Instructors at the University of Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina attribute much of their success to partnering with local companies and listening to students.
Vladimir Perisic and Rade Djurasinovic are not only Cisco Networking Academy instructors in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Like many of their fellow instructors within the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Banja Luka, they are also full-time employees in the local IT industry—Perisic works for the Tax Administration of the Republic of Srpska and Djurasinovic works for an Internet service provider called Blicnet.
Multitasking Instructors and Students
Although many instructors have other jobs, their focus on their students is unwavering. Djurasinovic says, “Our instructors are completely dedicated to the process of teaching and devote full attention to our students.” He continues, “All of our instructors are industry certified for the courses they teach.”
Most of their students also work full-time while pursuing their IT studies. Approximately 25 percent of the NetAcad students at the University of Banja Luka are undergraduates. The rest are graduate students employed by various enterprises, including Telco, Siemens, the post office, television broadcasting companies, government agencies, and IT companies.
Charting Courses with Success Dashboard
The online Academy Success Dashboard tool on Academy Connection helps instructors ensure that students are able to advance in their studies and careers. Perisic states, “Course feedback is tracked by our team constantly and we take it into account to improve the teaching process.”
While they monitor the needs and feedback of students, instructors also stay up-to-date with developments in IT and regularly renew their industry certifications. Djurasinovic says, “Official requirements for industry recertification force us and help us to improve our skills and knowledge. Access to new equipment, materials, and curricula is also important.”
When asked what prompted him to become a Networking Academy instructor, Perisic says, “It was an opportunity for continuous professional development and I wanted to share my knowledge with our students.” Djurasinovic says, “I wanted to help the community and meet new colleagues.” He adds, “Cisco is the world’s leader in networking. I use Cisco equipment at work all the time and I wanted to enhance my IT skills.”
Benefits of Curricula, Practice, and Collaboration
Both instructors stress the benefits of NetAcad for their students. Perisic says, “The high quality and systematically organized curricula enable students to learn the newest technologies. The opportunity for the students to work on real equipment is invaluable.” Djurasinovic adds, “The collaboration among students from different companies also benefits the students greatly.”
‘Secrets’ to Their Success
The Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Banja Luka was recently recognized by Cisco for its CCNP course. When asked about the basis for the award, Djurasinovic says, “One of our ‘secrets of success’ is that we create our own lab topologies for most chapter skill exams. This way, our students know what they need to learn to pass the exam. Also, we create tasks for our students to practice in the lab.” Perisic adds, “During classes we give practical examples from our IT jobs to motivate our students to learn and do the best they can in these courses.”
Advice for Other Academies
The connection between the Networking Academy classroom and local IT companies goes beyond the instructors sharing examples from their careers. Perisic explains, “We have built a trust relationship between our academy and our big clients, like Telco, so they include the courses we provide in their budget for employee education. We recommend that other academies also establish this kind of relationship with local companies.”
About the Recognition for CCNP Excellence
One academy has been recognized for overall excellence in each curriculum, based on various metrics of student success.