In the City Colleges of Chicago system, Wilbur Wright College modified its CIS Program to offer a new entry point – IT Problem Solving – for majors and non-majors. Previously, the entry point in CIS was two literacy based technology courses. Only after did majors proceed on to rigorous computing coursework.

In IT Problem Solving, students create a website, set up a simple network, and write programs in App Inventor. Not only is the course exciting and creative (“It looks like fun from the outside!” a CCC administrator said of it) but it’s also a comprehensive introduction to CCC’s Information Technology, Programming, and Networking tracks, actively guiding new students towards these programs and retaining students already leaning towards computing fields.

CCC’s ability to implement the IT Problem Solving course was made possible by connections to BATEC affiliated faculty at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston. CCC faculty received training from Bunker Hill faculty in Boston and made a site visit to the school to see the course modeled. Without the active support provided by collaborators in the BATEC grant, CCC’s ability to make the switch to IT Problem Solving would have been imperiled.

Making its debut in Fall 2013 at Wilbur Wright College, IT Problem Solving is spreading to a second CCC school in the Spring 2014 semester. Currently, Wilbur Wright and CCC are working to revitalize the programming and IT tracks to reflect the skills needed for employment in 2013, working closely with BATEC partner faculty in Boston based on the model that proved a success for IT Problem Solving.

  • IT Problem Solving will encourage persistence into upper level computing programs.


  • Collaboration between faculty in the BATEC network enabled the course to scale from one BATEC site to another


  • The success of spreading IT Problem Solving created a model for scale in the BATEC grant
Jaime L. Mahoney
Associate Professor
Bunker Hill Community College