In this connotation, I am talking about seniors in their 2nd year of my program, not just your garden variety seniors.
If a 1st year student manages to crank through all of the hard work my program requires, then, voila!, they can decide what they want to study. You heard me right: anything having to do with actual technology is up for grabs.
Why am I doing this? Well, I figure that by the time students have gone through the brain-drain of my 1st year class, they have a pretty idea of what works for them, and what does not. I would say that somewhere between 30% - 40% of my students want to go into a college to study computer science (CS). Remember that, in college terms, CS generally denotes hard-core programming using a bunch of different languages.
But the other 60% - 70% want to work in engineering, or information technology (IT), or maybe even crafting computer games or developing mobile apps. There is plenty of room for these students in the world of engineering or IT.
There are Some Caveats, However...
Here are the relevant details of which you will need to be aware:
- You will be assigned a senior project worksheet that must be completed near the point when you get out of school in late April or early May. I have attached the 2018 senior contract below for your perusal.
- I have included students' summers in the project plan document. Lots of my students have the desire and tenacity to plow through more content during their summer break. I will leave their distance-learning accounts that they receive through my program open for the summer so they have access to courseware they are targeting. Inking in some summer work is optional.
- Your project worksheet will include two semesters' worth of work. In each semester you must ink in four subject areas you are targeting. This is where things get a little dicey, however. For example, if you think you want to target Linux+ as part of your contract, I would counsel you to put that subject into one row of the fall semester, and one row of spring. Unless you are a super-gifted worker (I have had them before), you are not likely to accomplish Linux+ in one semester. (Remember that you can use TestOut Linux Pro for this coursework, and possibly supplement it with PluralSight and/or Cybrary.IT).
- If you have somehow garnered an internship, it might such an extensive one that you feel compelled to put in two rows' worth of effort in your project worksheet. For example, in the 2017-2018 school year, I had a student who scored a juicy apprenticeship and did such great work that the people he was working for wanted him to come on full-time as soon as possible. He would spend an entire Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in his internship: excused from class. He was learning so much in his internship, and they had things they wanted him studying, so his contract was essentially a done deal for his entire senior year.
- Conversely, I have had students who think - "Cool! Game time! Party time!" Yeah, not so fast, bucko. The senior project is not a slick way of getting out of school. I will catch you, and I will hassle you about it. I might even revoke the contract. If you are in my class, I would request that you not be a clown by trying to play the system. Remember, this is a career school and if you treat me like that, you will likely also treat an employer like that. Which means, you may go through being fired a lot before you wake up and smell the coffee, if you get my drift.
- You will enter into a contract that is signed by a bunch of folks, including yourself, your parents, our contract managers, and administration. Boatloads of people will be keeping an eye on you!
- You must turn in regular, comprehensive reports of your work: in professional writing. Screen-shots are fine if they prove that you did some things, but just Googling some screen-shots is still, well, pretty amateur stuff a less than amazing student would do. By comprehensive, I mean detailed, factual, and complete. Not just a couple of sentences written down in Notepad. (Believe it or not, I have had students try to submit this kind of thing before.) Can you spell Barista?
- I, or the contract managers, reserve the right at any time to say: "That is quite enough sparky. You get to go back to Dr. Heldman's regular classwork. Your contract is suspended." Or, I/they might even recommend that you find a place back at your home school.