JCCC Stories

Sprinting into tech fields

March 31, 2017


In only five weeks, Jonathan Gavra completed two computer-training courses.

In only five weeks, Jonathan Gavra completed two computer-training courses. What normally would have taken 16 weeks had him out looking for a job in a third of the time. 

He learned CompTIA A+ skills (useful in computer networking) from Johnson County Community College by completing two online courses. 

“It was perfect for me,” he said. “All the information was online. It gave me access to resources and prepared us for the next level of learning.” 

Intro to CBE 

His lightning-fast speed was possible because of how the course was designed and how quickly he grasped the material.  

Students can advance as soon as they understand and demonstrate what’s being taught. This process, called competency-based education (CBE), depends on the learner to set the pace, but it also demands a lot of work from the instructor to respond to that pace.  

For Andrew Lutz, Assistant Professor of Information Technology, that meant answering Gavra’s email questions almost immediately and setting up on-campus review sessions when Gavra was ready for them.  

“Professor Lutz was very responsive,” Gavra said. “Even on the weekends, he would respond to questions.” 

Of the personalized pace, Lutz said, “This model of learning provides a great opportunity for those with prior experience and motivation to quickly improve their career prospects.” 

Part of an innovative program 

A portion of a U.S. Department of Labor grant funded the course’s creation as competency-based education. In total, the 11-part initiative at JCCC is called Accelerated, Collaborative Technology Training Services (ACTTS). 

ACTTS requires a separate application in addition to the College’s application to participate in the CBE coursework.  

Gavra said he applied to the program because he’d tinkered with computers since he was 13, and he was always the guy his coworkers would call when they needed help with their computers. 

His bachelor’s degree in philosophy helped him, too. “One correlation between philosophy and computers is problem-solving,” he said. 

His JCCC classes helped him pass both CompTIA A+ certification exams: 901, which focuses on computer hardware, and 902, which deals with software. 

Follow in his fast footsteps 

“I already had the corporate background, and this (class) gave me the knowledge to get the certification I needed,” Gavra said. 

Gretchen Sherk, Grant Project Director for ACTTS, said “We are thrilled that Jonathan experienced such success in this first experience with CBE. It is our hope that more students and additional courses will enjoy the same results.” 

For more information about the accelerated pace offered by ACTTS, contact Sherk at 913-469-8500, ext. 2410.