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Adjunct Instructor - School of Information Technology
Phone: 1-877-701-3800 ext.15767
Instructor Andrew Mahaney has been working in the IT field for 23 years. He has held positions from Senior Computer Scientist to Lead Engineer. Five years ago, a friend mentioned to Mahaney that students would benefit from his accumulated on-the-job knowledge. The friend was right. Since joining AIU Online's Information Technology undergraduate faculty in 2002, Instructor Mahaney has been one of the department's most popular teachers. He's the first to admit students really seem to appreciate all of his real-world experience.
"I have found that it takes some effort on the part of instructors to get students motivated. I've developed a few motivational techniques that seem to work though. My experience is that if I bring my real-world experience into the classroom and don't come across as a plain wrapper - rather be interesting and engaging - then students are more challenged and are inclined to work harder."
Instructor Mahaney says that attendance at his chat sessions actually goes up as the course moves along. A more usual trend is for chats to be less attended towards the end of a course. In addition to teaching, Instructor Mahaney continues to work full-time in the IT field as a Lead Engineer for Northrop Grumman. Previous jobs have included: Senior Combat Systems Engineer, Senior Systems Engineer, Senior Computer Scientist, Field Engineer and, the job that got him interested in IT in the first place, Combat Intelligence Analyst.
"I've implemented and seen a variety of projects through their entire lifecycles. I understand the entire system and know all the different components. I bring actual projects from jobs I have done into the classroom and reveal the technology and resources used to implement those projects. I talk to students about the advantages and disadvantages of every decision that has been made along the way. I think it really helps students understand how concepts in the textbook may actually be implemented on real-world projects."
AIU Online IT students are fortunate to have Instructor Mahaney near the beginning of their IT degree program. The courses he most often teaches are Concepts in Information Technology and Wireless Networking. "I kick the students off. I am very often the first person they encounter when they enter the IT degree program." Even though Concepts in IT is an introductory course, Instructor Mahaney says it is one of the most valuable courses in the program. "The course gives students a well rounded knowledge of not only computer systems, but also computer hardware, programming languages and databases. By the end of the session, students have good basic knowledge of all the technical concepts they would need to have as a computer user in an IT company."
Instructor Mahaney says the Concepts in IT course, when combined with his own real-world experience, is good for other things as well. "I've found that students use that course and my experience to find out where they themselves want to go within IT." Instructor Mahaney says about 25-percent of his IT students are already working in the IT field and are looking to learn more about their options. Others are just starting out and want to explore all the possibilities.
"Some students who already have IT experience will come into chats or discussions deliberately looking to expand a very specific area of their knowledge. I like to teach students things they can't get from reading textbooks. Lots of what I know you can't learn without having been there, on the inside in a variety of different positions."