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Instructors Offer 3 Tips for NETLAB+ Success

James Cregg and Skip Berry have used NETLAB+ in their classes at Riverside City College for more than a decade. In that time, they’ve learned to optimize the platform and what it can offer their students.

If you are planning for summer session or fall semester, consider the following tips to help you get the most out of NETLAB+ and give your students the skills they need to thrive in the working world.

Start Slowly

Your students will likely be new to the concept of working in a virtual environment, especially in introductory level classes; so don’t jump in too quickly. Cregg and Berry start with lecture and instruction for the first week or two of the semester and then move into more hands-on instruction using NETLAB+.

Once NETLAB+ is introduced, classes are a hybrid of in-class instruction and activities for students to practice at home.

“It takes a lot of knowledge to go into NETLAB and utilize it to the best of their ability,” Cregg said. “I like the hybrid format because they can practice on their own time at home and we can review their configurations together in class.”

Plan Ahead

One of the benefits of NETLAB+ is that configurations can be set up in advance and returned to its original state for each new student. Instructors can set things up in advance for the week or even for the semester and pick up each class where the previous one left off.

This advance planning creates efficiency for instructor and consistency for students, who are more easily able to track their progress week to week and stay on top of course material.

“It’s all about the golden master set up,” Berry said. “That way we don’t have to spend time reconfiguring things and can go directly where we were the previous week.”

Push the Boundaries

Cregg and Berry are quick to emphasize to their students that it’s nearly impossible for them to break anything they are working in NETLAB+. Encouraging innovation in colleges classes and other avenues is key to utilizing NETLAB+ to its full potential.

Over the past decade, Berry and Cregg have broadened the audience for NETLAB+ by integrating it into summer camps and partnerships with Cal State.

“We’ve been expanding it here over the years and it’s worked out quite well,” Cregg said.

“We can teach our students theory and technique but like a pilot needs time in a flight simulator, they need access to the equipment,” Berry added. “We have a lot of working students and whenever it works with their schedule they can jump in and practice working on switches and routers.”

3 tips