Computer Information Technology
Major in Computer Information Technology
The CIT major (reference number 555) requires 120 credit hours and leads to a Bachelor of Science degree. No minor or second major is required. Enrollment in the CIT program is limited and based on student qualifications. All CIT courses must be completed with a grade of "C" or better. The program requires 60 hours of upper-division CIT coursework. Electives should be selected consistent with WKU's degree requirements including:
- 36 hours minimum in courses earned at WKU
- 42 hours in upper-division credit
- 120 hours minimum overall
- General education categorical requirements
Non 2+2 Students (60 Hours)
- 10- 300-level courses (required of all majors): CIT 300, 302, 310, 312, 330, 332, 350, 352, 370, 372
- 10-400-level electives (students may select their own electives)
2+2 Students (36 Hours)
- 4- 300-level courses (take your first semester): CIT 300, 302, 352, 372
- 8-400-level electives (students may select their own electives
Computer Requirements Information
Computer Requirements Information
Students taking CIT courses will need to have their own computers and Internet access. Using computers at a public library, workplace, or friend's house generally doesn't provide the necessary access required for success in this program.
A mixture of current computing technology (hardware), basic networking gear, class specific software (including network operating systems, development tools, etc.), and a virtual machine package will enable successful completion of most class projects. Information Technology is not a spectator sport. Grappling with computers in a hands-on environment will bring clarity to the concepts introduced in the text and lectures, and the experience will serve you well in the future.
Students enrolled in the CIT program will receive a significant amount of software as part of their enrollment. The CIT program has partnerships with companies such as Microsoft, VTC and Oracle and we are able to provide you with copies of their applications, development tools, training materials and other programs. If you had to purchase these packages yourself the cost would be many thousands of dollars. We think that it is important for CIT students to be using the best possible tools and we are working to incorporate these into our program.
Minimum PC Requirements
Computer hardware is a moving target. The machine you buy today will seem old and outdated in less than a year. As a general rule CIT students should own a modern PC (one that is comparable to machines available from major retailers). The following core requirements will enable successful completion of most projects in the CIT curriculum.
___ Intel or AMD multi-core processor
___ System Memory (4GB min, more is better!)
___ Hard Drive (bigger is better, but don't buy the largest unit in production -- cost tends to be too high. SSD are not required)
___ Dual monitors with a matching dual-head video card is recommended (two 20" monitors are cheaper and much more versatile than a single 26" monitor)
___ Sound Card and Speakers
___ Webcam (higher resolution models are much better than the $20 units)
___ Current version of Windows operating system (department can usually provide students with a copy).
___ Microsoft Office (a version that supports the latest file format is required)
___ DVD Recorder
___ Current Antivirus, Firewall, and Spyware Protection (there are free options)
___ Broadband Internet Access (DSL, Cable, Satellite). Dial up access is not suitable for the CIT program.
Note that these requirements should be considered the minimum necessary for successful study in the CIT degree program. Individual classes may require additional hardware or software. Class projects will be best accomplished using at least one computer dedicated to your CIT studies. Reconfiguring your "main" or "daily-use" PC is not recommended. All students must secure the resources required to conduct proper study in the CIT field.
The primary CIT computer must be a dedicated machine that can be reconfigured, networked, and disassembled as needed to meet the requirements of each class. Many of the operating systems and software packages will require installations or configurations that may interfere with the normal operation of a daily-use, office or "family" machine. Trying to complete the CIT program using public library machines, computers at the office, etc. will simply not work. Most of our students already own a suitable computer. If you don't please make the necessary arrangements.
All CIT students are responsible for supporting their own PCs, Internet connection, and software. CIT faculty cannot remotely troubleshoot computers, install software or deal with Internet access issues. It is recommended that students develop a relationship with a local computer repair shop and their ISP as they begin the program.
What Should You Expect as a New CIT Major?
Whether you are new to the college experience, a seasoned WKU veteran, or a transfer student from another institution, it's important to know what to expect — and what will be expected of you. Of all the information that you get about the CIT program, this is some that you carefully need to consider. We will try to explain the way in which classes are conducted, how lab activities are managed, the time commitment that CIT will require, and what students should expect of each other.
A wise person once defined "Surprise" as being the difference between our expectations and the reality that we experience. No one likes to be surprised and CIT students don't need to be.
WHAT'S IN STORE
If you have taken college classes in the past — be prepared for some surprise. On-Line education is different and CIT courses will be very different.
Most college students believe that most of their time should be spent attending a class (listening to a lecture). They will study some the night before an exam or work on a project as its due date nears. However, class attendance is the primary focus...and has been since each of us was in Kindergarten.
In an on-line course, there is no "class time" per se. Your CIT professors will make lecture material available on-line, but these won't be the focus of the class. Lectures have their place, but they are not the best way for adults to learn. We will use lectures to introduce concepts, define terms, establish context, and provide some tutorials. Beyond that, CIT courses will requires the students to take responsibility for their own learning.
You should expect you professor to provide you with a detailed outline of class activities. Each week, you will be expected to read (both from the text as well as other sources), discuss issues with others in the class, work on projects — and generally immerse yourself in the topic being covered.
Adult learners typically do best by "doing" what they are trying to learn. You can expect that each of your classes will involve a lot of lab activities and projects. Each student in the CIT program will create their own virtual computer laboratory or be able to link their PCs to the CIT server network. These projects may require many hours or days to complete.
Research over the past 40 years has also shown that adults also learn better (and remember longer) if they can move their learning from the 'passive' to the 'active'. One of the most effective learning techniques is to have students formulate opinions about an issue, present those ideas, discuss/debate and defend them. This technique has long been used in Law Schools and each CIT class will have a discussion element as well. You will find that you get to know your "virtual" classmates really well — even though you may never physically meet them.
HOW MUCH TIME WILL IT TAKE?
The old rule of thumb for college classes is that students should spend 2-3 hours outside of class for every hour in class. This means about 3-4 hours per week...per credit hour in their schedule. This is why 15 credits are considered to be a "Full-Time" load.
"What? I never spent 9 hours working outside of class all semester — much less in a week..." That might have been the case in High School, your GenEd classes, or the school that you transferred from. It can't be the case in CIT. Information Tech is a huge field and employers now expect our students to be proficient with many different technologies. You won't be able to master all of the things that you need to without investing the time into each class. Students looking for a quick-and-easy credential will be unhappy with Western's CIT program. Our degree is not a spectator sport.
Each CIT class will typically require regular participation throughout the week. Students will not be able to completely off-load all of their time to the weekend. Plan on spending at least 30-minutes per day per class at a minimum. The rest of the work can be completed on your schedule.
Most CIT classes will also require a variety of hands-on laboratory activities. You will likely find that these require larger blocks of uninterrupted time. It's hard to start something substantial and then work on it for an hour here and there. CIT students all figure out when their schedules allow this "brain time". For some it's late at night. Some like to work early in the a.m. Others will set aside one day each week to work on their assignments. Everyone needs to discover what works best for them!
For most students, the secret to success in an on-line program of study is Time Management. With all of the schedule flexibility it's sometimes easy to let things go and get behind. Here are some tips that our top students have passed along:
Get yourself a calendar or schedule book. At the beginning of each class copy the deadlines from the syllabus into your calendar. Refer to this daily!
Schedule time to participate in class every day. As little as 30 minutes would be fine. This helps you to stay connected with your courses.
Create a "work area" where you can complete your studies. A comfortable chair, big table and good lighting are key. Get in the habit of always doing your schoolwork in this work area.
Carve out big blocks of time for your lab activities. For most students this will be sometime during the weekend. Try to schedule yourself a minimum of 4 hours when you can work undisturbed. 6+ hours—even better!
Do whatever it takes to stay on track. If you fall behind schedule it's often very difficult to get caught up. Go to bed late, get up early, turn off the TV, let the lawn grow...
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