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IN THIS ISSUE:

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Introducing Web 3.0

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Experiential Learning at SNHU

Welcome to the Internet’s next phase, aka the Internet of Things. In this issue, we examine the connective forces behind IoT – and the degrees poised to keep you on top of it.

From blue sky to Pi in the sky, it’s the education trend everybody’s talking about. Join us as we move the conversation online.

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Q&A: Students & Faculty

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Engineering the Future

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STEM News

Meet the pioneering STEM students diving into online experiential learning and the visionary expert who made it all happen.

Aspiring business leaders with a knack for systems engineering, we have your MBA. Plus: Our new BS in Management Information Systems hones the skills needed to drive the future of business.

It’s all about the power of connections. Case in point #1: Connecting science and soccer to teach STEM-related concepts to middle school girls. And #2: Two women in STEM connecting the dots between art, business, healthcare and technology.


At SNHU, experiential learning is catching on like wildfire, especially for STEM subjects like data visualization, cloud computing and the Internet of Things. This issue dives deep into both experiential learning and the Internet of Things, two topics that are inextricably linked and endlessly fascinating. You’ll discover how they’ve changed the way we live and learn, particularly in online education. You’ll even hear about augmented reality and how we’re using it with tools like Raspberry Pi (the kind you program, not the kind you eat).

GWEN ASKS…

REMEMBER 7 TH GRADE SCIENCE? Who can forget it, right? For most of us, that’s the year you dissect frogs, a middle school rite of passage. It’s also one of the earliest forms of “experiential learning” we’re exposed to as students.

You’ll also meet JP Dhabolt and Leah NobleChristoff, two SNHU students who’ve already taken a variety of online experiential learning courses with us – everything from robotics to Oracle database management to Tableau data visualization. Oh, and you’ll hear more from me on experiential learning and the Internet of Things, both of which are fast becoming a major part of my everyday life. If my guess is right, that’s true for you, too.

Gwen Britton Bio Dr. Gwen Britton is SNHU’s executive director of online STEM programs. She’s also a software engineer, an expert on math education for kids and a painter. In each issue, she’ll ask (and answer) a question about STEM based on the cover story. Got a question about this issue’s main feature? Tweet us @SNHU.

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Introducing

W3.0 EB I

The internet’s next phase is already here

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s you get dressed in the morning, you put on your watch. Glancing at it, you discover you had a great night’s sleep. You learn that your 10 am meeting was postponed. And you map out your lunchtime run, determined to get the info you need to perfect your cadence.

You make your way from your bedroom down the hallway, where you pass your thermostat. It knows your temperature preferences, so there’s no need to make adjustments. As you enter the kitchen, your fridge alerts you to the milk on the verge of expiring. And as you’ve resolved to get your nutrition on track – again – you pull out your smart plate and enter your weighted breakfast into the corresponding app. You walk out the door to head to work, realizing when you’ve reached your car that you forgot to lock your home’s front door. No problem – you can flip the deadbolt from the fob on your keychain. As you step into your car and turn it on, it speaks to you, letting you know you’re low on gas and where on your route you can fill up on the cheap. You haven’t even pulled in to work yet, and you’ve “connected” through several devices already.

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WELCOME TO THE

Smart thermostats can save 10%-12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills.*

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*Nest

Internet of Things.


Connected cars can direct you to the nearest gas station and alert friends to your arrival time.* *BMW Blog

up into the cloud – somebody’s got big buildings filled with hard drives and data and storage, but what they’re doing is they’re renting out their storage. That, to us, is the cloud.” Projections show that 6.4 billion “things” will be connected over the world this year – a whopping 30 percent increase over 2015, with 5.5 million new things connected every day.1 Likewise, spending for services will jump to $235 billion.

IoT

isn’t just a buzzword that describes the cool ways we can make our lives easier, smarter, better. It’s the collection of sensorbased devices, buildings, even communities, that compiles and analyzes the one thing that’s necessary to keep progressing: data. “Think about this: Inanimate objects suddenly can communicate with you,” said Dr. Gwen Britton, executive director of online STEM programs at Southern New Hampshire University. “Where it used to be you might have been afraid to turn the dishwasher on before you left the house, because

you’re not sure you closed it all the way, now you can monitor its behavior, because it’s connected to the internet. So you can talk to your dishwasher.” Imagine the amount of data one dishwasher could collect. Now multiply that by the number of dishwashers across the planet. Add in smartphones. Keys. Outlets. And so many yet-to-beenhanced devices that can and will generate data. So what do we do with it? “The challenge with big data is there is so much data and the computer power it takes to mine that kind of data is outrageously ridiculous,” Britton said. “Cloud computing allows you to take that data and send it

Also increasing is the wow factor of the latest IoT creations:

With the tap of a button, a smart lock gives a guest access to your home for days or minutes.

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n California, Google is testing a self-driving car, able to spot objects up to 200 yards away.2 So not only can it tell what is happening, its software predicts what might happen on the road.

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n healthcare – one of the fastest growing fields due to consumer need – IoT could save more than $300 billion annually in the U.S. alone by increasing revenue and decreasing cost. For example, a wearable patch can sense heart conditions or even failure, thereby becoming the preventable measure that many patients so desperately seek out.3

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nd in Singapore, its Smart Nation program aims to touch every citizen in the country. Systems can tell when people are littering. Buses will be re-routed to where people have gathered. Smartphones could detect potholes during bumpy car rides. And then there’s the elderly resident monitoring program, which uses sensors to identify change of movement patterns and alert concerned family members.4 But IoT isn’t just made for what seems like the stuff of the future, out of reach for the everyday person. If you haven’t figured out how IoT will touch even the most mundane of activities, think again:

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etting a baby to sleep through the night is one difficult feat, but so is a parent’s ability to not worry that something bad could happen during that time. A monitor from Mimo takes in breathing, temperature and activity level, sending alerts to your phone if there’s cause for concern.6

EXP

40% of America’s food is wasted.* Intelligent refrigerators promise to change that. *SaveTheFood.com

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n areas where parking is at a premium – cities, large state universities or even the dreaded airport lot – companies like Streetline install sensors in spots that can then notify and direct drivers to open spaces in real time.5

IoT

takes on a new meaning – internet of tomatoes – as Analog Devices develops technology that will


go lock yourself in a room and just write code all day. You can’t do that anymore.”

45 million Americans diet each year.* Smart plates take the guesswork out of dietary choices.

If you have ideas for tomorrow’s next big “thing,” now’s the perfect time to jump in. A handful of SNHU’s online degrees will give you the skill set that opens doors in this emerging field.

“As technology has really become much more sophisticated, more affordable, that’s really helped the Internet of Things along,” Britton said. Regarding opportunities with a degree in IoT, “it just really depends on what flavor you’re interested in. Do you want to be an engineer? A computer scientist? The IT person? ”

*Boston Medical Center

Or do you want to create your own career? help New England farmers with a sensor-to-cloud solution that would provide data on exactly when to water or harvest. The company is also working on consumer technology for cell phone use in the supermarket.7 To create these technologies, organizations across the country are budgeting for IoT positions, with titles like industrial IoT system architect, IoT software development manager and IoT analyst. Many of these roles’ qualifications read similarly: Experience with JavaScript, HTML, CSS and a slew of other acronyms. These job descriptions emphasize the importance of soft skills, too. “Creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, great communication skills,” Britton said. “It used to be you could

NOW’S THE

time with IoT. Wearable devices are now mainstream: Sales shot up 171.6% from 2014 to 2015.* *IDC

Sources: 1Gartner, 2Google, 3 Goldman Sachs, 4Wall Street Journal, 5Streetline, 6 Mimo, 7Boston Globe

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Neil McLellan is constantly looking for the next big

“things.”

GRAD STUDENT B O LT S TOWARD T H E Future

He’s the business development manager of Wind River Systems, a subsidiary of Intel that delivers software for intelligent connected systems. There, he consults with customers to educate them on “the business value of the Internet of Things and what it brings to their companies.” That’s how the IMBA student at Southern New Hampshire University hooked up with Bolt Motorbikes, a San Francisco-area crowdfunded startup. Bolt wanted to reinvent the wheel – or, at least, some of the technology attached to it. The timing was perfect for McLellan. “It was an answer to a problem that I was having at Wind River in trying to demonstrate the ease and simplicity of what Internet-ofThings connectivity looks like,” he said. The Bolt M-1, which bills itself as the

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“world’s first hybrid motorbike,”

isn’t like any two-wheeler you’ve seen before. McLellan explains that the bike is “trying to make the urban commute a little bit more reasonable” – and a lot more fun. Powered by a charge, no different than with a smartphone or tablet, users can ride about 35 miles. Braking also re-energizes the batteries, and if you run out of power on your outing, just start pedaling.


For MBA student Neil McLellan, the Bolt M-1 hybrid motor bike perfectly illustrates the potential of the Internet of Things.

Pretty cool, right? Now add

IoT into the mix. The motorbike has its own Bluetooth-enabled app, which can unlock the M-1, as well as collect information about your speed and distance. It’s connected to the cloud and allows you to remotely program the bike’s

performance, top speed and geofence. And, naturally, there’s a USB port to charge your phone. “Taking this fledgling company who’s just sitting on this incredible idea that’s really taking off and helping further that through inclusion of new technology and allowing them to define what the new standards are – that’s what makes my job fun,” McLellan said.

For the grad student, IoT can make old things new again. “There’s so many opportunities, and there’s so many ways of harnessing data and looking at data and creating new information we haven’t even thought of yet,” he said.

“It’s never the same thing twice.” 09


EXPERIENTIAL

LEARNING AT SNHU Helping Online Students Reach the Pi in the Sky No, not the edible kind – this Raspberry Pi is actually a little electronic circuit board with a series of ports and stackable components that transform it into a powerful minicomputer. With the Pi, students create their own real-life IoT. They can build a temperature and humidity-sensing thermostat, a home security monitoring system or even a cellphone – the sky’s not even close to the limit.

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When SNHU students sign up for the Internet of Things (IoT) experiential learning course, the first package they receive is a box of Raspberry Pi.

This is experiential learning at SNHU: Taking technology out of the abstract, putting it in your hands and making something out of it.


BEING OF SERVICE The Designing the Internet of Things course is one of three credit-bearing experiential learning opportunities available to online STEM students in the graduate space. Think of them as 10-week “boot camps,” facilitated by industry experts to give students a competitive advantage in the workforce. “It’s a conundrum,” says SNHU’s Executive Director of Online STEM Programs Gwen Britton. “You have these students who can’t get a job in, say, computer science, because they don’t have any experience in the field. Then they can’t get that experience because they’ve never had a job in the field. An experiential learning opportunity is a way to show employers ‘Look, I can do this, and I have!’” “It’s almost like a virtual internship,” she adds, “but it can be more than that, too.” Just last year, SNHU debuted our first-ever experiential learning course as part of our initiative with Warrior Transition Technology Training (WT3).1 Launched through a partnership with Oracle Academy,2 it began as a non-credit bearing supplement for military students in our BS in Information Technology with a concentration in database management. With a few iterations, the course took flight. Students who completed the course were sitting in for Oracle Certification Exams and – armed with firsthand experience – gained an edge in the industry. Backed by a newly formed experiential learning advisory board, SNHU built on these early classes and upped the ante with new courses accessible to all online students.

THE HORNS 11


A BULL BY THE HORNS When it came to finding that wow factor for the graduate Tableau: Big Data, Visualization, and the Big-Picture experiential learning course – which concluded earlier this year – Gwen says the timing was nothing short of “magical.” As it turned out, SNHU had some friends in high places – namely, Major League Soccer (MLS) – who were looking for visualized data. “In that class, our students actually used live MLS software data from the NY Red Bulls,” Gwen says. “The

strength and conditioning coaches sent us their players’ live log files from their FitBits. Then our students used Tableau to create data visualizations that helped a real-life team actually be better.” Students with passions off the field could also opt to use their own datasets. For Paul McHale, who’s just completing his online MS in Data Analytics at SNHU, the decision to do so was a game-changer. Paul was working as a data analyst for one of the largest financial institutions in the world – managing a massive database of employee names, titles, pay grades and locations. He enrolled in the Tableau course to learn how to view data in ways his colleagues couldn’t. Now, he’s driving real results. “Thanks to SNHU,” he says, “I can use Tableau to build presentations that go right to the top, and I can tell stories through that data that they haven’t heard before.”

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AHEAD IN THE CLOUD In 2015, there were reportedly over 18 million cloud computing jobs globally.3 Among the top skills employers wanted were a demonstrated proficiency in SQL, web services, application development, database management and JavaScript. Many of these skills are explored in the graduate Cloud Computing Platform as a Service (PaaS) experiential learning course. Facilitated by Dr. Robert Pratt, an IT systems expert with over 35 years’ experience at IBM, the cloud computing course demystifies “the cloud” by having students design a web app and then implement back-end services using cloud technologies. Suddenly, this ethereal, abstract thing is right at their fingertips. That’s just the beginning. “IoT is changing the mode of learning from a more ‘hands-on keyboards’ to a

‘hands-on devices’ method,” Dr. Pratt says. “That broadens the knowledge base to include data transmission, some exposure to electrical engineering and circuits, an understanding of how sensors work, how signals move through those circuits and translate into data, and so much more.” With such interconnectivity, it’s no wonder students are diving head first into all three areas of experiential learning. “Imagine this,” Gwen Britton explains, “you take the Internet of Things and you learn how to build a device that collects data. With cloud computing, you learn how to design a place to store that data. Then, with Tableau, you can learn how to manipulate and visualize that data. I mean, that’s huge experience.”

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Meanwhile, undergraduate online students are diving into experiential learning courses such as Advanced Excel Analysis and Presentations and Using Data to Tell Stories. The former builds transferable business skills by way of Excel data analysis. The latter uses Microsoft Power BI and PowerPoint to visualize real-life data. In the past, for example, students used historical weather patterns in SNHU’s home city of Manchester, NH, to bring their coursework to life. Cyber Security Skills Through Cyber Competitions takes it a step further. Think of it as a hyper-nerdy, storydriven Capture the Flag, where students can protect the world from evil cyberhackers. Players of varying

Sources: 1 Warrior Transition Technology Training (WT3) 2 Oracle Academy 3 Forbes

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levels explore a “cyber range” of servers, encrypted text and applications spotting digital “flags.” And the best part – they can even compete against other universities. Students love it. There are other coals in the fire. “We’re looking at ways for oncampus environmental science students to be virtual guides for students online, so they can see those experiences without physically being there,” Gwen says. “We’ve also talked about putting Game Art and Game Design students together, so as a team, they can create their own video game.” In the end, by simply doing, these students take the journey from “I can’t” to “I can” to “I did.” The secret to unlocking their success is not only in the skills themselves. It’s the confidence that comes from acquiring those skills. “Students may be scared to death at first, but these experiences open their eyes,” Gwen says. “They start to realize that they’ve got it going on.”


THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: AUGMENTED REALITY AT SNHU Experiential learning is all about “aha moments.” So when it came to explaining the complex world of the IoT to online students in Designing the Internet of Things, SNHU set out to find inspiration.

Then it clicked: What if we introduced students to the IoT using the IoT? Enter the SNHU AR mobile app – powered by HP Aurasma – which gives students a sneak peak into how the IoT can add color and dimension to the way we learn. Like watching a magician pull the rabbit out of the hat, they get to see the trick before performing it themselves. Want to try? Download the app, hover your phone over the image in the Project Worksheet and press “View Demo” to see it come to life.

Download App SNHU AR


QA

If you ask Marine Corps vet JP Dhabolt, technology isn’t just changing the way we live – it’s changing the way we learn. He’s seen it firsthand: As an SNHU student completing his online BS in Information Technologies with a concentration in Robotics & Artificial Intelligence, he views each virtual classroom as a sandbox for real-world success. Now, this proud husband and father of three has his own ideas about how to take e-learning to the next level.

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JP DHABOLT

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Q

You worked for the U.S. Marine Corps for many years before coming to SNHU. Can you tell us more about that experience?

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I worked in the United States Marine Corps for 15 years, doing communicationselectronics maintenance. Working in a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) made the transition from military to civilian life that much easier, since it had such a direct correlation to the world of IT. Troubleshooting hardware systems really helped me build the same skills I needed to troubleshoot software or mixed-mode systems. It also gave me some valuable hands-on leadership experience.


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We talk a lot in this issue about hands-on learning. Have you taken any courses like that? If so, what tools have you used?

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I’ve taken several hands-on learning courses at SNHU, but the ones that stuck out the most were IT 135: Interactive 3D Virtual Environments and IT 209: Intro to Robotics. In IT 135, we used the Alice visual programming environment to build a game called “Fairy Defense.” Basically, you would play as a wizard that stands in the middle of a ring of mushrooms called a “fairy ring.” The player would use various types of fairies to “fire” at incoming hordes of toadstools, trolls and dragons. If the enemies got too close to the ring, they would damage it, and the game was over when the ring was out of hit points.

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And how about IT 209: Intro to Robotics?

In IT 209, we started by using Finch Dreams, which is a modified version of the Alice programming environment that interacts with the Finch robot. When we transitioned to a software development tool called NetBeans, I was able to create a proof-ofconcept for a “Firefighting Assistive Robot” that would search for and track a light source (representing flames), as well as move away from extreme temperatures and obstacles.

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Q

Do you think technology has changed the way we learn? If so, how?

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Without a doubt, technology has changed the way we learn. Some may argue that this is a downside, but I think a huge advantage is that technology removes the need for rote memorization of facts. By relegating that responsibility to machines, which are much better suited for the task, it frees people to learn how to extract and apply the knowledge hidden in those facts. With the Internet, we can now access that information in a matter of seconds, then spend more time focusing on what to do with it.

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Has SNHU helped open doors in your career?

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SNHU has definitely helped open doors. I’ve been working as a database administrator for the last year, thanks to the partnership of SNHU with Warrior Transition Technology Training (WT3). Along with professional certification training in various database platforms, this led to a paid internship, which ultimately got me a very competitive job offer.

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What’s next for you?

Once I finish up my last undergraduate term, I’m looking to earn my Master of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Game Design and Development here at SNHU. My goal is to actually start up my own game studio that focuses on more educational video games. It’s ambitious, but I’m thinking about designing a game that will allow people to build items by mixing various elements and molecules. It would be a sandbox-type game. The hard part is finding the right balance between learning and fun, but I know it’s possible.


What can data tell us about people? That question has been the cornerstone of Leah Noble-Christoff’s colorful career in radio, TV and – most recently – higher education. Now, as she earns her MS in Data Analytics, she’s even more tuned into the curious ways people interact with technology. She spoke with us recently about what she’s discovered over the years, and how SNHU has helped her tell high-impact stories through visualized data.

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LEAH NOBLECHRISTOFF Q

What program are you currently enrolled in at SNHU? What inspired you to continue your education with us?

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I’m currently enrolled in the MS in Data Analytics program. Throughout my career I’ve always worked with data, be it in the form of analyzing Arbitron ratings for radio stations, data mining for Nielsen Media Research, or now reporting on student and program trends at the university where I work. With the way the data industry is changing, I found myself only scratching the surface of the field. I ultimately decided to enroll at SNHU to move my career forward, and gain some meaningful knowledge along the way.

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What experiential learning courses have you taken at SNHU? What are some technologies you’ve used and projects you’ve done?

My introduction to experiential learning was with Oracle and writing queries within the APEX training software. The course I’m currently taking is all about using and understanding Tableau. So far, I’ve learned how to test, run and save queries and reports. Now I’m doing my end-ofterm final, where I get to create my own visualization stories and dashboards.

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Could you tell us about a specific piece of qualitative data you collected, and what you learned from it?

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When I worked at Nielsen Media Research, I looked at a mountain of data to spot viewers’ patterns, errors and habits from thousands of households. Sometimes, it gave people a strange sense of power. For example, there were viewers who’d watch PBS for hours on end because they knew they were being monitored, and didn’t want us to think they just watched reality TV. I also saw firsthand how interconnected everything is. Media always seems to cycle back to keep the loop going – TV to advertising, then to social media and branded content, to other media outlets, and back to TV. The data collected was reported on, passed on, repackaged and so on. You really started to see data as the oil in the machine that keeps everything moving forward.

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TABLEAU FINAL PROJECT ON PHARMACEUTICAL SALES

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How have you applied what you’ve learned at SNHU to your current professional role?

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My newly acquired skills range from project management to more in-depth understanding of product lifecycles to mastering industry-standard tools… the list goes on. All this and I’m only halfway through the program! Plus, I get to use these skills constantly throughout my workday.


Twitter seem to vastly outnumber online traditional information sources. It’s revolutionary, but it’s also something we need to be mindful of when we source quality data and try to make evidence-based decisions.

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How has technology changed the way we gather and interpret information?

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The power of information and real-time data has transformed our culture and business on so many levels. Tools are being created just to understand and process the amount of data we now gather. Plus, user-generated content sites like Reddit and

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In this issue, we talk a lot about the Internet of Things. What does IoT mean to you personally?

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To me, the IoT means connectivity and building relationships where they didn’t exist before. A current example is digital soda machines at certain restaurants that allow users to customize their beverage. The machine stores the user’s drink choice and flavor combination, then, over time, it reports the most popular combinations back to the soda company for potential market release.

What’s next for you? Finishing this term! I take things one step at a time. That being said, I would like to reassess where I’m at and determine if I could be doing more. I happen to really like my current job, so if I could help expand our department and make it more data savvy, that would be a thrill for me. I’d be really proud to be a part of that.

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As the executive director of online STEM programs, Dr. Gwen Britton spearheaded the online experiential learning initiative at Southern New Hampshire University. We sat down with her to talk about the extraordinary life experiences that influenced her to become an innovator in the STEM and education field.

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Who inspired you to become a computer scientist, mathematician and engineer?

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grandfather did it, my uncle did it, my cousins did it, my dad did it. He always encouraged me to go after what I wanted. I also had two really amazing teachers: Deb Nichols and Ron Beaudet. When I was in the seventh grade, I was in an accelerated math class. My teacher, Deb Nichols, was just amazing. She made things magic, wonderful and fun. She’s the one who inspired me to eventually want to be a math teacher. Once I got to high school, I was able to do independent studies in math. My teacher, Ron Beaudet, would continuously feed me advanced math equations to keep me challenged and engaged. He would always tell me that I should be an engineer.

My grandma was an amazing woman. When she was growing up during the Depression, her parents both had college degrees, which is really unusual for way back when. They ended up moving to a farm in Nebraska, because that was the only way they could survive. She really wanted to go to high school. But, at that time, you didn’t send your daughters to high school, because they were needed on the farm. However, because her mother was a strong advocate for education, she traveled to Omaha to find a place for my grandmother to live so she could go to high school. My grandmother ended up being a nanny for a doctor and his wife, and she was able to go to high school. She did so well, her teacher said, “You could go to the university.” And my grandmother said, “Well, I really want to be an engineer.” Then they told her that girls couldn’t be engineers – but they could be mathematicians. So she went to University of Nebraska in Omaha and graduated with a degree in mathematics. While she was there, she met my grandfather, who was a chemical engineer (he actually invented the whipped cream can, by the way). She went on to get her master’s degree and teach mathematics. Another inspiration was my dad, who was an engineer. He always encouraged me to do whatever I wanted. I didn’t realize it wasn’t “normal” for girls to want to do engineering or computer science – my grandma did it, my

Growing up in a military family, you lived all over the world. How did your experiences shape your view of education?

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I was born in Wyoming and lived in Ohio, Guam, California, Germany and Belgium. While living in Brussels, I was in school with kids from all over the world – children whose parents were ambassadors from other countries and military personnel. Outside of school, the kids in my neighborhood went to all different schools – German, Belgium, British, American, Catholic. My friends in the Belgium schools explained to me how different their school system was than the American system. In the Belgium systems, students had to take proficiency tests, and, depending upon what you were going to be – a tradesperson or continue on

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That’s when I decided to go back to school. I went to different colleges on and off for about four years, and I ended up getting two degrees in math and computer science.

to a university – they constantly had to take tests to get into their particular track. That meant a lot of their academics were more accelerated, too. And I thought, “Cool, we should do that.” Another thing I thought was interesting was that everybody could speak fluent English. Think about that for a minute: These elementary kids have already learned a second language – and some of them knew German, Flemish, French and English – and the only language us Americans knew fluently was English, which is really fascinating to me. When did you first become interested in computer technology?

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When I first went to college, I was majoring in electrical engineering. And then I changed my major to math, and then to art, and then to business. At that point, I decided to drop out. I wanted to get a real job and do something and apply my skills. My mom and dad said, “Well, you dropped out of college. You now need to find a way to support yourself.” So, I got a job at Chuck E. Cheese and went to Chuck E. Cheese’s University to become a manager. One of the things that really intrigued me was those big animatronic characters. We learned how they were programmed, and I was so fascinated by those machines that were all working on air compressors. Keep in mind this was in the ‘80s before computers were small. So that’s what really got me interested in computers, because I didn’t really know anything about them.

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How did your career path lead you to SNHU?

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While I was working on my master’s degree, I became a high school math teacher in the early ’90s, when computers started to become really prevalent in school. In Maine, Ma Bell had overcharged the state for their phone services, so as an agreement, they provided free Internet and training in every school and library in the entire state. My school district had to identify somebody who could set up an Internet connection and networks and get computers working. I was the most logical person to do that. I became the district technology person. We had four elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. That’s where I learned to build computers and how to network them together. I was able to work with kids from the school who were really into technology, and they actually taught me HTML. We kind of learned together. After that, I taught at the college level, worked as a software engineer and got my PhD. I worked for another university and then eventually came to SNHU.

How did SNHU first introduce experiential learning to online students?


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We work really collaboratively with SNHU’s main campus staff, who provides really cool experiential learning opportunities for their students, like helping a local nonprofit coordinate a fundraising walk. These young students learned about leadership and professionalism and how to apply what they were learning in the classroom to a real-life scenario. I thought, “Man, I wish we could do something like that online.” But the challenge is that our online students are adult learners who live all over the globe and also balance jobs, families and other commitments. It’d be unrealistic (and impossible) to physically get them together and immerse them in some kind of community project. So I’d been thinking about it, and then – lo and behold – Warrior Technology Transition Training (WT3) approached SNHU and said, “We have a need. We have jobs for database administrators, and we want to hire veterans. Could you guys partner with Oracle to provide Oracle training to our soldiers, and we’ll give them a job?” And I thought, “This has experiential learning written all over it.” Today, the course is open to all students — not just veterans and military service members — and some have even sat for the certification exam. Now they can actually put that they have Oracle training on their resume, which is really cool.

And lastly, what do you love most about your role at SNHU?

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What I love the most are the people, from the students and staff to the faculty and my dean team – we call ourselves the Nerd Herd. Everybody believes in our mission to better position people so they can be more successful in their world. And we’ll do whatever it takes to help them, as long as they’re willing to help themselves. I love that, because I’m such a huge pay-itforward person. That’s just what makes me wake up every day and get excited about doing really cool things.


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var gaia_attachEvent SNHU online students train for a National Cyber League battle — and the competitive job market

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omeone is trying to hack into your company’s server network. Who are they, where are they and how are you going to protect the private information of your customers or colleagues? If you were a member of the CyberSNHUpers – Southern New Hampshire University’s crack Cyber League team – you would have a leg up answering those questions. Nearly 20 online SNHU students are participating in a National Cyber League training program that prepares students for a digital capture-the-flag competition

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this fall. The CyberSNHUpers will be going up against teams from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Norwich University, just to name a few. While competitive, the National Cyber League is also focused on educational opportunities for cyber security students to learn and improve skills related to the field. Matthew Weidner is an SNHU online student and CyberSNHUpers team captain from Emporia, KS. “We are learning how malicious attackers think and operate. Additionally, we are learning

forensic analysis skills used to detect and document what an attacker has done to a system,” said Weidner, who’s pursuing an online BS in Information Technology with a concentration in Cyber Security. “These (skills) are necessary in order to detect attacks and also understand and test defensive methods that are employed to protect against attackers.”

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ecoding Cyber League Cyber League players practice and complete exercises in an online


space called the NCL Stadium. There, competitors work both individually and as teams to solve a series of cyber security challenges, including wireless access exploitation, password cracking, open source intelligence and cryptography. Competitors often have to solve the challenges to find “digital flags” hidden on servers, in encrypted messages or in applications. The SNHU team also meets on the school’s online student hub, SNHUConnect, where members have formed a discussion board and file exchange to trade information, ask for help from teammates and collaborate on challenges.

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eam member Martha Stallings is an online student from Virginia who’s pursuing her MS in IT with a concentration in Information Security. Through her participation in Cyber League, Stallings said she’s gaining expertise that’s demanded by employers, including open source intelligence, network traffic analysis, log analysis, scanning and reconnaissance, and cryptography.

Sources: 1National Cyberwatch Center

aking an Impact in IT

Competitions like National Cyber League are credited with giving students a chance to practice skills in a real-world environment and preparing them for the competitive, high-growth job market, according to the National Cyberwatch Center.1

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The competitions also give employers an additional venue to contact students who will soon be looking for a job in the cyber security industry while giving students more ways to market themselves to employers. Learn more about the online BS in Information Technologies with a concentration in Cyber Security and the online MS in Cyber Security programs at SNHU.

“I do believe that the skills I am learning through competing in the competitions will help in the job market,” Stallings said. “I have been actively looking for internships and entry-level jobs in cyber security,

The challenges and the National Cyber League program are also aligned to two common cyber security certification exams that students will likely want to take after earning their online cyber security degree. By competing in NCL, Weidner and his teammates are also preparing to sit for those exams, which is another item they can highlight when they begin applying for jobs following graduation.

and many of them are looking for the same set of skills and abilities that can be learned through participating in the NCL.”

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Why systems-thinking is the secret weapon behind the new MBA from SNHU and WPI

When Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) wanted to better address the growing need for skilled leaders in the field of engineering, they knew where to turn. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has a long legacy of excellence in science, engineering and technology. SNHU had proven success in online education. Shortly afterward, the online MBA in Engineering Management program was born. “Partnering with WPI, one of the nation’s top STEM institutions, provides a unique pathway for more students to pursue advanced engineering degree programs,” explains SNHU president, Paul LeBlanc. “This is a perfect marriage between experts in education and technology and reinforces our core values of improving the accessibility and affordability of higher education.”

FAST-TRACK FORWARD As natural innovators and analytical problem-solvers, engineers play critical roles in industries from aerospace to manufacturing.

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With the right leadership, organizations can better maximize the work of these talented engineers to drive their business forward – so it’s no surprise that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for engineering managers in the engineering services industry shows no signs of slowing down.

“ Globally,

the rate of innovation in engineering is faster than ever before,” says WPI President Laurie Leshin. Together, she says, the two institutions “will more effectively impact the growing need for well-qualified professionals who can manage the efforts that are so essential to industrial productivity.

“Seeing what SNHU is doing in the online space – their attention to quality curriculum and advising – and the way they had built in a process and a pedagogy to deliver high-touch and highly impactful programs to students, at a significant scale, was something we wanted to immerse ourselves in and learn from,” says Stephen Flavin, VP of Academic and Corporate Engagement at WPI. Developed and taught by WPI faculty, four online courses are integrated into the SNHU 12-course MBA in Engineering Management program and are laser-focused on critical thinking and engineering project management. The program also

features a nine-course business core and can even be fast-tracked in as little as 18 months. Plus, with a top-notch faculty of STEM industry leaders, along with a nationwide network that includes thousands of successful alumni working for companies like Fidelity Investments, U.S. Departments of Defense and Armed Forces, IBM, AT&T, United Healthcare and Oracle, graduates will be positioned for a huge competitive advantage. Importantly, the new MBA will also challenge these nonengineering students to take the wheel by having them think like engineers.

TESLA’S CAR AND BEYOND When it came to bringing highly technical course material to a flexible and affordable virtual classroom, WPI and SNHU were a perfect match.

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in any industry with any team of tech-minded players. In that way, the MBA in Engineering Management program is uniquely of-its-time.

Flavin continues, “When you think about the pervasiveness of technology in everything we do and how we do it, an understanding of engineering management sits very squarely with the ongoing movement of the Internet of Things.

“In the workplace, systems engineers have played an increasingly important role in executing on organizational strategy”, Flavin says. “So, the first courses we developed have aimed to focus on providing a systems approach to thinking and engineering.” Armed with this “systems thinking” approach, students will learn how to tackle realworld problems from a bigpicture point of view. Using ISO 15288 standards, they’ll learn how to recognize causal relationships and patterns and distinguish structures and behaviors within all systems – be it a parkway, an MRI machine or even a spacecraft.

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Like building Tesla’s car with charging stations in mind, complex systems will be broken down and explored from every vantage point.

DEVELOPING LEADERS “We want to create multifaceted leaders,” explains Flavin. “Individuals who possess technical competence and analytical skills, but who also have the ability to lead and communicate, strategize and motivate.” These transferable skills will enable students to gracefully navigate through any system

He’s right. Technology today is about interconnectivity. It’s devices, machines, clouds and circuits. It’s understanding “things,” not in a vacuum, but as they relate to other things. To fully grasp causality and troubleshoot solutions, leaders now – more than ever – have to understand how everything fits. SNHU, with the help of WPI, is up to the challenge. “We see this partnership as a way to reach a whole new audience of students to share critical knowledge and help them shape technical engineering enterprises globally.” Sources: 1 Bureau of Labor Statistics - Job Outlook


BRIDGE THE GAP Provide the essential link between business leaders and IT teams with SNHU’s new online BS MIS.

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ithin organizations across a variety of industries, there’s growing demand for professionals who serve as a liaison between IT departments and business leaders, helping these teams work toward shared business goals. They’re tasked with fostering collaboration and communication while driving business objectives through information management systems and solutions.

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To help meet market demand for these tech-savvy, solutionsoriented managers, Southern New Hampshire University has developed the online Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems (MIS). This new degree lets you develop your technology knowledge and business expertise while focusing on important management skills. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a

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combination that primes you to take advantage of exciting and growing career opportunities in fields such as IT, finance and business services. At SNHU, you can choose the online BS MIS degree program alone or tailor your program to your career goals by electing a concentration in Project Management or IT Management.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The new Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems is a versatile degree program, offering options for two major concentrations, Project Management and IT Management, which build on business core and major courses.â&#x20AC;?


That’s how Ann Marie Moynihan, associate dean of faculty for undergraduate IT online programs at SNHU, looks at it. “With an emphasis on business intelligence, students gain invaluable system, analytical and critical-thinking skills to support operational goals of organizations,” Moynihan said. “Through collaboration and teamwork skill building, this new program enables our students to provide organizations with IT management services, solutions and support for essential organizational functions. The Bachelor of Science in MIS is truly an innovative and dynamic option for our students.” The IT Management concentration tackles the managerial aspects related to IT services, infrastructure and information technology teams. You’ll focus on the managerial aspects of supporting an organization’s information systems strategy with courses in IT Teams, Managing Networks and Telecommunications, Infrastructure Management, and Management Science. Like the IT Management concentration, Project Management is just as relevant and hands-on. You’ll develop the leadership expertise

needed to manage projects and project teams in support of operational and strategic goals. Coursework includes Project Contracting and Procurement, Resource Estimating and Scheduling, and Integrated Cost and Schedule Control. You’ll focus on six core themes: problemsolving, globalization, ethics, security, reporting and verbal communication. The BS in MIS will give you fluency in the language of business, technology and management, allowing you to help your company use information to make better decisions and function more effectively. Additionally, the program is designed to build important communication skills through interactive learning experiences that mirror challenges MIS professionals encounter on the job. Dr. Sherry Kollman, assistant dean of SNHU’s graduate online STEM programs, sees other advantages.

“Our program is aligned with authentic learning, as the program has challenging learning environments and authentic tasks,” “Students are required to learn through social negotiation and shared responsibility. They are presented with real-life problems and situations that happen as an MIS professional today and in the future. Students solve problems, think critically, synthesize knowledge and apply these skills to authentic contexts.” Pursue your BS in MIS and arm yourself with the practical technology, business and management skills you need to succeed in this high-growth field.

Learn more about SNHU’s online Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems.


SCORING BIG IN THE STEM FIELD SNHU and FC Dallas team up to teach the science of soccer

STEM SPACE FOR WOMEN The good news: Women in STEM are gaining traction. The not-so-good news: Women still account for just a quarter of the STEM workforce. This space is dedicated to the ladies blazing trails to a brighter future for all women in STEM. In the spotlight this issue: A student of cyber security, a leader in healthcare technology and our recent Science of Soccer clinic with the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.

Southern New Hampshire University and Major League Soccer team FC Dallas teamed up to host a Science of Soccer clinic in Frisco, Texas, in June. Their goal: To teach STEMrelated concepts to the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas using soccer as a learning tool. With help from five FC Dallas players (who also happen to be pursuing online degrees with the university), the SNHU women’s soccer team and SNHU faculty guided more than 60 middle-schoolers through each station at the clinic. “We are working very hard to increase awareness, break down stereotypes and hopefully engage more women in the STEM fields,” said Angie Foss, associate dean of online STEM programs at SNHU. “We’re really excited to do that through soccer today, and hopefully, get them excited about science, technology, engineering and math.” Despite having to move the event indoors to accommodate an impending storm, the clinic staff demonstrated how aspects of the world’s most popular sport connect with key principles used in data collection, statistics and geometry.

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After the clinic, the FC Dallas players held a panel discussion for the Girl Scouts to talk about higher education, STEM-related fields and stereotypes often facing young athletes and women in STEM. “Meeting the SNHU athletes is a really great opportunity for our girls, because they get to see someone who looks like them, someone they can identify with,” said Girl Scouts Program Coordinator Hillary St. John. “They’re here trying to teach [the Girl Scouts] science and trying to encourage them to believe in their scientific ability, as well as their athletic ability, and showing them how to merge those two worlds.” SNHU women’s soccer player Alex Poulin hoped that as a female college athlete, she proved to the Girls Scouts that they can have the same goals as their male peers. “It’s important for them to see that if you set a goal for yourself and just go after it… you can do it,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what people tell you.” This event is part of SNHU’s larger partnership with Major League Soccer to expand education opportunities across the country. Learn more about the multi-year partnership.


THE PRESENT AND FUTURE WOMEN OF IOT Connections, in life and in the Internet of Things, can seem random at first glance. But as the stories of these two inspiring women illustrate, random connections often have a way of leading to beautifully logical ends.

Angelica Marotta International Online Student, Cyber Security Researcher When Italian is your native language, art is your passion and cryptology fascinates you endlessly, where else would you live and work but Pisa, Italy? That’s the idyllic place Angelica Marotta calls home, so her passion for art makes sense. But cryptology? It started with a class she took while pursuing her bachelor’s in computer science at the Universita di Pisa. That class – and an article declaring cyber security “the new frontier” – sparked her interest in cyber security, then a new and evolving field. She decided it was an ideal time to start a career in cyber security. Shortly after earning her degree, Marotta took a job as a cyber-security researcher at the National Research Council’s

Institute of Informatics and Telematics, the largest public research institution in Italy. There, she dove into a research project on cyber insurance and “started learning about the implications of cyber security on a technologydriven society and the possible intersection of cyber security and emergency management.” Eventually, Marotta’s interest in cyber security, coupled with her desire for a more global understanding of the field, led her to SNHU, where she’s earning her online master’s with a concentration in cyber security. She says the collaboration between students and faculty in the virtual classroom has not only given her “a complete and global learning experience” but helped her think more critically and creatively. We can’t wait to see what this curious student of the world does next.

Heather Staples Lavoie Chief Strategy Officer, Geneia A veteran of the healthcare industry and a businesswoman at heart, Heather Staples Lavoie has always dabbled in technology.

Case in point: Her current venture, Geneia, where she steers the strategic direction for the Manchester, NH-based healthcare innovations company. Geneia develops, acquires and markets leapfrogging technologies and just happens to be doing amazing things with the, well, Internet of Things. Witness their latest breakthrough, the Geneia @Home remote patient monitor, a genius piece of wearable technology that transmits biometric data like blood pressure, blood glucose and heart rate from the patient to the doctor or care team member. It’s a tiny device that promises to deliver big results in terms of patient engagement and advanced care management. Lavoie credits her SNHU education for much of her career success and points to her professors for inspiring her. “I was blown away by my professors, not only for their credentials, but also their passion and accessibility,” she said. “The material truly came alive.” One final side note about connections and the interesting places they can lead to: The CEO of Geneia is an SNHU graduate, too.



STEM Journal Issue 5, 2016