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Associate Professor Crafts Programming Class for Visiting Vo-Tech Students

Bahram Golshan, an associate professor of computer science at Pennsylvania College of Technology, engages students from the Berks Career and Technology Center.Twenty-four students and three chaperones from Berks Career and Technology Center visited Pennsylvania College of Technology on Wednesday, getting tailor-made exposure to the hands-on core of the institution’s reputation.

The personalized instruction came courtesy of Bahram Golshan, an associate professor of computer science, and had its roots in a request to Penn College’s Admissions Office. Christine Vrabel, programming instructor at the center’s western campus in Leesport, had asked to bring students to main campus in order to sit in on (or take part in) a computer programming class.

“After several e-mail conversations, I learned that Mrs. Vrabel was looking for a ‘hands-on’ activity for her students so that they could experience computer programming at the collegiate level,” said Bradley M. Webb, coordinator of matriculation and retention for the School of Business and Computer Technologies, to whom Admissions forwarded the initial message. “I contacted our information technology programming faculty and Dr. (Bahram) Golshan agreed to put on a program for the students.”

Initially, it was thought that sitting in on a college course would satisfy the instructor’s request. Once Webb was informed that Vrabel wanted to bring her entire class of up to 40 students, however, it was decided to design a presentation specifically for the students.

“This was especially important because we don’t even have a computer lab within the IT department large enough to hold this many students,” Webb said, noting that the college’s commitment to small class-sizes keeps computer labs at a capacity of only 22 students. “Luckily, I was able to work with the Madigan Library staff to secure one of the larger open labs for the event.”

Bahram Golshan delivers a program designed to reflect visiting students' varying level of programming knowledge.The next step was to gauge the programming experience of the students who would be attending.

“It turns out this class has students from grades 10, 11 and 12 with a wide variety of programming experience,” Webb said. “Some had, others C++. So, Dr. Golshan (an associate professor of computer science) now had to develop a lesson for students with varied programming knowledge.”

To his visitors’ benefit, he was able to do so.

“Students attended a lecture on Object-Oriented Programming using the Java programming language,” Golshan said. “After overviewing the OOP concepts, students completed a hands-on programming activity that included writing and testing a few Java classes.”

The day concluded with lunch in the Keystone Dining Room and an Admissions tour; each student was given a backpack of information about Penn College.

“It was a great day. The activity was really beneficial and fun. I think the students got a lot out of it, especially those that are first-year students just getting into the programming,” Vrabel said. “Overall, it was a wonderful day truly enjoyable and appreciated. I will definitely keep Penn College on my list of field trips!”

For more information about the School of Business and Computer Technologies, visit online or call 570-327-4517. For general information about Penn College, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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