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Faculty Spotlight: Learn How Industry Leader, Dr. Ron Martin, Prepares His Online Students to Meet the Challenges of the Critical Infrastructure World

By Leif Heaney Assistant Director of User Experience & Online Learning

Dr. Ron Martin is a Professor of Practice at Capitol Technology University with a specialization in Identity Credentialing and Access Management (ICAM), Critical Infrastructure, Industrial Control Systems, and Cybersecurity. Dr. Martin, now an instructor, consultant, and Subject Matter Expert (SME), worked in a government capacity (in various roles) for decades with the United States Army, United States Department of Commerce, United States Department of Health and Human Services, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dr. Martin is an acclaimed and highly prestigious individual in numerous industries and with that comes knowledge, relationships, and most importantly experience. Dr. Martin condensed all of that knowledge and experience into higher education courses that are invaluable to the education of many at Cap Tech. Dr. Martin has served as a Subject Matter Expert with Capitol on numerous courses that are currently available within the course catalog. These courses are often of the most content-packed, all-encompassing, and cutting-edge courses that Capitol has to offer, especially in the newly emerging Critical Infrastructure degree program.

Dr. Martin sees courses from a different perspective than most. When you talk to him it quickly becomes evident that he loves to pass wisdom, knowledge, and industry support to all students at Cap Tech, and that shows within his courses. One notable difference between Dr. Martin's course development style and other instructors’ style is the fact that Ron doesn’t require the student to buy a textbook. Instead, he uses free, open-source standards, documents, and other scholarly works that are currently being used within the Critical Infrastructure industry. These works come from various government agencies as well as private-sector corporations such as the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He often cites documents like the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) or the various Protection Sectors documents.

Instead of simply requiring the students to read the documents, Dr. Martin takes a more personal approach. He tells stories, gives the learners anecdotes, similes, industry wisdom, and extensive knowledge all in a very easy to follow manner through his live instruction as well as his asynchronous courses. Dr. Martin also incorporates these resources into his courses by challenging  his students to reference them as they solve real-life scenarios within his course assignments, His reasoning was primarily focused on the view that exposure is the best way to learn, and what better way to expose students than to put them in front of the type of work that is used every day in the industry?

In his recently developed asynchronous course CRI-501: Introduction to Critical Infrastructure, Dr. Martin broke his lecture/content down into five sectors (no pun intended) of to-dos: lectures-to-follow (often videos and PowerPoint slides), documents-to-read, videos-to-watch (often supplemental content that extrapolates upon the former two sectors), an interactive learning module that captivates the learner and keeps them engaged with the asynchronous content, an involved discussion with their peers, and finally an assignment that often provides an applied approach to the topic at hand.

While the course is filled to the brim with content, Ron constructs the learning experience (along with a team of Instructional Designers and eLearning Developers) in a way that introduces content from numerous angles. He starts easy with the theory of the topic, then he provides the learner with the active documentation from the field to reinforce the theory. Then he introduces another person’s perspective through the use of open-resource videos. That gives the reader two perspectives going into the interactive learning module where the theory becomes applied. The students then have an immediate opportunity to apply their knowledge through a peer discussion where the student interacts with yet another  point of view.. Finally, the learners are  tasked with an assignment that requires them to demonstrate their fundamental ability to consolidate both theory and applied knowledge.

Dr. Martin's courses are robust, though not overly complicated as to keep the learner focused on the content and not the user interface. The interactive modules introduce content in a vibrant and fresh manner while the document review gives the student a taste of common points of reference for industry standards and practices. However, perhaps most valuable, Ron structures some of his courses around industry-related certifications, recertification credits, and full-blown certification programs. Ron maintains his students’ attention by promising them the necessary knowledge to acquire important certifications within their desired industry relative to the program. Dr. Martin essentially wants to give the student all the tools they need to succeed and then help them construct a  toolbox that they will carry with them to work every day.

Through his courses, Dr. Martin gives his students access to  government-sponsored training courses, certification preparation, active reference material, and decades of industry experience and knowledge. While each student’s toolbox  is unique,  they will all be equipped with the  industry knowledge and skill that Ron has curated in his courses.

Dr. Martin continues to take charge of his own professional development through continued course development and Subject Matter Expert contracting, active course instruction, and frequent consulting within the industry. Dr. Martin is a testament to the quality and caliber of instructors that Capitol Technology University has to offer its students.