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Posted by raherschbach on 25 Jul 2016

Have you ever wished, while studying for a test, that you could go back and listen to the class lectures again so you could review key points?

Have you ever taken notes only to discover later that you missed something important?

One of the most popular capabilities of Capitol’s online learning platforms is that all lectures are recorded and archived for later use. For Melanie Young, a student in the MBA program, it’s been a key contributor to academic success.

Young says that having this resource available often means she can clarify questions without having to e-mail the instructor, and it’s also a significant study aid at exam time.

“Having the class session recordings is invaluable,” Young says. “Since I’m kind of a night owl, I sometimes work on assignments at a time when it’s not exactly feasible to contact my professor. Being able to go back to the recordings for clarification on notes or slides helps me get things done on my own schedule.”

“The recordings are available for the duration of the term, so I can go back and review them any time I need to. That’s a tremendous asset when studying for midterms or finals. In a regular classroom setting, the lecture happens and then it’s over. Having the lectures captured and available for later use is one of the best things about distance learning at Capitol,” Young said.

Capitol’s online master’s programs, including the MBA, are tailored for working professionals, like Young, who need to balance their jobs and academic schedules. All classes are scheduled in the evenings, with commute times factored in – and because the lectures are recorded, students don’t have to worry in the event that they miss a session due to overtime at the office, gridlock on the ride home, or a missed connection during a business trip.

Young, who previously took master’s-level classes at another institution before starting the program at Capitol, says she appreciates the extent to which the university accommodates the logistics involved in combining academic and professional life.

“The start times allow me to get home and get settled before the class begins,” she said. “Evening classes for the master’s programs at my old school started at 5 pm so I had to ask permission to leave work early every time I had class which was extremely inconvenient.  The program is also designed to really make the most out of the eight-week sessions so the MBA can be finished in a timely manner and help people advance in their careers more quickly.”

The accessibility of faculty members is also a huge plus, Young says.

“The faculty for the program are seasoned in their fields of expertise so I can trust that I am receiving instruction from people with real career experience who really know what they’re talking about,” Young says. “And they’re very accessible. My professors have been amazing about making sure they were available by phone and email to address any questions or concerns we had about the material. I had one professor, Jack Felsher, who said we could contact him for help even when he was on vacation with his family.”

 “That level of dedication is impressive,” she said.

Capitol currently offers, in addition to the MBA, online master’s programs in computer science, cyber and information security, electrical engineering, information systems management, and internet engineering. For more information, contact the graduate admissions office at gradadmit@CapTechU.edu or phone 1-800-950-1992.

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 19 Jul 2016

Combining IT with business is a winning proposition in today’s economy, but it’s hard to find a university with a program that melds the two, says Capitol senior Mike Strittmatter, who is currently completing his degree in Management of Cyber and Information Technology (MCIT).

“I wanted to merge the two. I really like doing business but at the same time I really like doing network management,” said Strittmatter, who transferred to Capitol after completing an associate’s degree in networking at Cumberland Community College. “When I was looking around at different universities, I saw there weren’t many options – it was either going into doing more advanced networking, or business. There wasn’t a good middle ground.”

That’s when he heard about Capitol’s program.  “One of my friends, who is also going here now, talked to me about Capitol and so I came down and looked around. I saw they have a degree program that combines both – they have the business AND the information assurance, which is really close to what I was doing in networking,” he said.

The MCIT program aims to produce systems thinkers with both management expertise and technical competence. Students in the program study principles of management, organizational behavior, personnel management, and marketing, among other subjects, and also take IT courses such as programming, network security, secure data communications and data handling.

That made for a good fit, Strittmatter said. “I’m an Eagle Scout so I’m a natural leader, and when I looked at the way the program is laid out, I saw it has a lot of courses that are oriented towards leading and managing teams. I really liked the fact that when businesses look at your resume, they’ll see that you have a lot of leadership and management experience already, as well technical experience. Having a strong network background already, the IT component of the program complements my associates’ degree while the business side gives me the foundation I’ll need for a career in management.”

“I want to do the technical work but at the same time I really want to do management as well, and so it really kind of fell into place.”

Strittmatter’s affinity for business reflects his background: he and his father run a small family company that specializes in furniture reupholstering. He likes keeping busy, and he’s used to juggling classes and work responsibilities. “I’d get bored just sitting around,” he said.

At Capitol he soon sought out opportunities to supplement his coursework with involvement in student projects.  The TRAPSat project, which is focused on developing a method for capturing space debris using aerogel, was of particular interest.

TRAPSat was looking for someone with Strittmatter’s business acumen and he was welcomed on board. “I make sure all the tasks get done in a timely fashion, I make sure our projections for the project closely line up, and I do a lot of part procurement,” he explained. “Once we decide what parts we need, we still have to go through the process of ordering them, which involves procedures and paperwork.” Currently he is Lead Business Analyst/Engineer for the team, which is participating in NASA’s RockSat X program this summer and preparing for a full orbital launch opportunity as part of the CubeSat Launch initiative (CSLI).

On the engineering side, Strittmatter helped design the project’s camera subsystem, aided in the redesign of a raised aerogel support container, helped machine and mill our structural subsystem, and did electrical work on the payload, among other things. “Even though I’m a MCIT student, you don't have to be an engineering major to engineer,” he said. “Having a passion for creating and building things as well as the perseverance to learn the engineering processes and the willingness to do it right is what it really takes.”

He’s also had the opportunity to develop his interest in 3-D printing. Strittmatter says he learned how to 3-D print while at Capitol, and became so fascinated by the technology that he went out and bought two 3-D printers of his own. In recent months, he’s been assisting not only TRAPSat in this area but also the school’s SatNOGS group, which is endeavoring to set up a ground satellite communications system on campus. Many components of the system, including gears, ball bearing housings, and antenna elements have been 3-D printed with Strittmatter’s assistance.

Currently, he is spending this summer as an intern at the NSA, where he says he’s been encouraged to dive further into the information assurance field.

 “My plans are to fuse all these different areas of interest together,” says Strittmatter. “I’m really a jack of all trades – I like to do a little bit of everything.”

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 14 Jul 2016

A group of area high school students are on campus this week, gaining a detailed overview of computer networking at a brand-new camp launched by Capitol this summer and led by Professor Andrew Mehri. It is the second of two new camps offered this summer; an earlier one covered programming.

Capitology spoke with Mehri on Thursday, day four of the networking camp.

“We began with a general introduction to how the internet works, then moved on to the layering mechanism,” he explained. “We went into the OSI and TCP-IP models, and looked at the network the way a networking professional would see it.”

The camp participants aren’t just learning about networks, however; the camp is also giving them practice in applying what they learn.

“On day three, we went full hands-on,” Mehri said. “We started out on the physical layer by putting cables together, then moved up a layer to where they used hubs and switches, and then today they’re going be using routers. They’ve already been introduced to the application layer, by watching data on the network with WireShark. They understand what a packet is, what the payload looks like, what headers and trailers are – so they’re really getting a full picture of the technology involved in a network.”

The camp wraps up Friday with a session on network security, both internally using virtual LANs, and externally using firewalls.

Students drawn to the camp generally have an interest in computers but do not necessarily have any prior experience with networking, Mehri said. The event is open to any student in grades 10-12 with an interest in digging into the technologies underlying today’s internet and finding out how it all works.

Capitol plans to offer both the programming and networking camps in future summers. To find out more, contact the academic dean’s office at jlexner@CapTechU.edu.

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 13 Jul 2016

Dates have been announced for the next series of virtual info sessions for prospective doctoral students. These "virtual open houses," conducted via Capitol's distance learning platform, provide an opportunity to talk with faculty, become familiar with program goals and requirements, and ask questions about a full range of topics related to doctoral study.

Sessions will be held at 7 pm Eastern Standard Time on the following dates:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Register here. After your registration is received, we'll send you a link containing information on how to access the session of your choice. 

"It's an opportunity for prospective students to speak with and meet our dean of academics and other members of the academic team, as well as faculty members who teach in our doctoral programs," explains Meghan Young, director of admissions operations.

Capitol's graduate programs are conducted online, via a real-time "virtual classroom," and the info sessions also provide an introduction to  that environment.

"It offers a chance to see what the virtual classroom looks like, and to become familiar with the various tools and capabilities of our platform," Young says.

Capitol currently offers two doctoral programs. Our DSc program in cybersecurity, established in 2010, balances a strong theoretical foundation with research and hands-on experience. It aims to prepare graduates to be leaders in the field's top organizations, including federal agencies and private companies. 

In 2015, Capitol launched a PhD program in management and decision sciences, designed to prepare sensior professionals for senior positions in either the public or private sector. Through a rigorous and varied curriculum, students cultivate high-level decision science skills, and contribute to the field with innovative and practical doctoral research.

We hope you will join us for a virtual info session. Click here to register!

 

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 7 Jul 2016

Learning to command and control and spacecraft requires both knowledge and practice, but being able to obtain hands-on training is often a challenge for students. Opportunities to assist with actual missions are limited and – understandably, given the costs and high stakes involved –little direct responsibility is placed on students.

With the help of the Hammers Company, a MD-based firm that has contributed to numerous NASA and commercial missions, Capitol Technology University now offers a resource that most space engineering programs lack: a platform for real-time training in a virtual satellite environment.

At Capitol’s brand new Space Flight Operations Training Center (SFOTC) students use actual spacecraft software to control virtual satellites, replicating the scenarios they would actually face on the job. The system incorporates a number of tools pioneered by Hammers, which has supported more than 30 NASA missions with real-time simulation, flight, and ground software systems. The VirtualSat® spacecraft dynamic simulator “closes-the-loop” with the flight software simulating the actual spacecraft in orbit with sensors and actuators. Firing thrusters, performing spacecraft slews and monitoring the spacecraft telemetry is capable in the virtual environment. VirtualSat allows the instructor to inject errors into the spacecraft to train the student to detect anomalies and conduct recovery procedures to up-link to the spacecraft. The Galaxy® spacecraft command and telemetry system allows the student to actually operate the virtual spacecraft in real-time and function as a spacecraft operator.

 “From the operator’s standpoint, when you’re on the system, it looks exactly like the spacecraft,” explains Marcel Mabson, a software test engineer at Hammers and a Capitol alumnus. He has been on site at the school for much of the spring and summer, and training lab managers and preparing the SFOTC for the fall semester.

Classroom learning, while vital, can only go so far when it comes to preparing students for flight ops, Mabson said.

 “It’s one thing to read about it in books, but it’s a whole different story when you’re responsible for a real bird that costs several hundreds of million dollars to build and launch,” he said. “The SFOTC will give students a leg-up when they go into the real world and work in operations. They’ll have the experience.”

That includes experience with responding to unexpected events, such as a loss in communications or a systems failure. Instructors can introduce anomalies that the student will have to address. “For instance, your spacecraft has stopped talking to you,” Mabson says. “How do you recover from that? Through the software, students will be able to understand the flow and management in any number of scenarios.”

Capitol professor Rishabh Maharaja, a systems engineer for NASA’s Earth Observing 1 (EO-1) spacecraft, says the SFOTC will be integrated into several astronautical engineering courses at Capitol, and will be available to all students in the program.

It provides “real world experience while they’re still in school. And they can take that wherever they go, whether it’s to NASA or a private company, because the underlying principles are the same.”

Because other disciplines such as computer science and electrical engineering are involved in satellite operations, he anticipates that the new resource will be extended beyond AE to other programs at Capitol as well, he said.

Mabson sums up the SFOTC as “an amazing place for future engineers to learn the engineering behind spacecraft development, operations, commanding, and data analysis.”

“The fact that we can train the students to see how they react in different situations, to get the full stress as it would be in a real NASA mission, is definitely an advantage for the school to have,” he said.


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