The objective of iNoVATE, a consortium of five colleges, an ATE Regional Center and the Florida Department of Education, is to develop a statewide technical certificate in Network Virtualization. Along with a curriculum framework, this project delivers student labs, faculty training, and summer programs to high school students.
The main goals of this project are: (1) Develop, implement and disseminate curriculum for a Networking Virtualization statewide technical certificate; (2) Establish networking virtualization labs where students can access equipment to practice virtualization skills in-person or remotely; (3) Develop and deliver a series of Network Virtualization Train-the-Trainer faculty workshops and instructional resources; and (4) Create and deliver hands-on summer programs to help at least 100 high school students strengthen their math and science skills and increase their understanding of virtualization technology.
iNoVATE's Network Virtualization certificate framework and the training program is shared by all 28 institutions in the Florida College System. The project team provides resources for each of the technical certificate courses and creates distance learning options for rural technician education. In addition, a series of workshops related to Network Virtualization increase faculty understanding of this emerging technology. Project outcomes are disseminated via the Center for Convergence Technology and its national network of partner colleges. Industry partners, Cisco, VMware and Citrix, contribute hardware and software, and they assist with modifying their existing curricula materials so they can be used by iNoVATE.
The guiding principles in developing the curriculum for students to have access to 21st century knowledge and skills not currently offered on a broad scale to community college or high school school students. Specifically, we are developing the curriculum so that community college and high school students have access to a sequence og Network Virtualization courses, which will provide them with high tech skills and allow them to participate and enhance the existing IT workforce. We have worked closely with industry partners VMware, Citrix, and EMC, who are generously donating virtualization training curricula and equipment. Our business and industry leadership team has been used as a sounding board for our curriculum development so that our graduates would have the skills and abilities necessary to succeed in the workplace, and have helped to drive the curriculum objectives to align with industry needs. The curriculum was developed in partnership with a Course Development Team (CDT) which: a) developed course content materials for each individual course topic b) created, evaluated, and tested individual course topics c) evaluated the overall course for completeness and clarity, and d) evaluated and applied online course development. Each member of the CDT partnership attended regularly scheduled meetings and summer training for curriculum development, piolot testing, evaluation, and revision activities. The CDT met via conference call on a bi-weekly basis for the first six months of the project (until the courses were developed) and monthly thereafter. We have implemented virtualization technology to enable students to study the technologies that are fast becoming high demand, as well as allowing the students that are not studying virtualization technologies per se the ability to access labs outside of the classroom lab times. When we began, some of our virtualized lab environments were accessable only from with the college network during the times that our Open Networking lab was open. Currently, most of our labs are available 24/7 from any computer with internet access and a web browser. All of this was developed to provide a National database from which schools throughout the country can access to implement a Network Virtualization program that is consistent nationwide.