The Computer Education & Training Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis has undergone some major changes in the past year, including a new name, location and courses, but maintains its philosophy of face-to-face learning for student success.

“These changes not only benefit our current students,” said Allan Crean, director of the CETC, “but position us to adapt to evolving technologies and provide the computer training needed for the challenges ahead.”

The CETC is a part of the Division of Continuing Education at UMSL and offers noncredit computer courses that provide students with the skills necessary to meet technological challenges in the workplace. Courses cover a wide range of topics, including Intro to Computers, Excel, PowerPoint, Java, Flash, Outlook, SharePoint, Wireless Networking, QuickBooks and more. Courses cover all skill levels from introductory to advanced, and provide something for a broad variety of interests. The center also offers 10 specialized Chancellor’s Certificate programs that add value and enhance professional development.

In the past year, the center has undergone some major changes. After almost 25 years as the Microcomputer Program, the name was changed to the Computer Education & Training Center to reflect the educational mission and branding. In addition to the name change, the center was moved to the West County Continuing Education Center located near the intersection of Interstate 270 and Manchester Road in Town and Country, Mo. This building has been extensively renovated to offer an exceptional learning environment with a design that incorporates the latest classroom innovations with student amenities to advance the learning process.

With these changes and the addition of new courses and programs, the CETC continues to evolve to benefit current and future students. But one thing stays the same at the center and is credited as their formula for success: face-to-face learning.

“We believe that hands-on learning, under the guidance of an experienced and skilled instructor leads to student success,” Crean said. “The classes provide an appropriate amount of hands-on learning but we want to have an instructor there with you to keep you on the right path.”

While there are many advantages to the growing segment of online learning, the CETC feels the sense of leadership from the instructors and group interaction with face-to-face learning helps students excel in their courses and certificate programs. Many of the faculty members are computer professionals with deep technical knowledge and experience who have refined their skills in the real-world work environment. In addition, the center selects instructors who have the ability to clearly communicate technical information and assist students to understand and apply it.

And their formula for student success seems to work. Interest in courses continues to grow, and the number of students opting to complete certificates continues to grow.

“Certificate programs are an important part of our educational mission and our focus in on the direct benefits these programs provide,” Crean said. “Our students not only enroll in certificate programs to pursue new areas and demonstrate their computer skills to employers, but increasingly they use them as a guide for selecting the right courses for specialized training.”

Rick McCoy, CETC student and senior web designer for New Balance Footwear & Apparel in Fenton, Mo., started taking classes at the center because the courses provided information he could apply to his job. He has completed several courses and the Web Design Certificate.

“Certainly everything I’ve learned here I’ve been able to apply to something I do at New Balance,” McCoy said. “I love the knowledge for the sake of the knowledge, but if you can get a certificate out of it and show it to people, that’s great in this modern job market.”

Courses and certificate programs are offered continually throughout the year.

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Leslie Patterson

Leslie Patterson