Dion Van Overdijk and Himanshi Singh, Technology Faculty team members, undertook work placements at IBM this summer through Project ENTHUSE, a funding partnership which provides continuing professional development for teachers of STEM subjects.
Dion and Himanshi both gained valuable experience and insights at IBM and had the opportunity to work on live projects. As a result of their placements, John Easton, an IBM Distinguished Engineer, agreed to lead on projects across the three Activate Learning colleges, which will support the delivery of the new syllabus for computing courses.
To launch the projects, John gave a talk at Reading College focussing on cloud computing and IBM’s Watson project, an artificial intelligence platform for businesses, and set out the challenge that they will be undertaking.
The students will be introduced to system security via a network of computers which will be created by year 2 ICT students. A Linux platform will then be used to demonstrate the security flaws on the system (which is essentially a UNIX system; the most ubiquitous computer system used on the internet). The students have been challenged to design a plan to secure the system and will present their solutions in groups to John at the end of term.
The project has a Faculty-wide approach as resources and projects will be shared across the three colleges so that all ICT students may benefit from this project.
John Easton said: “‘It is very important for the ICT professionals of the future to understand how computer systems are protected and operate on the internet and it was extremely good to see the students being so active and showing a real interest in the workshop’.
The relationship with IBM will continue throughout the academic year as Himanshi has organised for more speakers from IBM to give talks to the students and Dion has arranged to create a real-life experience of the recruitment process of a global organisation with the IBM assessment centre team.