Industry Certification in IT Subjects to Date

About four years ago Microsoft introduced the MSDN Academic Alliance (MSDN AA) subscription that allowed university staff and students in a single department free access to a large body of Microsoft software aimed at software developers. MSDN AA allows copies of the installation media to be made for non-commercial use by staff and students on university and personal machines and includes all Windows operating systems, software development tools, databases and servers, in fact virtually all Microsoft software packages except Office. In particular this allows Visual Studio Professional and SQL Server to be used for programming, database and web applications teaching.

In 2004 the Faculty of IT joined the Microsoft IT Academy programme. This required some university staff to obtain Microsoft certification so that they could introduce Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC, used in Microsoft instructor-led courses) into their university subjects. Gavin Finnie has Visual Basic certification and I obtained ASP.NET certification.

I taught my first IT Academy subject in 043, INFT338 Advanced Web Applications. This had 8 students and unanimously they chose the C# version of the MOC. Eventually 2 students chose to site the Microsoft exam in addition to the Bond exam and both passed. In 052 the INFT215 .NET Programming Environment subject taught VB.NET with the appropriate MOC. Again 8 students studied the subject and found the MOC harder than expected as this was only a level 2 Bond subject. 7 students passed the Bond exam and no students elected to take the Microsoft exam. However, 2 of these students are now engaged in .NET programming in their careers.

In 2006, Microsoft decided to incorporate a free MSDN AA subscription with the IT Academy fees, which is a useful saving in costs.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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