Making a difference with Oracle Academy
The spotlight is on Michal Kvet, Associate Professor, Faculty of Management Science and Informatics, University of Žilina, Slovakia
The University of Žilina (UNIZA) has around 8,000 students in 184 accredited fields of study in seven departments. Founded in 1953 as the University of Railway Transport, UNIZA today specializes in transport and technical fields as well as in management, marketing, and the humanities. It also belongs to the Erasmus student exchange program.
The Faculty of Management Science and Informatics offers Bachelor and Master degrees in five-year programs covering Information Systems, Biomedical Informatics, Intelligent Information Systems, Computer Engineering, Information Management, and Applied Network Engineering.
Michal Kvet, Associate Professor in the Department of Informatics, teaches database systems and applications development. He is also a member of the UNIZA Research Community, specializing in database optimization. An Oracle ACE Associate, Kvet is co-author of several database-related books, including a book on Oracle Application Express (APEX), in the Slovak language. In addition, he is the university coordinator for Oracle Academy; for the Erasmus program; co-organizer of several international scientific conferences; and he delivers professional development database courses for K-12 teachers in Slovakia.
Kvet has a Phd in Applied Informatics. He is an Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate, an Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Associate, and is skilled in Oracle Cloud and Analytics.
Oracle Academy: How did you become involved with Oracle Academy?
Michal Kvet: After my doctoral studies, I found myself wanting to teach database systems myself and set out to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills. I bought and studied books and decided it would be great to get certified in Oracle technologies. When I learned that the University of Žilina could provide discounts on certification exams and materials, I seized the opportunity.
Oracle Academy: How is it working out with Cloud?
Michal Kvet: Oracle Cloud Free Tier is just great. It’s been excellent since the moment we implemented it. Students don’t have to install anything, just connect to the web and manage the database and applications from there. Oracle Academy allows us to create accounts and shift data to any environment or department very quickly, for example, to our Master’s degree classes in Biomedical Informatics.
Oracle Cloud is really important for teaching. It allows us to explore all aspects of data management: transactional databases, data warehouses, Oracle APEX for creating web applications. Today, students don’t need to know the administration or background processes of database systems, but they do need to know the importance of creating a skeleton solution based on self-adjusting technology – that’s the Oracle Autonomous Database – for use at any scale. And we correlate these techniques with the materials on performance optimization, SQL tuning, analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. It’s all there in Oracle Cloud, which I would say is vital knowledge for teaching in any IT curriculum.
The Oracle Cloud Free Tier through Oracle Academy is very attractive because it is expanding year-over-year with new offerings and more resources. I am also applying it to a regional digital education initiative named CODE-IN.
Oracle Academy: Can you tell us more about Oracle Application Express (APEX) ?
Michal Kvet: Oracle APEX is amazing. You don’t have to be an IT professional to create applications. With APEX in the Cloud, students can build robust and sophisticated applications based on any data. We show how applications communicate with the databases through SQL, but also how they can be autogenerated.
My colleagues and I have created a book on Oracle APEX in Slovakian, primarily used for university students, but very useful to secondary school teachers, as well, because most vendor technology literature is in English. Oracle Cloud, by the way, has been perfectly translated into Slovak, which helps enormously.
Oracle Academy: What has been your experience with the Oracle Academy Member Hub?
Michal Kvet: The Hub is perfect. With its learning paths and instructor resources, students and teachers can use existing course materials, or create new ones for uploading and sharing. One of the great benefits is that students can choose topics not covered in the mainstream part of the curriculum, going deeper into subject matter at their own pace and according to their future career paths. In their own time, they access materials available in the Oracle Academy Education Bytes or Oracle Academy Workshops, which provide content from novice to professional.
Hub is a very cool way, also, for students to learn content that will help them in Oracle professional certification exams which will boost their employability – providing materials that we do not have the time or resources to cover in our normal course structure.
And, lastly, for us faculty, we find the Oracle Academy Member Hub really efficient for managing student accounts, monitoring their activity, and assessing exam results. All in all, it’s a great advantage.
Oracle Academy: We hear that you are training vocational school teachers to use Oracle Academy teaching resources too.
Michal Kvet: Yes. In Slovakia there is a nationwide project to improve IT skills in teachers, and one subject is related to data management. In that context I teach about Oracle Academy resources to teachers in 10 secondary schools so that they can more efficiently pass on data management techniques to their students. They benefit from Oracle Cloud accounts because many do not have their own servers or DBAs, and with Cloud they have nothing to administer. Plus, it’s free. I am the supervisor, the person to go to with teaching questions. Many of them have now registered to become Oracle Academy members and are planning to start the full program next year.
Oracle Academy: You mentioned an initiative called CODE-IN. Can you tell us about that?
Michal Kvet: CODE-IN (Cloud cOmputing for Digital Education Innovation) encompasses Erasmus students at five universities in Croatia, Poland, Italy, Slovakia, and Portugal, and uses Oracle Academy curricula and teaching methodology in the areas of cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence. I supervise the project at UNIZA. We have unlimited access to Oracle Academy’s Member Hub platform and cloud services through which students build scalable, secure enterprise apps with Oracle APEX and get hands-on practice with Oracle Cloud. We are preparing webinars for the educational staff, training and practice courses, summer school, webcasts covered by the development of methodology for distance learning. The project involves training 25 ICT teachers to deliver 60 hours of lectures and exercises in cloud computing and AI. We are working on intensive distance learning courses in the areas of cloud computing and machine learning as well.
Oracle Academy: And what happens when the Erasmus students return to their countries of origin?
Michal Kvet: The great thing is that they take their Oracle cloud accounts with them. We have about 20 Erasmus students in our Informatics courses for whom Oracle Academy has provisioned Oracle Cloud accounts. We use the Member Hub to set up learning channels for them and they complete the training from abroad.
Oracle Academy: How is the job market for your graduates?
Michal Kvet: Slovakia is a country of predominantly small and medium enterprises. Oracle skills for complex database are highly prized by many companies in the industrial sector. In banks, medicine, engineering and many other fields, Oracle database skills will always be a plus for getting well-paid jobs. Knowledge of Oracle APEX and SQL is important when it comes to creating real-world applications.
Oracle Academy: Thank you. Lastly, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Michal Kvet: Most of my free time is related to study because if you want to be professional and share with students you must know your subject deeply, have complex knowledge. So, I put a lot of time into studying trends in IT.
But I also like to unwind with other activities, such as music management and recording, electronics, graphics management, gardening, and woodworking. When I close the door, I enjoy switching from teacher to relaxing with carpentry and musical creation.
I also like travelling with my siblings to new places and cultures – getting off a plane and being amazed!
Thank you, Dr. Michal Kvet, for your passion for Oracle Academy and for preparing your students to make a positive impact.