HOW WE WILL IMPLEMENT THIS PROJECT
Leveraging Existing Relationships
Community organizations know their communities. While Metropolitan Community College (MCC) is a community organization, MCC’s primary focus is educating non-traditional students in the community. Other community organizations have existing clientele. Rather than attempting to establish a new cohort of potential students by scouring the community, OCTEIN seeks to let community partners work however they work best, as we believe our community partners know their clientele best.
Providing Free Curriculum
OCTEIN’s core lies in several non-credit, industry certificate aligned courses. Curriculum is designed for delivery in 5-day, 10-day, 5-week, or 10-week formats, depending on the needs of the organization. OCTEIN courses may be delivered by any volunteer, there is no requirement to hold specific academic credentials.
Volunteers may attend MCC-sponsored training, and/or participate in a mentorship program and community of practice to facilitate best-learning practices. The basic requirements to teach an OCTEIN course: a). a desire to learn; b). a desire to introduce technology and technology-related concepts. What does this free curriculum potentially mean? By introducing technology to students in a low-risk environment, OCTEIN seeks to set students up for success.
Providing Training and Mentorship to Partner Organizations
OCTEIN is designed around the concept or empowering the community to build the tech pipeline. The Omaha Metropolitan Area is rich in civic participation, and there is a strong spirit of volunteerism in the community.
Not all volunteers are technologists.
OCTEIN seeks to empower the community by offering volunteer training and mentorship to any community member that wishes to teach OCTEIN courses. Training will take place as 5 or 10-week non-credit course delivered in person, remotely (live online session), or a mixture thereof.
Providing Free Access to a Cloud-Based Lab Environment
Metropolitan Community College’s Fort Omaha Campus is home to a $24 million academic data center. The academic data center has been built to provide students with practical, hands-on IT experience. The community supported MCC by investing in the academic data center, and MCC is returning the favor by providing access to the academic data center back to the community.
Omaha is a very diverse city, both in terms of racial and ethnic population, but also in terms of wealth distribution. A specific challenge within the community is access to adequate technology to facilitate learning. Very few students can afford to build a “home lab”, and few non-IT organizations can afford the investment in labs themselves, much less the long tail of maintenance. By providing access to the MCC Academic Data Center, OCTEIN seeks to provide equal access to technology. OCTEIN courses are written to be conducted within the Academic Data Center. Ultimately, an OCTEIN student would need 1). High-speed Internet access, and 2). A single laptop or desktop computer.