2017 New Directions in IT Education with Main Street Agile: Building Bridges Between Industry and Academia

Are you looking for an opportunity to interact with your peers and influence education in your field of Information Technology?

Welcome to the 2017 New Directions in IT Industry and faculty conference with Main Street Agile!

Advance IT Minnesota each year invites industry professionals and Minnesota State faculty members and academic leaders to convene and explore emerging employer needs, identify specific implications for student learning outcomes, and map out actions that individual faculty and departments can implement, and identify comprehensive innovations to be developed collaboratively.

The following themes have been identified for the pre-conference workshops on May 17, and the conference on May 18-19:

A. Agile/DevOps Education

There is now rapid adoption of dynamically configurable, hosted infrastructure coupled with truly responsive software development supporting business processes across platforms. This is a paradigm shift that challenges current educational approaches, necessitating change.  This conference presents state-of-the-art curricula and teaching approaches and engages attendees in efforts to renew and enhance IT programs and courses to address this new paradigm.

B. Analytics/Data Science

Addressing the demand for curriculum related to careers ranging from data science, Big Data computing to business analytics, the conference session brings together educators and industry leaders to work on curriculum design, career pathways, and experiential learning opportunities.

C. Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity and information assurance-related occupations are among the most in-demand areas for students across Minnesota.  Building on work done in the past New Directions conferences, this year the focus is on applying current research to cybersecurity education, creating reference course guidelines based on the National Institute for Cybersecurity Education framework, and exploring formal and informal industry-engagement opportunities.

D. Learning Infrastructure and Tools

The IT education and training world is an ever changing landscape of tools, resources, and infrastructure that can be used in the classroom of online to enhance the experience and learning outcomes for students. For this theme we will explore what options exist and discuss ways that we can build on this foundation.

E. Curriculum Development 2.0

Keeping pace with the changing industry requirements and practices across programs in technical fields can be a challenge. As the lines get blurred between degree and non-degree education in the minds of employers, it becomes increasingly urgent to keep our programs relevant and up-to-date. In this theme we will focus on the evolution towards competency based curriculum, embedded prior learning assessments, and the best practices for curriculum development across curriculum for both classroom and online delivery.

F. Faculty Development and Enablement

Staying up to date with new technologies, industry certifications, and broader workforce trends can be a challenge in any of the IT-related disciplines. In this theme, we will discuss some innovative approaches to faculty development and explore what other opportunities there may be to support the statewide need to attract and support the best faculty.

May 17 – Pre-Conference Workshops: Main Street Agile

Main Street Agile is an effort to bring together IT professionals, academics and business professionals to develop contacts, promote working relationships, and raise awareness of IT issues that are important to these groups.

There is no cost to attend the Pre-Conference but what you will gain is insight and connections with some of the top IT professionals in Minnesota. Our Panel discussions will include professional from Higher Education, Legislators, K-12 Leaders, Fastenal, Federated Insurance, HBCZ, Mayo Clinic, IBM – Rochester, J.R. Watkins, and others!

You won’t want to miss this dynamic opportunity to learn and hear from some of the top industry leaders about how digital technology is transforming and affecting our lives and how we need to prepare for it!


May 18-19 – New Directions in IT

This year’s conference theme is Building Bridges. The world we live in is ever changing and the needs of our IT industry change at an even higher rate! As we continue to navigate our work it has become ever pressing to understand the needs of the industry we serve.

In this day and a half conference you will be given an opportunity to hear from some of our local IT leaders – Tom O’Neill – Nerdery, Mark Gorman – Board of Directors MinneAnalytics, Charlie Betz – Principal Analyst at Forrester and others.

Day 1 will concentrate on understanding our current efforts around Shared Resources, Faculty Development and Opportunities and Advanced Curriculum Development to meet Industry Needs. During day 1 you will have hear from these leaders as well as be given time to discuss your IT area within the realm of these 3 efforts.  You will have a chance to come together to learn from the experts and then use small breakout time to begin to build your “bridges” from what you have heard.

Day 2  will provide you with time to create your own “bridge” AND get funding for it! Advance IT Minnesota is once again asking for all of you to pitch us your best ideas. In 2016, Advance IT Minnesota provided over $47,000 in project funds for 14 projects that previous attendees asked for.  Last years projects included:

  1. Agile and Digital Curriculum Project
  2. Data Analytics Competition ( Happening April 8th)
  3. STEM Collaboration
  4. CS Student Projects for Public Good

This conference gives you the chance to do the same! Be creative, Looks for solutions to industry and student needs, participate in your own professional development. The sky really is the limit!

The New Directions/Main Street Agile Planning Committee members look forward to your participation

Tirthankar Ghosh (St. Cloud State), Janet Johnson (Minnesota State Community and Technical College), Firasat Khan (Metropolitian State University), Vickie McLain (Lake Superior College), Vern Bachor (Winona State University), Pat Paulson (Winona State University), Janice Aanenson (Advance IT Minnesota).

Lodging Information

Lodging is being provided for this conference at Riverport Inn and Suites, Winona, MN.  More information will be provided by email after registration.