April 2, 2007
Getting to Alpha: The O'Reilly School of Technology Opens its Virtual Doors
Sebastopol, CA--Because the alpha wolf has to fight his way to the top
with tooth and nail, you might think the same is true of the alpha geek.
Not so. In fact, anyone possessing an intelligent mind and sufficient
drive can achieve alpha geekdom, provided he or she also has the technical
qualifications. Obtaining the latter just became easier: the O'Reilly School of Technology has officially opened its virtual doors with
educational offerings for students looking to further or launch their IT
careers, whether they aspire to become alpha geeks or not. The school, a
unique partnership between O'Reilly Media and the University of Illinois,
represents yet another way that O'Reilly is spreading the knowledge of
"We know that people want to learn online, on their own time," says Tim
O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media. "We set out to create online
courses that are true to O'Reilly's high standards and take full advantage
of the online environment, and the result is O'Reilly School of
The O'Reilly School of Technology bases its courses on the premise that
for people to learn any skill they must immerse themselves in the skill
and practice. The school employs an online learning technique called
"useractive learning" in which the student or "user" is actively engaged
in building and creating projects while the instructional material is
presented. There are no presentation-heavy videos and simulations to sit
through. Instead, the courses feature tutorial-style content and Learning
Sandboxes(r) that contain easy-to-use, real, open programming environments
in which the students try examples and work on projects.
"The old way of doing e-learning was to rely heavily on presentation,"
notes Scott Gray, Director of the O'Reilly School of Technology. "Our way
is more about empowering users and letting them take control of their
learning as they are building and experimenting. Instructors act as
facilitators, giving feedback and encouragement at each step along the way
via the Learning Sandbox."
Students at the O'Reilly School of Technology can earn a Certificate for
Professional Development from the University of Illinois Office of
Continuing Education upon completion of a selected series of courses.
Certificates are currently offered in Client-Side Web Programming,
Linux/Unix System Administration, Web Programming, Open Source
Programming, and .NET Programming.
Courses are offered at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels.
Whether students take the courses individually or with a certificate in
mind, the completion of each course earns Continuing Education Units from
the University of Illinois, and count toward the certificates that include
"The partnership between the University of Illinois and O'Reilly Media to
support the O'Reilly School of Technology is a great example of how
corporations and Universities can work together to offer new types of
educational opportunities to non-traditional students," says Professor
Marc Snir, Professor of Computer Science and Head of the Computer Science
Department at the University of Illinois.
What students are saying:
"I firmly believe that the more tools that you have, with the knowledge to
back them up, the more options you have for doing things better and more
efficiently. OST has (and continues to) provide me with tools and
PHP. Again, the more you know and practice the more you can do. OST is
definitely one of the best!"
-- Jay Madigan, Research Scientist
"I have taken gazillions of courses online, and even though I am a very
disciplined and keen learner there has always been a limit in my learning
in all of them. (OST Courses) are a good step forward and definitely years
ahead of the rest of the CBT herd."
--Ahmed Avais, IT Professional
"OST courses and training have helped me immensely. After completing my
first two certificates, not only did the quality of my work jump (and my
clients recognized it) but this also led to much more work and
opportunities for me.
-- Craig Kaminsky, Web Developer
Further testimonials can be found at:
For more information about the O'Reilly School of Technology, including a
current list of certificate and courses, see:
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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