ITCC Certification Program Question List

ITCC Certification Program Question List

Working in the IT certification field I come across a plethora of certifications, some good, some bad and a few that crossed the line into ugly. As I’ve read and written about the merits and weaknesses of various certifications, I’ve occasionally wondered if I couldn’t put one together myself. Beyond wondering, I’ve even scribbled some ideas on a whiteboard. After all, even ink-stained hacks like myself can take a run at IT fame and fortune.

Alas, developing a certification program is a really, really difficult thing to do. The more I scribbled, the more it became evident that I was in the deep-end of the pool without my water wings. There were so many questions to be answered. Questions like: How much can I charge? Who can I sell it to? What should the certification cover? And finally, “What was I thinking? I don’t have any idea how to do this.”

I’m not trying to discourage anybody who is thinking of developing their own certification program. Far from it, I’m actually here to share some news about ITCC’s latest white-paper, the Certification Program Question List.

If you’ve got the itch to create your own certification, this paper is worth a deep-dive. Compiled by a multi-company team of ITCC members, it’s a detailed checklist of important questions that to consider before attempting to create a certification program. The checklist covers all of the major areas of concern that should be taken into consideration when starting a certification program from scratch including policies and agreements, systems and vendors, economics exams, security, maintenance and operations, and staffing needs.

Each section covers not only the obvious questions like renewal and test delivery, but important questions that are often overlooked. For example, who stops to think about addressing any legal or regulatory issues or how does the proposed certification fit in with existing certification products?

For those who follow the checklist carefully, it will be extremely useful in facilitating important discussions with stakeholders and executive management to ensure their full support. Moreover, obtaining answers in advance to the many questions presented in this document should be advantageous to the director of any high stakes certification program.

It is ITCC’s hope that the detailed, thought-provoking questions outlined in the document will “help create a solid foundation when constructing a new certification program from the ground up and to help others avoid the pitfalls that many of us have experienced in creating our own programs.”

Creating a certification program is anything but easy, and to be sure, no two certification programs are exactly alike. However, we can all benefit from the experience of those who have gone before us with a goal of creating the best certification program possible using whatever resources are available.

ITCC Projects are for the use of ITCC  Members. To download, visit Basecamp or request a copy from ITCC HQ.

About the Author — Calvin Harper is an associate editor for GoCertify and a veteran of the publishing industry.


Remote Proctoring: Benefits, Risks, and Lessons Learned

Remote Proctoring

It’s an online world and we are all captives. Almost any sort of business can now be conducted via the internet. This includes shopping, gambling, gaming, programming, day-trading, data entry, transcribing, recruiting, accounting, payroll services, and even one as famously stress-filled as wedding planner.

It turns out that the internet is also a great place for learning, particularly when it comes to certifications. Of course, once instruction began taking place online, it was only a matter of time before somebody came up with the idea that testing could also be done online. Hence the introduction of remote proctoring, (also known as online proctoring) the “process by which a candidate is proctored live over the internet via a web camera rather than being proctored by someone in the same physical location.”

Candidates who are being remote proctored typically sit in front of their computer keyboards and screens with a camera focused on them. Proctors watch test takers through the camera in order to detect any cheating activities like crib-notes or unauthorized study materials. Proctors can view the entire room and even detect any prolonged eye-movements away from the screen that might indicate a candidate is looking at notes.

During the last decade, remote proctoring has become a widely accepted method for delivering tests to students and candidates. One major advantage is cost savings: test providers don’t need to set-up an established test site and test takers can avoid having to spend a great deal of time and money traveling to a designated testing site.

Academic institutions in particular have found remote proctoring to be good fit for themselves and their students. However, credentialing and licensing bodies have only recently begun to experiment with remote proctoring with the greatest interest coming from credentialing organizations, particularly those offering IT certifications.

Given the IT community’s increased interest in remote proctoring, the ITCC Securing Certifications subcommittee commissioned the Remote Proctoring Task Force to document the pros and cons of remote proctoring, interview IT certification organizations regarding their experience with remote proctoring, and provide considerations for those exploring the adoption of remote proctoring.

Certifying organizations are increasingly enamored with remote proctoring because the process enables them to introduce new content to the course quickly and easily and, since exam sessions are typically recorded, they can readily audit proctors and exam candidates to help resolve any complaints or issues that arise.

Accessibility is the most commonly mentioned reason for an organization to utilize remote proctoring. The increased coverage and convenience to candidates is vital to companies with global programs, whose candidates often have to drive long distances or fly to testing centers. One company interviewed stated that “offering online proctoring makes it more convenient for current candidates, and potentially opens opportunities for new business.”

Remote proctoring has thus far proven helpful, but it’s not a panacea for either candidates or certifying organizations. There are advantages and disadvantages in each of the following areas:

  • Testing Environment
  • Perceptions of Remote Proctoring
  • Exam Structure
  • Access/Convenience and Geographical Reach
  • Comfort and Anxiety
  • Cost
  • Technology
  • Privacy

For example, the comfort and anxiety levels of candidates can vary greatly. Some may be comfortable using the technology in their home or office and are able to ignore the camera. Others however, may find the camera distracting and the limitations on body and eye movements to be intimidating and stressful.

It’s the same with access and convenience. While certification opportunities are open to individuals living or working in remote areas, such opportunities require the proper technology and internet access.

While remote proctoring appears to be here to stay, there are certain questions one should answer before deciding to implement it, including: what are the benefits to your organization, what happens if a candidate experiences technical issues during an exam, and how will you ensure the privacy of test takers in compliance with the legal requirements of different countries.

ITCC Projects are for the use of ITCC  Members. To download, visit Basecamp or request a copy from ITCC HQ.

About the Author — Calvin Harper is an associate editor for GoCertify and a veteran of the publishing industry.

ITCC Member Updates

As a member of ITCC, we wanted to provide you with key details on the latest special projects and member benefits. Below highlights the ways you can get more involved in ITCC in the coming months.

Join a Project or Task Force
Contribute to industry task forces and special projects that influence global IT Certification policies. Current projects include:

  • Agile Development
  • Documentation of the IT Certification Ecosystem
  • Process for Legal and Program Support to Invalidate if Unauthorized Material is Used
  • ITCC Marketing Task ForceIf you are interested in participating or have additional ideas, tell us here.

Monthly Member Meetings
Each month ITCC hosts virtual Member Meetings with the goal of encouraging members to take time to listen to what others are doing in the certification industry to spark discussion. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month. Have an idea for an upcoming meeting? Interested in reviewing recent meetings? Visit the Member Meeting Database on Basecamp for more information.

Basecamp is the project management tool ITCC Task Forces use to collaborate and also hosts:

  • Member Meeting Video Database – All Member Meeting Videos since 2014
  • ITCC March In Person Member Meeting Wrap-Up
    • March Meeting Presentation and Minutes
    • 2016 Employer Survey Results
    • Recently Completed Task Force Projects:
      • ITCC Incident Matrix
      • Certification Program Question List
      • Remote Proctoring – Benefits, Risks, and Lessons Learned White Paper

March In Person Meeting Wrap Up
If you weren’t able to attend the March in person meeting at ATP, stop by the ITCC Blog for a quick recap. Otherwise, all materials are available on Basecamp for your review.

Join Our LinkedIn Group
ITCC’s private LinkedIn Group is the format members use to engage with each other. Have a quick question or interested in starting a discussion? This is the place to connect with other individuals in the industry who are part of ITCC.

We also have a public company page, so feel free to connect with ITCC there as well.

Have questions about your membership? Want to learn more about other members of the group? Interested in getting more involved? Contact ITCC HQ for more information and support!

Invite Your Colleagues
To make sure you and your colleagues stay up to date on the newest ITCC news, please email ITCC the contact information of those who should be added to our member roster.

Fighting Fire: The ITCC Incident Matrix

When viewing the entire IT certification landscape, the multitude of problems posed by cheating on certification exams probably often seems like a plume of smoke from a far-off wildfire. There’s visible evidence of danger and destruction, but unless the flames are literally beneath your nose, then it’s easy to discount the damage done and tuck the incident into a file marked “Pending Action: Must Address Someday.”

Perhaps the issue can be contained without needing to be stamped out. Maybe it will eventually subside and disappear altogether. Don’t wildfires sometimes burn out and dwindle away without any direct intervention from human responders?

Cheating on exams, of course, may represent the destructive flames of our metaphorical wildfire. There are a host of contributing factors, however, which could be seen as acting in the same manner as wind, or deadfalls and dry brush: causing the initial burn to spread and rage out of control. If these exacerbating agents could be better managed, then the fires, when they break out, might be easier to confront.

Actual firefighters don’t typically have the means or information needed to mitigate the ruinous impact of wildfires before they strike. Those who manage and administer IT certification programs, on the other hand, need not be taken by surprise when a cheating crisis emerges. With the right blend of precautions and active monitoring, certification programs can be fortified and protected against the devastating effects of cheating.

Ready and Waiting

Sometimes knowing where to start is among the biggest hurdles to overcome when tackling a complex and ongoing problem. The IT Certification Council, with a big assist from the certification team at Citrix, has designed an outline for certification programs to follow when assessing threats and implementing precautions. The ITCC Incident Matrix can be your test and testing protection blueprint, guiding you in securing both exam materials and the exam process itself.

One early indication of brewing trouble, for example, is exam candidates using forums, chat rooms, list mail, or other means to ask about the availability of content from past or current certification exams. The inquiry may sound harmless: “I’m preparing to take the XYZ exam and I’m wondering what to expect. Does anyone have any questions from past exams that I could look at?” The initial intent may even be harmless. Sinister ends don’t always arise from sinister intentions.

The ITCC Incident Matrix can help you determine the appropriate level of response to the various activities that either directly indicate, or could lead to, actions that compromise exam security. It can also help you know where to direct your monitoring. A candidate who retakes a certification exam after passing could merely be a perfectionist driven to pursue a better score. Seeking repeated exposure to exam content, on the other hand, could certainly be spurred by ulterior motives.

Cybersecurity experts are bound to be familiar with the “defense in depth” approach to information security, which uses multiple layers of security controls to protect an IT system. An attacker may penetrate one layer of protection, but get tangled in the next, or the one after that. The ITCC Incident Matrix can similarly help certification programs deploy multiple protections against cheating.

Cheating on certification exams may seem like a distant or insignificant problem. Just as wildfires can suddenly and dramatically increase in size and destructive intensity, however, the harmful consequences of cheating can quickly spiral out of control. The ITCC Incident Matrix can help you immediately embark on a course of proactive and preventive action.

ITCC Projects are for the use of ITCC  Members. To download, visit Basecamp or request a copy from ITCC HQ.

Article by: Cody Clark, Managing Editor, Certification Magazine