SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - June 5, 2007) - To better prepare students for entry-level positions in information technology (IT), Cisco® (NASDAQ: CSCO) today announced updates to its IT Essentials course, PC Hardware and Software 4.0. Designed for Cisco Networking Academy® Program students in high schools, technical schools, colleges and universities, the newly redesigned curriculum covers the fundamentals of computer hardware and software and introduces advanced concepts.

The objective of the PC Hardware and Software course is to prepare students for entry-level positions in the IT field within several different working environments, such as corporate, help-desk and field environments. Students learn about the components of desktop and laptop computers by learning the proper procedures for hardware and software installations, updates and troubleshooting.

Today we live in a global economy where skills need to be transferable across borders to meet market demands, no matter the location of the employee or the employer. The Cisco Networking Academy Program provides access to these skills. This learning experience is supported by high-quality curricula, assessments, instructor training, hands-on labs and classroom interaction that is delivered worldwide to ensure consistency in qualifications and skills.

"In a world that is more and more connected by the network, it is imperative that today's students have exposure to the fundamentals of computer science and IT," said Laura Quintana, director of product management, Cisco Networking Academy. "The Cisco Networking Academy has updated the PC Hardware and Software course in response to today's market needs and Web 2.0 world. The PC Hardware and Software course provides in-depth exposure to real-world skills that are an essential part of the IT career path."

The updated PC Hardware and Software 4.0 course is divided into two parts. The fundamentals part of the course prepares students for the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) A+ Essentials exam and offers a greater emphasis on information security skills, safety and job-environmental issues and soft skills. The advanced part of the course prepares students for CompTIA's three job environment certification exams: IT Technician (220-602), Remote Support Technician (220-603), and Depot Technician (220-604). This is a hands-on, lab-oriented course that stresses laboratory safety and working effectively in a group environment.

There are no prerequisites for the PC Hardware and Software course. The course consists of both instructor-facilitated online multimedia material and lab exercises. Standalone virtual learning tools have been developed to supplement classroom instruction and provide opportunities for interactive "hands-on" learning.

"In our design of this course, we applied the principle that students learn best by doing," said Dr. John Behrens, director of learning systems development, Cisco Networking Academy. "We have introduced interactive multimedia and tools such as the Virtual Desktop and Virtual Laptop that enable students to virtually disassemble and reassemble desktops and laptops. These tools emphasize meaningful student engagement by promoting exploration and experimentation that result in rich feedback and interactivity."

For more information about the Cisco Networking Academy Program, visit:

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