Many students have faced the difficulty of being unable to get a job because they are unqualified for the position. However, the Office of Information Technology is attempting to rectify that situation by offering free software classes to interested students.
OIT teaches classes each week from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., offering a variety of courses to help students learn software programs such as Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver and Excel.
The idea behind these classes is to give students the skills needed to be more adept in using software programs, said Michael Gabbitas, the IT Training Manager at OIT.
“They’re [students] going to be able to use them [software programs] better, they’ll be faster at it,” Gabbitas said. “There’s an unknown amount of time trying to figure out, ‘Oh how do I make this do this? And why does it do that?’ If you know the program better, you make the program be your servant rather than you serving it.”
It also offers classes specialized to a specific purpose, said Jory Woodis, 25, a music education major from Cowley, Wyo., who works as a teacher at OIT.
“We’re starting to develop more and more classes that are really specific,” Woodis said. “The announcements and invitations class … that one might cover a little Illustrator and a little Photoshop and a little InDesign … or like our electronic theses and dissertation, that integrates Word and EndNote together. You take this synthesis of programs and create this one project that they can come and work on.”
Jordan Huey, a mechanical engineering major from San Francisco, who teaches at OIT, said there are also classes that teach basic computer skills for a PC or a Mac, not just specialty software.
“Actually, we have a lot of older clients who never even used a computer before and they’ll start in computer basics,” Huey said. “They’ll learn Word and Excel and they’ll just keep learning and learning and learning until they’re computer masters. It’s impressive because a couple months ago they didn’t even know what a folder was and now they’re designing page layouts in InDesign.”
Class size can be anywhere from 12-25 students, Huey said, allowing for questions and interactions between students and teachers.
“You get a lot of personal one-on-one time,” Huey said. “In general, in our classes you have time to play, mess around and stuff and ask questions. We always answer all their questions and sometimes we’ll even ask at the beginning of class, ‘Hey is there anything specific you want to learn? Tell us now and then we’ll teach it to you.” And so you get a really good experience.”
Brock Cutler, 22, a business major from Boise, Idaho, who teaches at OIT, said another advantage of the classes is they are recorded and then posted online for future reference.
“We teach our classes and we also record them,” Cutler said. “Our classes, our website is accessible to anyone. You don’t have to log in, you don’t have to be on campus. Anywhere in the world you can access our website and our class videos.”
Also, all the classes are taught by BYU students who know and understand the software. These students come from a variety of majors and are chosen for their knowledge and teaching ability, Gabbitas said.
“The number one thing is communication, the ability to get up in front of a classroom without being intimidated, to be able to speak in a manner that they clearly explain the concepts that the students can understand and follow,” Gabbitas said, “They also need to have that technical savvy to where they can be a content expert, to where they can answer the questions, not just regurgitate a course outline that someone else has prepared. They become experts in every one of the programs they’re teaching.”
The basic idea behind the classes is to help improve students, Gabbitas said.
“It’s going to be providing them with tools that will help them with writing papers, formatting them in a way that makes it pop,” Gabbitas said. “It’s going to help them prepare resumes, it’s just going to help them get noticed because they’re going to gain a mastery of these tools that they’re using.”
Students can register for classes or find videos at train.byu.edu.