Innovation Funds Pave the Way Forward

Innovation Funds Pave the Way Forward

ROSEBURG, Oregon – When the COVID-19 global pandemic broke, Umpqua Community College (UCC) rose to the challenge and moved its classes to online delivery methods. For some, it may have seemed to be a work around to the situation at hand. Now, adopting and investing in technology are the ways forward.

The UCC Foundation stepped forward to offer Innovation Grants as an investment in the technologies that would help facilitate student learning. All College departments were invited to apply for a piece of a $20,000 pie.

One of the main technological challenges is replicating in-person instruction online. This is especially true for hands-on instruction. The UCC Computer Information Systems (CIS) Department is attacking the problem with technology.

CIS Professor John Blackwood is one of the faculty members who applied for grant funds. He recognized that teaching server administration, network router configuration, and IP address calculation is a very detailed and hands-on process. He applied to use funds for an iPad video kit and was awarded a grant.

With the iPad video kit, I can record the assembly and configuration of servers, routers, and switches during remote and in-class instruction,” Blackwood said. Having the ability to record as I draw network topology, for example, makes it easy to archive the video so that students can access it again and again. They will watch three or four times because the information is very detailed.

Even when instruction happens in-person and face-to-face, it is difficult to demonstrate complex procedures.

In class we have a white board, but taking a picture of the white board does not capture all the details,” Blackwood said. “The new iPad video kit comes with a pencil to draw complex diagrams. I can easily edit, save, and distribute to students.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Computer Science and other computer-related skills have become very important for all businesses and industries. Many organizations are rushing to move some of their processes online. Some businesses have no option but to move their entire operation online.

UCC offers individuals the ability to retrain and upskill. Students can earn associate degrees and certificates in Cybersecurity, Database Administration, Programming, Web Development, Cisco™ Networking, Microsoft™ Networking Support, and more. Certificates can be completed in as little as nine months of part-time studies. Associate Degrees require two years of full-time schooling to complete, but many students opt to study for a longer time on a part-time basis.

We are living in a time when technology is the path forward. High school juniors and seniors, recent high school graduates, dislocated workers, underemployed workers, and first-year college students are invited to contact UCC about opportunities for education and employment in Computer Science and Computer Information Systems.

About Umpqua Community College

Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.


John Blackwood
Associate Professor, Computer Information Systems
Phone: 541-440-7686