Digital Masterclass in Networking & Cyber Security

Teach Too Digital Masterclass in Networking & Cyber Security with CompTIA
Held on 17th December 2018 at Cardinal Newman College

Susanna Worsley, Head of ICT
In my role as Head of Department of ICT for an early adopter of the Digital T Level in 2020, I am aware that my teaching team need to upskill so when the opportunity came along to host a CompTIA Digital Masterclass, I was delighted to host the event. Whilst my teachers and I cover some elements of networking within our teaching, cyber security changes rapidly and is not a large part of any specification we currently deliver.

On the day we had 12 delegates from a range of local colleges, our trainer, Gary Fildes, and Zeshan Sattar, both of CompTIA and undertook a fast paced day looking at the OSI Model, Cloud Computing, Cryptography, Risk Management, Access Control Methods, Threat and Vulnerabilities – a very packed programme indeed! It has been some time (read: some years) since I delivered classes on the OSI Model, so it was a good refresher, and it started me thinking about how this can be presented to learners in such a way as to make it engaging and memorable. Later on in the day as Gary delivered other material, it became clear how many other topics link back to the OSI model, so it will be important when delivering this, to make sure that all possible opportunities to make additional references to the OSI model are taken up. As you can imagine, there were many acronyms used during the day so I am mindful too of how we might ensure learners use the right ones in the right places with the right meaning.

One strand that kept coming back to me during the day was how important communication skills will be to our learners when they enter the workplace, and also, how can we work on developing those skills alongside delivering a demanding qualification specification. Some learners will of course, arrive with good communication skills, but how can we further advance those whose communication skills are lesser developed and find group/presentation activities far more challenging. It will be exciting to see how these learners develop over time, particularly with the Industry Placement element of the T Level; it may even be that the work environment is an effective vehicle for this area of learners’ personal development.

Reflecting on the impact of this event, I’m feeling more confident in the abilities of my department to deliver this material at the required level, but further training would be beneficial. I’m also mindful of the time and financial resources needed for successful implementation – we need servers, software, secure rooms even to deliver this. Time to familiarise ourselves with the hardware and software, time, of course, to develop the learning resources. Ideally I would like the opportunity to get all my teachers, fully CompTIA trained before delivering T Levels which again brings me back to the time and funding conundrum.

Looking ahead, it is clear there are exciting things to come – new specifications to deliver, new advances in technology, new learning to be done and I’m really looking forward to it!