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Getting to Alpha: The O'Reilly School of Technology Opens its Virtual Doors

April 2, 2007

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 innovators.

"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 Technology."

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 that course.

"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 invaluable hands-on practice through The Sandbox; JavaScript to HTML to 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:

Additional Resources:

For more information about the O'Reilly School of Technology, including a current list of certificate and courses, see:

About O’Reilly

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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