(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Cybersecurity program offers live online classrooms so that students taking the online program can receive extra one-on-one help if they need it.
Instructors from TSTC’s Cybersecurity program man a live online classroom for students to join anytime from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
“As good as the content is in the courses, it’s really helpful to have a student come in that doesn’t quite understand what’s going on here to be able to explain it (to them) in a little different way or to give them some examples,” Cybersecurity instructor Doug Peters said.
When a student joins the online classroom, they go into a breakout room with an instructor and receive one-on-one help in whatever topic they are currently working through.
Keith Kooyman, TSTC’s statewide online Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics lead instructor, said the idea for the extra online classroom sprang from a discussion held during a weekly meeting for Cybersecurity program instructors.
“What we have here with this online classroom is a representation of the effectiveness of the online cyber instructor team,” he said. “This is something that’s been a child of a bit of a brainstorm, a think tank, if you will, and it’s been highly successful.”
Kooyman said that during the fall semester, they see about 30 to 35 students a day who join the classroom for extra one-on-one help.
“Cybersecurity now touches nearly every aspect of our lives,” Cybersecurity instructor Joel Bryant said. “Whether it is the farming industry or aviation, all these different industries all touch the cybersecurity field.”
Due to the variety of industries that cybersecurity plays a role in, Bryant said TSTC is constantly updating and adapting its program to meet industry needs so that it does not “remain static.”
TSTC’s Cybersecurity program is part of the college’s TSTCYou initiative, which is an accelerated and flexible performance-based education (PBE) model that works with busy schedules.
In PBE, students work with an enrollment coach to develop a schedule in two-hour time blocks. Lectures, videos and other learning content is on Canvas, a learning management system. Instructors also do mini-lectures during the day, with tests being demonstration-based, either online or written.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity, two certificates of completion in Cybersecurity, and an advanced technology certificate in Digital Forensics Specialist.
According to onetonline.org, digital forensics analysts in Texas can earn a median salary of $83,340 a year. The website projected that there would be a 20% increase in the number of such jobs in the state from 2020 to 2030.
Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.