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TOGAF 8 Certification for Practitioners
What guides and supports the evolution of the Solutions Continuum?
A. The Enterprise Continuum
B. The Architecture Continuum
C. The Standards Information Base
D. The Architecture Development Method
E. All of these
The Solutions Continuum ____ the Architecture Continuum?
A. Depends on
B. Is unrelated to
C. Drives and supports
One of the most important outcomes of the TOGAF ADM process is the evolution of
A. Technology neutral implementation
B. Industry specific architecture
C. Foundation architecture
D. Systems architecture
E. Organization specific architecture
The TOGAF Solutions Continuum _____.
A. Contains the Architecture Building Blocks for the Industry Specific Architecture
B. None of these
C. Provides a structured approach for designing the Foundation Architecture
D. Can be used to define the Technical Reference Model for the organization
E. Is used in Business Scenarios to track requirements and specifications
TOGAF predates _____, and strikes a balance between using its concepts and terminology
while preserving other commonly accepted TOGAF terminology.
A. OMG CORBA
B. ITU RM-ODP
C. ISO 14252
D. ANSI/IEEE Std 1471-2000
What is a key difference between TOGAF and the U.S. Department of Defense C4ISR
architecture framework (now DODAF)?
A. C4ISR provides an integrated architecture model with three standard views; Strategic,
B. C4ISR provides an loosely coupled architecture model that does not require views.
C. C4ISR provides an integrated architecture model with only three standard views.
D. C4ISR does not provide an architecture model.
E. C4ISR specifies a very detailed architecture development method.
The four TOGAF architecture domains map to ____ on the Zachman framework.
A. The business model viewpoint row
B. All six rows
C. The contextual viewpoint (Planner) row
D. The system viewpoint row
E. The top four rows
According to TOGAF, ____ is the practice and orientation by which enterprise
architectures and other architectures are managed and controlled at an enterprise-wide
A. IT governance
B. Implementation governance
C. Architecture governance
D. Technology portfolio management
E. IT strategy
What is the purpose of COBIT?
A. Provides management with tools to assess and measure their organisation's IT
B. Provides an open standard for controlling information technology.
C. Provides a standard for good IT security and control practices.
D. All of these
E. Provides Maturity Models, Critical Success Factors (CFSs), Key Goal Indicators (KGIs),
and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to faciltate effective IT management.
What is the highest level of architecture maturity.
D. Under development
A project to deploy an enterprise product data management system needs to adjust its
architecture contract to address resource constraints. Based on TOGAF, what level of
governance would be most appropriate to respond to the request?
A. Architecture governance
B. IT governance
C. Corporate governance
D. Implementation governance
E. Technology governance
In TOGAF, what level of governance is responsible for defining architecture processes?
A. Implementation governance
B. Corporate governance
C. Technology governance
D. IT governance
E. Architecture governance
In the conceptual TOGAF Governance Framework, content and processes related to
governance are influenced by the ____.
A. Process flow control mechanisms
E. All of these
In TOGAF's Architecture Governance organizational structure, which group is chiefly
responsible for deployment and operations?
A. Domain architects
B. IT service management
C. Chief Information Officer/Chief Technology Officer
D. Program management office
E. Technical support
According to TOGAF, an enterprise architecture imposed without appropriate political
backing is _____ .
A. Needed to assure rapid deployment
B. Difficult to enforce
C. The prerogative of IT management
D. Simpler and more cost effective
E. Bound to fail
Effective governance should provide all of the following characteristics to the organization
B. Overt control
To state that a proposed architecture specification will be implemented ____ the standard
specification, it is implied that it will adhere to the stated standards.
A. Consistent with
B. In view of
C. In accordance with
D. In a similar fashion to
E. Outside of
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Today at the Open Hardware Summit at MIT, OSHWA, the Open Source Hardware Association has announced a huge revision to the Open Hardware certification process. The goal here is to design a better platform for creating Open Hardware.
While all hardware already certified as Open Hardware will remain Open Hardware, this revamp of the ‘hub’ of the certification process is greatly improved. There’s a new website. There are learning modules telling everyone what it means to be Open Source hardware. There are community examples — real-life walk-throughs of projects that have already been created. There’s a streamlined certification process, and an improved listing of Open Hardware projects.
But Why A Certification Program?
While Open Source in the world of software is easily defined, it is effectively a hack of copyright law; all software is closed by default, and an Open Source software license is merely that; a license for anyone to use it, with the various restrictions and philosophical battles. Hardware, on the other hand, is big-O Open by default. The code used to program an FPGA is covered by copyright, but the circuit itself isn’t. The firmware on your Arduino project is covered by Open Source software licenses, but the physical implementation of your Fritzing picture isn’t.
In the absence of a legal framework to truly make an Open Hardware license work, the only other option is a certification program. The current Open Source Hardware certification program launched in 2016, and has since seen hundreds of projects certified from dozens of countries. It is, by any measure, a remarkable success. The people who make hardware are certifying that their work complies with community-set standards, and all of these projects are registered.
The New, Improved Interface for the Certification Program
While the core of the Open Hardware Certification program hasn’t changed, the user interface — the ‘killer app’ of a directory of Open Hardware projects — has. According to the press release put out by OSHWA ahead of the announcement, “The revamped website consolidates a broad range of information about open source hardware onto a single site. To maximize comprehension for people pursuing certification for their own hardware, important documentation and licensing concepts are illustrated with specific existing examples from the registry. An improved directory and search function makes it easy to find hardware that matches a broad range of criteria.”
Compared to last week’s version of OSHWA’s website, this is a huge improvement. Now, you can easily find information about what it means to make Open Hardware. The complete directory of Open Hardware projects isn’t just a spreadsheet on a webpage anymore, you can actually search for projects now. This is a huge improvement to the Open Hardware certification program, and we can’t wait to see how this new platform will be used.
You can check out the rest of the Open Hardware Summit over on the livestream.
Corporate training roles exist at all levels and may include responsibilities ranging from administrative tasks to managerial oversight. Generally, these roles focus on assessing organizational learning and training requirements, creating training materials to fulfill those needs, and delivering the training. Training and development professionals need organizational and communication skills, as well as strong knowledge of common human resources practices.
You can beef up your training and development expertise and show your value to employers by obtaining an HR or training certification. Read on for the top five certification programs to help you get ahead in the world of training and development.
Best corporate training and development certifications
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, corporate training and development certified earn a median income of $61,570 per year. Training and development managers can expect median earnings of more than $120,130 per year, with the top tier receiving over $207,420. Depending on the role, corporate training-related positions are expected to grow about 8 percent from 2021 to 2031.
While researching training and development certifications, we found that most employers look for a combination of human resources and training-based certifications. Below, you’ll find the five certifications most commonly requested by employers for training and development job roles.
Training and development managers in the top-earning tier can make over $200,000 per year.
1. ATD: Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD)
The ATD Certification Institute (ATD CI) is the credentialing arm of the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Its premier talent development and training credential is the Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD).
The CPTD evaluates a candidate’s personal, professional and organizational capabilities, based on the Talent Development Capability Model. Subjects covered include knowledge management, learning science, learning technology implementation, training delivery and facilitation, instructional design, performance improvement, change management and coaching.
To earn the CPTD credential, candidates must pass an exam with a mix of multiple-choice and case-study questions. exam fees are $975 for members and $1,350 for nonmembers. To be eligible, candidates have two options. Candidates can either possess five years of relevant work experience and have completed 60 hours of talent development training in the past five years, or have four years of full-time talent development experience while holding the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD) certification and being in good standing.
2. HRCI: Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
Professionals with a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) are implementers. PHR team members understand the logistics involved in turning plans into reality and in implementing organizational programs (or training) and solutions.
To earn the credential, candidates must pass an exam and meet one of the following education and experience requirements:
There’s a $395 exam fee and a $100 application fee. Sixty recertification credits are required during a three-year period to maintain the credential. Alternatively, you can take the exam again.
3. HRCI: Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
HRCI’s Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification targets senior practitioners who are well versed in all facets of HR. SPHR credential holders are typically engaged in planning and executing business strategies in accordance with the organization’s overall HR needs. They are also responsible for HR departmental goals.
To earn the SPHR credential, candidates must pass an exam and meet the prerequisite education and experience requirements. There’s a $495 exam fee and a $100 application fee. To fulfill the prerequisite requirements, candidates must have at least one of the following:
As with the PHR certification, 45 HR and 15 business recertification credits (60 credits in total) are required during a three-year period to maintain the certification.
4. SHRM: Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is a global leader in HR competencies. It currently offers two credentials: SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP), which is geared toward entry-level professionals, and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), which targets senior practitioners. Both credentials are well recognized by employers. Half of the SHRM exam validates skills in leadership, interpersonal and business, and the other half of the exam targets knowledge across the areas of people, organization and the workplace.
To earn the SHRM-CP credential, candidates must pass an exam and meet the prerequisite experience requirements. Candidates for SHRM-CP certification don’t need to hold a degree or HR title to be eligible, but basic working knowledge of HR principles is recommended. The exam fee is $410 for SHRM members and $510 for nonmembers, with early-bird pricing and other discounts available.
Sixty professional development credits (PDCs) during a three-year cycle are required to maintain the credential.
5. SHRM: Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)
SHRM’s Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) credential targets senior-level HR professionals who exemplify leadership and can influence and implement organization goals.
SHRM-SCP candidates must have three years of strategic-level HR experience and devote a minimum of 1,000 hours annually to strategic HR work. Candidates must complete the 1,000 hours during the calendar year as part- or full-time hourly or salaried employees. exam fees are $410 for members and $510 for nonmembers, with additional discounts available.
As with the SHRM-CP, 60 PDCs are required every three years to maintain the credential.
Top 5 certifications, by the numbers
Employers are eager to find candidates with any of these top training and development certifications. A quick search of the top professional search engines reveals the demand for these credentials. The figures below represent a snapshot of the number of open positions nationwide by certification as of the day the job search was conducted.
Job site search results
There are thousands of open positions in the U.S. for candidates with one of the top five training and development certifications.
More certification options
While they didn’t make our top five list, we found other interesting related certifications. The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) offers the Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) credential for professionals who are interested specifically in performance improvement. For professionals who don’t meet the requirements for the CPTD certification, ATD offers an Associate Professional Talent Development (APTD) credential along with a Master Trainer Program credential that covers the key aspects of training delivery.
Several universities offer professional development courses in executive coaching and corporate training. Some of the examples we found included an Executive Certificate in Leadership Coaching from the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies and leadership coaching courses from the Harvard University Extension School of Professional Development. Dale Carnegie also offers a Corporate Training Certificate program.
No matter which training and development skills you’re looking to improve, there’s a certification program out there for you. You can start exploring your options today to reduce your training and development skills gap. The effort will pay off tremendously when it’s time for your next job search or when you’re eyeing that big promotion opportunity.
Mary Kyle contributed to this article.
TheOffice of Digital Learning offers faculty development programs in teaching and learning. These programs go deeper than individual workshops and trainings to promote faculty knowledge and encourage innovative practice in teaching. Completion of programs is rewarded with a certificate of achievement. Current offerings include the Teaching with Technology Certificate program and the Online Instructor Certificate program.
Contact email@example.com or use the link below to learn more about available faculty development programs.
Academic Impressions is an organization specializing in professional development resources for higher education. All employees have access to the institutional membership. Learn more about memberships.
Bridge Online Learning
Bridge is an online self-paced training series for Administrative and Financial Administrative Assistants. For more information, please email WorkdayLearning@unr.edu.
Environmental Health & Safety Training
Review and register for mandatory and voluntary EH&S training, including Defensive Driving, Laboratory Safety, CPR, and more.
Human Resources Online Network Meetings
Online Network meetings are intended for Human Resource partners and liaisons across campus who are interested in learning about administrative procedures, changes, and updates that affect the University. This group is designed to help you do your job better by communicating information to your departments and colleagues. Network meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at 10 a.m. via Zoom online (except for the months of January and July). Meeting participants can ask questions via live chat during the meeting. If you would like to receive monthly agendas and a link to join these meetings, please email Kaiya Massey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Office of Human Resources at (775) 784-6082.
The Knowledge Base is a repository of articles for our users to research internal-facing policies, procedures, and how-tos. The Knowledge Base is available 24-7 and is your one-stop shop for Workday, UNR-specific resources, and online training videos.
NVeLearn Mandatory Supervisor Training
The State of Nevada requires supervisors of classified employees to undergo supervisory training in core areas every three years. Learn more about what syllabus are required and how to register.
Office of Digital Learning Workshops (Not just for instructors!)
The Office of Digital Learning (ODL) provides support to the faculty and staff across campus who use University-supported technologies for teaching, business, and communications. They offer workshops to help you create accessible documents, images, videos, web content, and email – all formats that are required to be compliant with WCAG 2.0 AA per the University Accessibility Policy. We recommend that all faculty, instructors, and administrative employees working with these formats take the following workshops:
Red Hat Inc. provides open source software solutions to more than 90% of the Fortune 500 companies, including internet service providers, airlines, healthcare companies and commercial banks. The company has been around for more than two decades and is well known for its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution. Red Hat provides a fully open technology stack, which you can alter to suit your needs – you’re not locked into the vendor’s vision of the software or stack components. Red Hat’s portfolio of products and services also include JBoss middleware, cross-platform virtualization, cloud computing (CloudForms and OpenStack) and much more.
Red Hat offers numerous professional certifications based on its software products, including operating systems, virtualization, storage and cloud-based solutions.
Red Hat certification program overview
The Red Hat certification program aims at system administrators, engineers, architects, enterprise developers, and application administrators, as well as cloud and virtualization administrators, who use RHEL in their IT infrastructures. The certification program aims to ensure that candidates are proficient in RHEL by requiring them to pass performance-based certification exams. Whereas many certification exams ask multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions about specific technologies, Red Hat requires you to perform and complete real-world tasks using Red Hat technologies to pass its exams.
Red Hat traditionally offered certification exams only upon completion of a training course. Now you can take a Red Hat exam on your own schedule, outside of training, if you like. Each exam session is performed on a secured system in a professionally proctored testing center. These centers are located in select cities throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.
Once you earn a Red Hat certification, you become a Red Hat Certified Professional. This gives you access to Red Hat Certification Central, which allows you to connect with potential employers, join the Red Hat community, create study groups and collaborate on projects. In addition, you can explore Red Hat’s training options and easily schedule individual exam sessions. Discounts on recertification exams are offered there as well.
Red Hat Administrator, Engineer and Architect certifications
The largest group of Red Hat certifications is geared toward system administrators, engineers and architects. Some of the most popular and sought-after Red Hat certifications reside in this category, such as the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA), Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA).
The RHCA is probably Red Hat’s most versatile credential. In 2018, Red Hat implemented several changes to the RHCA program. The most notable change is that Red Hat now offers two separate RHCA credentials: the Red Hat Certified Architect in Enterprise Applications and the Red Hat Certified Architect in Infrastructure. Over the past year, Red Hat has retired a great many of its credentials, as you can see from the long list of “Retired Certifications” on the company’s All Certifications page. Candidates who have previously passed certification exams that are now retired may still be able to apply those retired certifications to current certification tracks. Check the certification overview page for each certification to find more details.
RHCSA: Red Hat Certified System Administrator
The RHCSA certification is designed for experienced Red Hat administrators and is required by some organizations to meet U.S. Department of Defense Directive 8570. It’s also a prerequisite credential for the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE).
Red Hat recommends three training classes to prepare for the RHCSA certification. The Windows admin classes are Red Hat System Administration I (RH124) and Red Hat System Administration II (RH134). Candidates may also take a Linux/UNIX admin class – RHCSA Rapid Track Course RH199 – to prepare for the RHCSA exam.
To obtain RHCSA certification, candidates must pass the 2.5 hour RHCSA exam (EX200).
RHCE: Red Hat Certified Engineer
The RHCE certification is geared toward experienced senior system administrators and fulfills requirements of U.S. Department of Defense Directive 8570.
To obtain the RHCE certification, you must first become RHCSA certified. The recommended training for the RHCE certification is based on your skill level. Windows admins with minimal Linux experience should take the Red Hat System Administration I and II (RH124 and RH134) courses, along with the Red Hat System Administration III (RH254) course to prepare for the exam.
Linux or UNIX admins with one to three years of experience should take both the RHCSA Rapid Track Course (RH199) and the Red Hat System Administration III (RH254) courses to prepare for the exam. RHCEs looking to recertify, or candidates who’d like the opportunity to engage in a lab-based review before taking the RHCE exam, should take the RHCE Certification lab (RH299). The certification lab is a four-day, instructor-led opportunity to work through all of the labs from the Red Hat System Administration I, II and III courses, along with the Rapid Track course.
To complete the RHCE certification, you must pass the 3.5-hour RHCE exam (EX300), which is currently based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.
RHCA: Red Hat Certified Architect
The RHCA certification is the pinnacle cert in the Red Hat Certification program. Red Hat has changed the RHCA program to be more flexible that previous incarnations of the program, depending on the candidate’s particular areas of interest and expertise. Currently, Red Hat offers two RHCA credentials:
Red Hat recommends certain specific certification combinations to achieve the RHCA in Infrastructure or RHCA in Enterprise Applications. Candidates are free to follow the recommended path or select their own certifications based on their professional interests and requirements.
The RHCA in Enterprise Applications has three recommended certifications combinations: application acceleration, and integration; application automation; or DevOps, containers, and OpenShift. While not required, Red Hat recommends that all candidates obtain the Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Application Development and Red Hat Certified Specialist in Enterprise Application Server Administrations.
There are four recommended certification combinations for the RHCA in Infrastructure: open hybrid cloud; DevOps, containers, and OpenShift; Red Hat OpenStack Platform; and Linux mastery.
The number of recommended training courses varies for each RHCA concentration (RHCS means “Red Hat Certified Specialist” in the preceding table). At present only candidates who’ve already taken the retired exams in the DevOps category can earn RHCA: DevOps (hopefully, Red Hat will rectify this situation, or retire the credential). There is also some overlap in training course recommendations as shown in the table below.
Red Hat Cloud and Virtualization Administrator certifications
Formerly, Red Hat offered certifications geared toward IT professionals familiar with Red Hat virtualization and cloud technologies. In addition to the RHCA: Cloud (mentioned previously in this article), one could find the Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator, Red Hat Certified System Administrator in Red Hat OpenStack and the Red Hat Certified Engineer in Red Hat OpenStack. Today, that last item – namely, RHCE in Red Hat OpenStack – is the only remaining member of this category still available.
The Red Hat Certified Engineer in Red Hat OpenStack focuses on IT professionals who possess the skills necessary to install, deploy, and work with Red Hat Ceph Storage, including creation of block devices for Ceph and integration of services with Ceph Storage devices. In addition, Certified Engineers in Red Hat OpenStack can create and manage devices for virtual networks and use the OpenStack Neutron Service. Candidates must possess the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) in Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8 to qualify for the credential. In addition to the RHCSA exam (EX210), candidates must also pass Red Hat Certified System Engineer in Red Hat OpenStack (EX310), a three-hour performance-based exam. Red Hat recommends that candidates take the Red Hat OpenStack System Administration Red Hat OpenStack Administration I (CL 110), II (CL210) and III (CL310) courses to prepare.
Red Hat training and resources
Red Hat offers an extensive training program: in-classroom, online, virtual, remote classroom, onsite team and online learning lab formats are available. Most courses are three to five days in length, depending on delivery format. A remarkably helpful resource is the Red Hat Training Resource Center, which contains links to online tools, references, student guides, a skills assessment and more.
Red Hat now offers the Red Hat Learning Subscription, which gives certification candidates access to a multitude of online, on-demand classes and exam prep videos for an annual subscription fee that varies depending on the specific certification you seek. In addition, Red Hat offers multiple ways for you or your company to save on certification and training costs. Browse the Red Hat Ways to Save page for training bundles and success packs.
You can also find lots of third-party study guidebooks to prepare for certification exams. Just search for “Red Hat Certification” on Amazon and be prepared for a lot of results.
Most organizations, and managers, believe that ongoing learning and development for their people is important for their growth, improved performance and overall business success. As a result, companies around the world invest significantly in training each year, with over $366 billion spent in 2018. Training budgets increased significantly in 2019, and research suggests that the role of learning and development (L&D) will broaden in 2020.
However, despite this belief, focus and investment, many organizations fail at implementing the type of learning culture and training experience that will truly elevate performance and provide significant returns on investment (ROIs). While most managers say they believe training is important, they typically consider the implementation and execution of L&D in their organization to be less than effective. In fact, HBR states that 75% of managers (registration required) are dissatisfied with their company's L&D function. Why the disconnect? Based on our experience developing learning strategies and cultures with companies, we've found six critical L&D problems that exist in many organizations today.
1. Some L&D teams lack L&D expertise and real-world credibility. We typically find that those responsible for the L&D efforts lack in-depth expertise in developing and/or delivering content. The L&D function is too often another step in an HR generalist's approach to getting their experience in all aspects of the business. Add to this the fact that most of these people designing and delivering content have little to no operations experience, and many have never actually led a team. As a result, we often see a situation where the L&D team will deliver the training they want to deliver, rather than what is actually needed in the operation or by the management team. Therefore, it is not surprising when there is a lack of confidence with in-house training teams.
2. The training offered is not what is needed. As mentioned, we see many L&D teams delivering training that doesn't directly relate to improving individual or organizational performance. They often focus on measuring success by the number of trainings provided, instead of focusing on the quality of what is delivered. We see a lot of training created that is generic and at a high enough level to "cover everybody." This approach is limiting, and it is no wonder that 70% of employees (registration required) report they do not have the mastery to do their jobs. L&D in the future must be more personalized and customized to what people really need — providing specific training to drive habit improvement.
3. L&D becomes a mandatory to-do. Once a lack of confidence in the value of training occurs, management teams become resistant to sending their people to training, and they often do not see the value in their own attendance. As a result, organizations, at the request of their L&D teams, will often shift to make training mandatory, thereby forcing individuals into learning. I can tell you from experience that forced training does not work, especially when the content and delivery is dull and lacks relevance.
4. The focus is on training events, not a learning culture. Some organizations seem more focused on investing and delivering training events, one-off training sessions that are not always connected, relevant nor delivered when they are needed most. It is no wonder that many managers loathe the training process. When the focus is just on "ticking the box" with a certain number of events rather than evolving an attitude throughout the organization on the benefits and need for learning, the training investment is often wasted. Companies must establish an attitude and infrastructure that offers employees and managers the time and opportunity for continuous learning on a variety of subjects in a variety of mediums at any time.
5. The top of the organization has stopped learning. Another issue limiting a learning culture is when L&D is not truly supported from the top of the organization. While every executive we meet says they support training, they often do not engage in any learning and development themselves. Whenever we see true learning cultures, it is usually because there is real participation and support from the very top of the organization. Not only do these executives stop leading when they stop learning, but they also send a message that training is not as important as they might be telling us.
6. The training overlooks the biological realities of learning and retention. Simply put, many training sessions we review are too long, try to cram too much information into a single session or are just boring. As attention spans become shorter, we must evolve the learning experience to be more interactive, built around games and/or discussions and involve participants being hands-on. We need to build training that fits our employees rather than trying to make our employees fit our training. We must also be more considerate of how retention works, meaning that training strategies must be built around opportunities with time to practice skills learned and less time on introducing new concepts. On-the-job-training is still the best learning experience, so more emphasis must be placed on allowing time to practice in the operation rather than on a computer or in a classroom.
Learning cultures are essential for the modern organization. In the 2020s, companies must move beyond just offering learning events or a curriculum of e-learning modules and focus on developing a true learning culture, one that inspires, open minds, supports change and growth, encourages creativity, delivers innovation and develops the next level of leaders. It is time to consider whether your business is maximizing its investment in training and if your company is approaching L&D correctly. Consider whether any of these issues apply to you, and be willing to rethink your L&D to maximize your ROI.
Will COVID-19 be remembered as a turning point in how universities deliver teaching and learning? How might the widespread use of digital tools change higher education?
These questions and others are addressed in Leveling the Learning Curve: Creating a More Inclusive and Connected University, a new book by William Eimicke, a Columbia SIPA professor and the founding director of the school’s Picker Center for Executive Education; Columbia’s Senior Vice Provost Soulaymane Kachani; and Adam Stepan, director of the Picker Center Digital Education Group.
The book explores the current role of digital education through interviews with more than 50 top practitioners from universities and ed-tech firms. Leveling the Learning Curve guides readers through the inner workings of digital learning by exploring how these new tools can enable universities to reach new audiences and address long-standing imbalances. The authors examine challenges to implementing digital education programs, and provide insight into how universities have managed to balance the needs of faculty as well as on- and off-campus students.
Leveling the Learning Curve traces the history of digital education initiatives from Khan Academy, TED Talks, and MOOCs through the pandemic, examining both successes and failures. It offers examples of what a connected university looks like in practice by sharing how digital tools increase audiences, expand interdisciplinary teaching and learning, connect students to real-life issues, help meet equity goals, and open new revenue streams.
In addition to the book, Columbia recently released two connected MOOCs on the edX platform, Blended Learning Toolkit and Digital Case Method, which share free and low-cost tools for educators around the world. Two SIPA MOOCs were also delivered on the edX platform, to coincide with the book’s release. They are open educational resources, essentially free digital textbooks that teaching and learning teams at universities and global NGOs can use and obtain under the creative commons license. In the first two weeks of registration, educators from more than 50 countries had already enrolled.
Columbia News had a chance to discuss the book, related projects, and the future of digital education with Eimicke, Kachani, and Stepan.
How did this book come about?
Soulaymane Kachani: Bill, Adam, and I had been discussing an idea for a book on innovations in online education and educational technologies for some time. We originally imagined we would focus on Columbia SIPA’s Digital Case Study program(short films on complex issues, sometimes created by students), which we had developed together over several years, as well as some exciting work by the Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning. When the pandemic hit, we decided to widen the scope to include a broader review of successes and failures in the digital higher education landscape.
Universities’ mission statements typically call for sharing knowledge widely. Yet many leaders in higher ed admit they are not doing very well on the social imperative to provide high-quality, affordable education for everyone who seeks it. Post-pandemic teaching transformations hold the key for universities to help learners of all ages, socio-economic backgrounds, and stages of life and professional careers, everywhere, all the time. By embracing digital tools and online/hybrid access, universities can reach new audiences and deliver knowledge to those who need it the most.
Adam Stepan: Soulaymane has a strong network with the leadership of both the ed-tech industry and higher education. A group of provosts and vice provosts from major universities, as well as CEOs of top firms and online education platforms, agreed to talk to us. We ended up conducting numerous interviews with thought leaders from across academia, ed tech, the World Bank, and the UN, along with people who run national digital education programs in Israel and India.
Our book presents best practices in the planning and management of large, complex digital programs, and in working with professors on instructional design, media production, and course delivery, both in-person and online. We also experienced in-depth demos with team managers in the engine rooms of digital education production, and looked at hundreds of websites, courses, and learning experiences.
William Eimicke: Our goal with this book is to share this knowledge widely. The target audience includes those who run universities and learning organizations of all kinds—NGOs and international development organizations such as the UN and the World Bank, who realize that digital education is the only way to deliver change at scale.
Can you give some examples from the book about the challenges to implementing digital education, and how new tools can enhance teaching and learning?
Eimicke: I teach in-person and online courses, and work closely with our faculty to structure executive education programs with partners all over the world. The reality is that most universities are set up to deliver a different learning experience than the ones students want and need today.
Most institutions have structures and incentives that are designed to deliver learning on a 19th-century model of in-person, lecture-based teaching. Technology can support new modes of teaching and learning.
Kachani: In 2012 and 2013, MOOCs on platforms such as edX and Coursera provided universities with tools to share knowledge beyond their walls. But following an initial burst of enthusiasm and activity, most universities returned to traditional teaching models, where their courses can be accessed only in the classroom, and only by those who can meet their standards for admission.
Evidence shows that in-person learning is better, but that digital tools can enhance it. Active learning and peer-to-peer engagement can be facilitated by digital tools such as well-designed course websites, digital cases, and recorded guest lectures. Online field trips through video case studies and simulations can help students apply abstract concepts. Rather than passively listening to a lecture, such digital tools can free up class time for discussion and active learning activities. Online, this new technology can enable the course to be scaled, allowing students in large courses to form small groups and assist each other.
Stepan: COVID-19 brought about a huge, unplanned natural experiment in digital learning. We were fortunate that it coincided with an ongoing engagement with the Open Society University Network, a group of 45 universities that turned to Columbia SIPA to help plan and deliver remote learning at scale across those 45 campuses. This allowed us to experiment with digital delivery modes here in New York, and with learners in places such as Bangladesh, Kenya, and Kyrgyzstan.
It was a tremendous laboratory in which to experiment with new tools. One of the conclusions we reached is that digital tools are very good at supporting teaching in the liberal arts. Students write and work collaboratively online in ways that they can’t in-person. If used smartly, digital tools drive student-to-student learning and engagement.
What do you envision as the future of digital education?
Eimicke: Many of us were attracted to the promise of expanding access and sharing knowledge that the original MOOCs presented, and were sad when it seemed as if that door had closed. So one of the main messages of our book is that the dream that motivated MOOCs—top universities making a global impact by sharing content—remains alive and well.
By investing in and creating high-quality digital learning experiences, we better support learners on campus, and we create assets that we can share with partners around the world as part of our mission. This is the major takeaway of both our book and the accompanying how-to MOOCs that we have released.
Kachani: In the book, we share effective current applications of online education, and also discuss its future. In the next 10 years, generative artificial intelligence will likely revolutionize how we approach personalized learning at scale. AI can analyze students’ preparation, abilities, needs, and goals, and allow for tailored learning pathways that cater to each learner’s unique requirements. This will enhance engagement and foster an inclusive learning environment, which accommodates diverse learning styles and speeds. AI will also enhance digital accessibility, including text-to-speech, speech-to-text, and image recognition, hence ensuring greater access.
At the same time, augmented reality and virtual reality applications to education will provide effective immersive learning environments, which, coupled with social learning networks, can mitigate some of the ills of AI, such as the loneliness caused by personalization taken to an extreme.
What are you all teaching this semester?
Stepan: I am teaching a class at Columbia SIPA, Digital Case Study Projects, which uses all the pre-recorded video lectures that are in our Digital Case Method edX MOOC. We use a flipped classroom model where students watch the recorded lectures before class, and we use class time for active learning. I also teach this same content in courses at seven other universities across the Open Society University Network, including cohorts in South America, Asia, and Europe. All use the same core collection of 60 short videos as the shared digital textbook, but all also have small, seminar-style instruction with local instructors.
The end result achieves what is sometimes called the holy grail of digital learning—engagement (in small, in-person sessions) with scale (high-quality video lectures and digital cases). This is the model we are also seeing in national MOOC programs in countries like Israel and India, where leading universities invest in creating high-quality shareable content, which is used, adapted, and delivered by local partners. Teaching with these tools is easier for me as an instructor and better for the students. We now have almost 150 students learning in small groups across the different cohorts. With the MOOC, this number will no doubt grow into the thousands. Digital tools allow me to do this, while also managing other projects such as Inside the Situation Room, a course co-taught by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Columbia SIPA Dean Keren Yarhi-Milo.
Eimicke: I teach courses in both the MPA and the EMPA programs at Columbia SIPA, and also run a variety of executive education programs and trainings with groups that include leaders from the New York City Fire Department and the New York City Police Department, financial institutions, and city government.
In all these courses and engagements, we use diverse digital tools: Video and flipped lectures where appropriate; Zoom for remote guests; HyFlex classrooms and livestreams that enable us to reach learners both in the room and remotely. We also make heavy use of our library of Digital Case Studies.
Anything you would like to add?
Eimicke: We had a teaching and learning conference in May 2023 at Columbia SIPA, in which we had a chance to interact with many of those we had interviewed for the book. There were questions and input from remote students connected to the conference via Zoom, including students from a refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya. They participated, and had access to top-level learning, through digital tools. Using such tools is not always easy, but it’s worth it.
Kachani: The future of education has digital technology at the core of operations. This does not mean less in-person instruction. It means better, more focused in-person instruction, and wider sharing of the instruction we offer at Columbia. The first generation of MOOCs were analogous to filming a play and calling it a movie. Online education does not consist of taking old, often outdated forms of instruction and simply moving them online.
We need to go in the opposite direction, by finding the best teaching, then explore how digital technology can Improve it—at scale. Pedagogy has to be our guide, not technology. William, Adam, and I look forward to providing better, more inclusive learning experiences to our students here on campus, engaging our alumni and lifelong learners from around the world, and increasing access to the excellent education.
The eLearning office is very easy to work with! I can easily request and schedule one-on-one sessions and choose the location that is most convenient for me (my office, virtually, or their office). They answer my questions timely and have assisted me with a variety of projects, such as learning to use Canvas, developing online courses, and implementing new software. They are an amazing resource!
Heather A. Bruns, Ph.D.Associate Professor Department of Microbiology
In the background of image recognition software that can ID our friends on social media and wildflowers in our yard are neural networks, a type of artificial intelligence inspired by how own our brains process data. While neural networks sprint through data, their architecture makes it difficult to trace the origin of errors that are obvious to humans -- like confusing a Converse high-top with an ankle boot -- limiting their use in more vital work like health care image analysis or research. A new tool developed at Purdue University makes finding those errors as simple as spotting mountaintops from an airplane.
"In a sense, if a neural network were able to speak, we're showing you what it would be trying to say," said David Gleich, a Purdue professor of computer science in the College of Science who developed the tool, which is featured in a paper published in Nature Machine Intelligence. "The tool we've developed helps you find places where the network is saying, 'Hey, I need more information to do what you've asked.' I would advise people to use this tool on any high-stakes neural network decision scenarios or image prediction task."
Code for the tool is available on GitHub, as are use case demonstrations. Gleich collaborated on the research with Tamal K. Dey, also a Purdue professor of computer science, and Meng Liu, a former Purdue graduate student who earned a doctorate in computer science.
In testing their approach, Gleich's team caught neural networks mistaking the identity of images in databases of everything from chest X-rays and gene sequences to apparel. In one example, a neural network repeatedly mislabeled images of cars from the Imagenette database as cassette players. The reason? The pictures were drawn from online sales listings and included tags for the cars' stereo equipment.
Neural network image recognition systems are essentially algorithms that process data in a way that mimics the weighted firing pattern of neurons as an image is analyzed and identified. A system is trained to its task -- such as identifying an animal, a garment or a tumor -- with a "training set" of images that includes data on each pixel, tagging and other information, and the identity of the image as classified within a particular category. Using the training set, the network learns, or "extracts," the information it needs in order to match the input values with the category. This information, a string of numbers called an embedded vector, is used to calculate the probability that the image belongs to each of the possible categories. Generally speaking, the correct identity of the image is within the category with the highest probability.
But the embedded vectors and probabilities don't correlate to a decision-making process that humans would recognize. Feed in 100,000 numbers representing the known data, and the network produces an embedded vector of 128 numbers that don't correspond to physical features, although they do make it possible for the network to classify the image. In other words, you can't open the hood on the algorithms of a trained system and follow along. Between the input values and the predicted identity of the image is a proverbial "black box" of unrecognizable numbers across multiple layers.
"The problem with neural networks is that we can't see inside the machine to understand how it's making decisions, so how can we know if a neural network is making a characteristic mistake?" Gleich said.
Rather than trying to trace the decision-making path of any single image through the network, Gleich's approach makes it possible to visualize the relationship that the computer sees among all the images in an entire database. Think of it like a bird's-eye view of all the images as the neural network has organized them.
The relationship among the images (like network's prediction of the identity classification of each of the images in the database) is based on the embedded vectors and probabilities the network generates. To boost the resolution of the view and find places where the network can't distinguish between two different classifications, Gleich's team first developed a method of splitting and overlapping the classifications to identify where images have a high probability of belonging to more than one classification.
The team then maps the relationships onto a Reeb graph, a tool taken from the field of topological data analysis. On the graph, each group of images the network thinks are related is represented by a single dot. Dots are color coded by classification. The closer the dots, the more similar the network considers groups to be, and most areas of the graph show clusters of dots in a single color. But groups of images with a high probability of belonging to more than one classification will be represented by two differently colored overlapping dots. With a single glance, areas where the network cannot distinguish between two classifications appear as a cluster of dots in one color, accompanied by a smattering of overlapping dots in a second color. Zooming in on the overlapping dots will show an area of confusion, like the picture of the car that's been labeled both car and cassette player.
"What we're doing is taking these complicated sets of information coming out of the network and giving people an 'in' into how the network sees the data at a macroscopic level," Gleich said. "The Reeb map represents the important things, the big groups and how they relate to each other, and that makes it possible to see the errors."
"Topological Structure of Complex Predictions" was produced with the support of the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.
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