Education / NWCC Networking Class Set for National Certification

By Tallo, LaJuan | The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), April 10, 2013 | Go to article overview

Education / NWCC Networking Class Set for National Certification


Tallo, LaJuan, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)


Every so often in a teacher's career, an exceptional group of students comes along. Such is the case with Temple Allen's 2013 sophomore computer networking class at Northwest Mississippi Community College.

"This has been an exceptional group because of the quality of these students," Allen said. "They have bonded with each other and made lifelong friendships."

Allen is one of two instructors teaching the information systems technology degree at Northwest. She teaches the computer networking technology option that prepares students for employment in such jobs as computer support specialists, network technicians and network managers or administrators. Her graduating class this year, made up of six male students from their mid-20s to late 40s, will have an added advantage. They are preparing to take the CompTIA Network+, a national certification test. "This is a difficult test to pass, so our students are putting in additional time as individuals and as a group to prepare for it."

Allen feels this class has proven itself able to take and pass this certification. "They'll have this certification right out of the box," she said. "They have been preparing for it the whole time they have been in this program."

Allen says that her students will be more easily employable with both their associate degree and this national certification. According to the testing website, "companies such as Dell, HP, Ricoh, Sharp and Xerox recommend or require CompTIA Network+ for their networking technicians. It is a technical prerequisite option for IT technicians seeking to join the Apple Consultants Network and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense."

The computer networking technology program covers everything from cabling, communications hardware, topologies and access methods, according to Allen. She said that the curriculum for the major includes both theory classes and hands-on experience. "One unique element of our teaching style is that we run our classrooms more like an office. There's a lot of give and take and we work on problems as a group. Our students have to be very self- disciplined," Allen said.

Networking classes have a lab set up where they are responsible for at least three computers that they have to set up as a network. The students have to install operating systems and make their computers communicate with each other.

"They have hardware and software failures just like in the real world. …

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