.
In my opinion our students in Woodland Hills had an unparalleled opportunity to expand their knowledge in the use of computers in a meaningful and useful way. As a teacher and former employee of our data center I was grateful to the parents and residents of the district for their support and understanding. Working as a team we developed an outstanding program for our students.
Business Law (Taught at Woodland Hills)
Business law covers the basics of the legal system. Students will learn about the basics of legal ethics, contracts, personal law, criminal law, family law and a few other select areas. Students who take this course should be prepares to work hard.
The objective of this course was two-fold. For those considering a career in the legal profession this course provided a realistic introduction into the world of the law and the legal system. For all others the course provided a background that will assist them in dealing with many of the realities they will be facing as adults. Issues such as signing contracts, purchasing a home, their obligations as an employee, practical issues addressing intellectual property and the realities of family law were all addressed on some level.