• Go Beavers!!!

Nelson hired as new INT instructor and eSports coach at PCC

27 July 2018

The Information Networking Technology (INT) program as well as the eSports team will be undergoing exciting changes as Pratt Community College welcomes new instructor and coach, Chris Nelson.

Nelson brings valuable real world experience to the INT program after spending the last seven years in charge of IT compliance and production at a local oil company. Before that, he had owned a local photography business, in which he was in charge of nine employees at one point. He also held the hat of a software consultant for Innovative Computing Corporation, a company that wrote software for transportation such as shipping for trucks, airlines, and railroads across the United States and Canada.

“I needed a new challenge,” said Nelson. “I’ve worked in industries and ran my own business. It was time for something different and a new change of pace. I found that I have taught a lot in my previous line of work and I’ve had several people come up to me to tell me I should do this.”

Nelson’s goal for his students is to leave PCC prepared to enter the workforce.

“I want my students to become marketable,” said Nelson. “I want them to come out of here with their two year degree and land themselves a decent job. With CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) Academy, students will leave PCC with three certifications and an associate’s degree. My goal for them is to have a good experience at PCC and to have a paper that shows what all they can do. Hopefully it will get them a job right away if they want or if they choose, they can move on to another degree.”

PCC is in the process of moving the program to an online format. In the future, students will be able to finish the INT program completely online. The program will offer classes for community members looking to sharpen their computer skills as well as a degree program for degree-seeking students. Both online and on campus students will focus on building the skills needed to complete the CompTIA certifications in Computer Technology A+, Networking Technology N+, and Information Technology Security S+. Those who enjoy computers and want to join a rapidly growing industry are encouraged to join the program.

Along with teaching INT, Nelson also bears the responsibility of head coach for PCC’s eSports team. His goal for the team is to become more visible on campus and in the community.

“I think it’s possible for Pratt to have some recognition in eSports,” said Nelson. “It is athletic. It is a team. I will expect them to act as a team. I want eSports to be more public on campus and in the community. Last year, PCC had a good team and we need to continue on that and expand what we are competing in.”

The team competes in the Collegiate StarLeague (CSL). The Collegiate StarLeague is a gaming league open to all accredited colleges and universities in North America and Europe. CSL currently organizes leagues for competitive online video games such as League of Legends, which is the game PCC prominently competed in last year. Nelson would like to expand on the games the team currently plays to include popular titles such as Overwatch and Fortnite.

“Our league, the Collegiate StarLeague, actually has an Overwatch division,” said Nelson. “It would be an easy transition to add that in. Fortnite is very popular right now. Maybe for a season it would be worth finding a league to try it just to see how it goes.”

Nelson believes the changing world will allow eSports to become much more popular in years to come. With the decline in physical sports, such as football due to concussion concerns, more people are finding themselves behind the screen to compete. Online games can be played anywhere, unlike sports where a location at a court or field is a must. Only six people are needed to fill a complete eSports team, unlike other sports that require 15 or more.

The PCC eSports team is a varsity co-ed academic sport. Current and prospective students from any and all programs are welcome to try-out for the team. Students have the potential to earn scholarships for being on the PCC team.

Enrollment for Fall 2018 has already begun. Students who are interested in learning more and enrolling in the INT program or trying out for eSports can contact Nelson at chrisn@prattcc.edu.