Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New LabSim 70-640 Course

You’ve been asking for TestOut’s new LabSim 70-640 course, and now the course is ready for you! New LabSim 70-640 training was released today and is available with a quick update in your LabSim account.

TestOut’s new LabSim 70-640 Configuring Windows Server 2008 Active Directory course trains students fully on all of Microsoft’s revised objectives for the 70-640 exam.

The new LabSim 70-640 is:
  • Now accessible through most Web browsers on a PC or Mac
  • Up-to-date with the revised Microsoft objectives for the 70-640 exam, including topics such as Active Directory Recycle Bin, offline domain join, PowerShell cmdlets, service accounts, RODC security, and advanced auditing features
  • Created with new videos, demos, text, simulations, and quizzes that teach the concepts and tasks necessary to successfully configure Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory and to successfully pass the 70-640 exam

To view a complete list of the updates to the 70-640 course, please read more at www.LabSimOnline.com/products/70-640-update.htm.

Academic instructors, the LabSim 70-640 course will update automatically today, or you may use LabSim's Course Update feature to delay the update by up to three months.

Whether you’ve been using TestOut’s LabSim training before or want to start training now with the new LabSim 70-640, don’t hesitate to contact TestOut with questions. We’ll help you get the update or begin the course for the first time. You can reach TestOut at 800-877-4889 or via chat on the LabSim website at www.LabSimOnline.com.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Enter Your College in the 2011 Digital Community Colleges Survey

Is your college a leader in implementing innovative digital solutions on campus and using technology to better serve students and faculty? If so, be sure to enter your college in the 2011 Digital Community Colleges Survey.

Converge Magazine has announced the call for entries in the seventh annual Digital Community Colleges Survey administered by The Center for Digital Education (CDE), a national research and advisory institute that focuses on technology in K-12 and higher education.

All community colleges in the United States are invited to participate in the survey. Last year, two colleges that utilize TestOut’s LabSim were among the winners in the Survey, including Scottsdale Community College and Walters State Community College.

Colleges that enter the Survey are classified into three groups based on their enrollment size. The CDE reviews each entry and publishes a ranking of the top ten colleges in each classification.

According to the CDE, "Top colleges honored reflect a comprehensive implementation of technology supporting the educational institution’s operations, as well as serving students, faculty and administrators."

Submissions are due online by June 8, 2011. We’ll follow the survey results on the Converge website and be sure to let you know of LabSim campuses that are recognized.

Friday, May 20, 2011

LabSim Engages Community College Students in Blended IT Courses

Distance education continues to see growth, according to a newly released survey conducted by the Instructional Technology Council (ITC). According to ITC’s report, distance education in the form of online courses offers “the most efficient, effective way to respond to increasing student enrollments.” Community colleges reported an 8 percent increase in overall enrollments in the 2009-10 school year and a 9 percent increase in distance education enrollments.

Blended or hybrid courses—courses that combine both in-person and online instruction, such as courses that utilize LabSim—experienced growth at an even higher rate. In the report of the 2008-2009 school year, 15 percent of community colleges reported that they offer blended courses. In the 2009-2010 report, that number had risen to 21 percent.

While just 75% of community college students complete traditional courses with face-to-face instruction, an even lower number reportedly complete online courses: 69%.

IT students at community colleges are some of the most avid users of TestOut’s LabSim certification training courses, a solution used in both online and blended courses. With TestOut’s LabSim training, many community college students prepare for IT certification and gain the credentials needed for an IT career. The hands-on components of LabSim engage students of all ages and work toward better completion rates in IT courses. Further, the reporting built into LabSim courses allows instructors to track students’ progress in the course.

For example, Allen Luck, a graduate of Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida, said that his training with LabSim as a community college student worked well with the flexibility he needed in college and gave him practical, hands-on learning that led directly to his college internship and eventual full-time position after graduation.

Have you experienced greater completion rates in your community college courses since utilizing LabSim training? Send us an email or leave a comment to share your experience.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Certification Validates Skills

Sometimes IT students wonder why certification is important. Why does it matter if they’re already getting a degree or diploma in IT, they ask. Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager of Learning@Cisco, answered that question this week:
Certification meets the needs of IT professionals by allowing them to gain valuable resources and skills necessary in the work place, then validating those skills. Certification validates skills necessary for various job roles. Certification also provides a competitive differentiator for employers.

Certification validates skills, she said. A student is taught many concepts in IT education, but an employer may not know exactly what skills a new graduate has unless the graduate also holds a certification. Certification standardizes the measurement of skills. For example, if a graduate holds A+ certification, an employer knows exactly what skills the graduate has been tested on and successfully passed.

Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, offers IT diplomas, certificates, and associate’s degrees, as well as courses for non-degree-seeking students. In the non-degree course are adults who want career retraining, others who simply want to learn more about troubleshooting and repairing computers, and many who take the course specifically for certification training because some employers will not hire them without certification.
Steve Bowker, HACC instructor, explained that while many of his students have a practical understanding of computers, even a box store like Best Buy may not hire them without formal training or certification. Bowker’s course at HACC provides training for CompTIA certifications A+, Network+, and Security+, giving students the opportunity to gain credentials they need to find jobs in IT.

Bowker uses TestOut’s LabSim training to prepare his students for certification. He explained that since requiring his students to train with TestOut, Bowker’s students have had a 100% pass rate on certification exams—on the first try. After they achieve certification, Bowker asks them what really helped them the most to pass the test. Bowker said, “I ask them, ‘Was it TestOut’s training combined with a textbook?’ They tell me the instructor-led class was great to answer questions, but TestOut’s videos and labs really put them over the top.”

With certification, students have industry-recognized credentials that validate their skills. Instructors, have your students experienced greater career success after gaining certification?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Watch for Increases in Microsoft Exam Prices

The prices of many Microsoft certification exams are going up for both IT professionals and students, beginning July 1. For current students at high schools and colleges, Microsoft exams now cost $60; on and after July 1 they will cost $83.

The new $83 price will affect the exams for nine Microsoft certifications, including:
  • Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)
  • Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
  • Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD)
  • Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST)
  • Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA)
  • Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)
  • Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD)
  • Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD)
  • Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA)

Network World reports that, according to Microsoft, "The new fee structure enables Microsoft to improve the Microsoft Certification program. Examples of proposed improvements include new Microsoft Certifications, new question types, frequent updates to certification exams, improved exam security, and driving adoption of Microsoft Certification by accrediting bodies across the world."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New CompTIA Website Helps You Plan IT Certification Path

How many students, and even IT professionals, have asked the question, “Which certification is right for me?” CompTIA, the certifying body that offers A+, Network+, and other fundamental IT certifications, has launched a new website, certification.comptia.org, that answers that question and offers helpful information about all of the credentials CompTIA offers.

CompTIA outlines
all of its certifications first in order of skill level, and then again by area of expertise. Students, entry-level IT professionals, and established IT professionals can view the certifications that match their level of training and their areas of greatest experience and interest in the IT profession.

For example, if you are interested in gaining expertise with hardware—including setting up, testing, and troubleshooting office equipment—A+ or Server+ may be best for you. If IT systems are your thing—integrating computers and secure communications in a business environment—the Network+, Security+, or Linux+ certifications will help you gain expertise. And if you’re more interested in how IT helps traditional business roles, focus on the Project+ or CTT+ certifications.

CompTIA’s new website for planning your certifications also has resources for better understanding career paths in IT. You may remember that Microsoft recently launched a similar website with IT career planning tools as well, giving you plenty of help as you find your way into an IT career. With TestOut’s LabSim courses to train you for many of Microsoft’s and CompTIA’s certifications, you are on the right track.