Earlier this week I had the opportunity to present alongside Google at the COABE conference. My contribution was sharing the experience of offering the Google IT Professional Certification to our community at no charge in thanks to a grant received from Jobs For the Future (JFF).
While presenting with my partners I was happy to learn a few different things from my co-presenters.
- A better understanding of the value of the Applied Digital Skills curriculum. This curriculum was designed to equip learners of all ages and levels of experience with practical skills that will help them succeed in the workplace and in life. I can personally attest to this because I’ve used the curriculum for age ranges from middle school to adult education with varying educational backgrounds. One of my biggest takeaways was learning that the Applied Digital Skills curriculum was recognized by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) which can increase the recognition of the value in utilizing the curriculum in the classrooms.
- The high interest in the Google Professional Certifications. Google just recently launched three new professional certifications for persons who are looking to gain new skills in in-demand fields. These new certifications are Project Management, Data Analytics, and User Experience (UX) Design. These certifications will be available only on the Coursera platform at this time for approximately $40 per month and with the estimate of taking six months to complete successfully. Many schools at the conference were interested in the Google IT Professional Certification course that we have already had the experience of hosting and will continue to do so utilizing QwikLabs and its integration with the college’s learning management system (LMS) instead of the Coursera platform.
Three of the best practices of advice I would recommend for any college looking into bringing the Google IT Professional Certification into their offerings as part of a class or stand-alone course is as follows:
- Require participants to complete an orientation. When we started our course it was in April 2020 – at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. With the confusion and concern facing everyone, an official orientation was not completed. When we offer the course again in May 2021 we will require participants to attend an orientation to help ensure they understand the requirements and time commitment expected to complete the course and reinforce the process for requesting for assistance in the course.
- Set realistic timeframe for completion that also provides urgency. For our offering last year, participants had access to the course for 11 months thanks to the JFF grant. It’s estimated that it will take approximately 6 months to complete with 10-15 hours per week being devoted to the coursework. Ironically, it turned out that having 11 months to complete the course provided helpful leniency for some and supported a sense of procrastination for others. It’s imperative that an appropriate sense of urgency is shared for the course to prevent participants from letting it continually sit on the backburner.
- Failing forward and Rubber Duck Debugging. “You will fail” It’s one of the first sentences I’ve begun telling my students. Accept the fact that you will fail but you will also learn. These failures that we face along the way are something to embrace because it allows for increased discovery and opportunities to learn that are oftentimes greater than the learning experience we would have had if everything worked the first time every time. Accept the fact that you will fail. Share with the students rubber ducks of their own (available in bulk on Amazon) and encourage them to embrace the failures and explain the concept of rubber duck debugging. Let them know when you’re stuck – talk to the duck.
Ultimately, I was excited to see that Hocking College is proactively acquiring partnerships with technology brands and resources and we’re able to provide insight and experiences to other community colleges to help them adopt these resources into their curriculum on their own. While I do miss the experience of attending and presenting at conferences in person, I appreciate the opportunities that I’ve been able to participate in as colleges across the United States are learning and collaborating to help ensure a better experience for their students in today’s learning environment.
If you have any questions about learning digital skills from Google or Amazon Web Services, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-645-0509. I’ll be happy to help.