Professor Nick Edwards Discusses IT and the Benefits of Online Learning
posted September 23rd, 2014 by Tricia Hussung
Earning an IT degree is a great choice for your career, giving you a practical, real-world, in-demand qualification. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the information technology field is thriving, with demand for computer and information systems managers expected to grow 15 percent through the year 2022.
With King University’s online IT program, you can earn your degree in a flexible, affordable format and take advantage of the many opportunities for trained IT professionals in today’s job market. Professor Nick Edwards, the program coordinator for our IT degree program, has a lot to say about what makes IT a great choice for an online degree. We spoke with him to get his take on how students like you can reap the benefits of online learning.
Online Makes Sense for You
As the IT program coordinator, Professor Edwards teaches a full load of classes, as well as taking care of faculty hiring and development. Edwards says, “Everything related to the IT curriculum, I’m either in charge of or have a very strong voice in.” Because of his central roles in maintaining the IT curriculum as well as interacting closely with students, Professor Edwards has seen the benefits of online IT learning for students: “It works out really well to use [technology in the educational process] because that’s what students will be doing in the real world,” he says.
If you’re talking about online, we’re talking nationwide. You don’t have to be near us at all.
The benefits of online education go beyond developing technical skills. “In my experience, it’s really good for working adults. The flexibility, the ability to have a full-time job and then go to school. To be able to do all of that without commuting somewhere [to take classes] is the biggest benefit of it,” Professor Edwards says. “I’ve had many students say, ‘I didn’t realize what a benefit this was. I don’t have to worry about getting off work at 5:00 and worry about traffic getting to the classroom. And I always feel like I’m running late.’ You don’t have to worry about that kind of stuff. We have, in Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, some very remote areas, and it’s an hour and a half, two-hour drive for some students. If you’re talking about online, we’re talking nationwide. You don’t have to be near us at all,” he explains.
Why Choose King University?
Professor Edwards has a firsthand understanding of what makes King’s IT program stand out: “There are a couple of things. One is our delivery model, the five-week classes, one class at a time. Also, we want to offer what’s relevant and current. If we’re teaching a course that’s outdated, then we make a change. We offer what’s relevant for students.”
We want to offer what’s relevant and current. If we’re teaching a course that’s outdated, then we make a change. We offer what’s relevant for students.
King also values the knowledge and context students bring into the classroom. “Their input is important. Many students are already working in the industry and have real-world experience that is invaluable to us, and we encourage their input. We value that, want it, encourage it. If we’re doing something that’s not exactly the way it’s being done in the industry, we want to know. All of our classes are project-based and we want two-way communication,” Professor Edwards explains.
As a full-time professor in addition to his responsibilities as program director, Edwards knows how important it is to communicate in the online classroom. “We have a personal relationship with our students. I give students my cell phone number. I accept texts, I let students text me. Personal interaction, using Skype and text messaging, and all those things people are using in their every day life, we use that in teaching students, too,” he says.
The Courses You Need for Career Success
Because of his role in curriculum development, Professor Edwards knows King courses have real-world applications. “One in particular we have that I think benefits everyone is a new class recently added to the curriculum, Cloud Computing. [IT is] all about that virtual environment and being able to access anything from anywhere,” he says.
Security courses at King are especially valuable when it comes to employment after graduation. “The IT security classes are beneficial in several industries – healthcare, the protection of patient data; the banking industry with the regulations of protecting data; government jobs in protecting data. The courses would definitely be a resume-enhancer for someone with an IT degree. If an alum is competing against someone with a general IT degree for a job and King’s alum has the Information Security [education], I think the alum would have a leg-up. All organizations have to worry about data protection and security,” Professor Edwards explains.
Tips and Tricks for Online Learning
Even though online learning is flexible, it is still important for students to manage their time wisely. Professor Edwards has some suggestions for how you can ensure your success in our IT program. “You should try to schedule the same time [to study] every week as if you are going to a classroom. You can wait until you get home and have dinner and relax, but if it’s 9:00 on Wednesday night, try to make it 9:00 on Wednesday night every week,” he says.
Try to schedule the same time to study every week as if you are going to a classroom.
You should also try to keep up with work as it is assigned: “The biggest recommendation with online classes is not to get behind, and if you do have problems, contact your professor as soon as possible. Especially in our five-week format, three or four days can make a huge difference. As soon as you’re having issues, whether it is a computer issue or problem with the content, contact your professor immediately and don’t get behind,” Professor Edwards explains.
When you enroll in the online IT program at King University, you are choosing a degree with real-world value. Professor Edwards and the rest of our faculty are committed to helping you develop the knowledge and skills you need to meet your educational and professional goals. Learn more about our IT program and its specializations to discover what a King degree can mean for your career.