FULTON - Thirty students in the inaugural cohort of the Fulton Early College High School in Information Technology (FECHS-IT) program experienced their first college class on a collegiate campus this summer, an experience that included learning how to deconstruct and reassemble computers.
The microcomputer maintenance course was part of a summer bridge program for rising 10th graders in the growing FECHS-IT program, a joint effort between Cayuga Community College, the Fulton City School District and the Oswego County Workforce Development Board. The course focuses on computer hardware, teaching students about components and the different functions of computer equipment to prepare students for potential careers building computers.
Professor Steve Kohut, who instructed the microcomputer maintenance course, said ideally students should finish the class with starting knowledge on computer maintenance and with a baseline of information about what to look for in a quality computer.
“They should be able to fix a computer, and be able to discuss the repair process. They learn the central processing unit, which is the brains of the system. They learn how it is made, how to install it, and what features to look for when buying it, so they don’t buy the wrong device,” said Kohut. “Here students can learn how to fix their computer, so they can replace parts themselves for their own use, but it also sets a foundation for a career in a related industry.”
The summer bridge course is the latest college experience for students in FECHS-IT, which is a learning community that offers students access to college courses and college culture. Students can earn a total of 38 college credits during their four years in the program, and can graduate with a high school Regents diploma and sufficient credits to complete an associate of science degree in information technology after one year at Cayuga.
Students are accepted into the program based on academic achievement, behavior and attendance, and are required to interview and demonstrate an interest in Information Technology before enrolling. Students take courses at the school district’s G. Ray Bodley High School, but frequently visit Cayuga’s Fulton Campus.
Program director Sean Broderick said the program had a strong first year, and noted that the second cohort of ninth-graders starting in September are already holding icebreaker activities to prepare. The program is welcoming another 30 ninth-graders in the fall semester.
The rising 10th grade students will continue gaining college credits in the 2019-2020 school year, including taking courses on Photoshop and essentials of art.
“We really had a successful first year, with students gaining a lot of hands-on experience, which keeps them enthusiastic and engaged. Especially in our summer class, where Professor Kohut did a great job of making sure students had a chance to really understand the computer components,” said Broderick. “Courses like that really emphasize the opportunities this program creates for our students.”