Re: Writing MOUS and MCSE materials

Subject: Re: Writing MOUS and MCSE materials
From: Caryl Bahner-Guhin <Caryl_Bahner-Guhin -at- ZD -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 14:59:10 -0800

>Luisa Lago wrote

>Has anyone had experience writing course materials/documentation for the
Microsoft Office >User Specialist (MOUS) or MSCE exams? I've checked the
Microsoft site among others, but I >can't seem to find the definitive
answer about requirements for certification, or a selection of >sample
tests. In fact, some of the exams don't even exist yet, though there seem
to be a lot of >training centres and books out there that claim to be
"Microsoft certified". Any ideas?

Hi Luisa,

I write for a company that produces ILT (instructor-led training)
courseware for both the MOUS and MCSE exams. The process for determining
the certification requirements for the two programs (MOUS and MCSE) are
quite different. Microsoft does not develop its own courseware for end-user
training, so they allow you to submit courseware that is designed to
prepare students for the MOUS exams and then they evaluate the courseware
for content and quality. If you cover the MOUS objectives you get the MS
seal of approval and can put a special logo on the cover of your courseware
stating that it is Microsoft approved (after you pay MS a chunk of change
for the privilege- surprise, surprise). There is a formal program in place
for this and through the program you can get a look at the test objectives
for this end-user certification program. You can probably find out more
through MSEducation.

Microsoft produces its own courseware for the MCSE track. All ATECs are
required to use this official MS courseware for any public class they
offer. Microsoft keeps tight control over who can offer ILT using the
courseware they produce and even though they write the courseware and
control the test content for the MCSE track, their courseware only covers
about 75/85 percent of what's actually on the test- hence the need for the
study guides. I am currently pursuing my MCSE certification and am taking
classes at an ATEC so I am experiencing this whole process first-hand! To
figure out what the test objectives will be for the next rendition of the
MCSE track I'd suggest a dart board <g>. A serious option is to get a hold
of the Microsoft official courseware and take a look at it. Take a course
at an ATEC; many ATECs offer sample tests as a part of the course package
since most students take the courses to take the test. Sample tests are
available from a number of vendors such as TestPrep and Transender but the
sample tests are not inexpensive. IMHO, the most important thing is to be
sure you write courseware that teaches the students what they need to know
to accomplish their jobs. Microsoft's MCSE tests will always include
questions that are not covered in anyone's courseware; that's what a good
instructor brings to the class. Finally, talk to people who have taken the
tests and, if you can, the folks that teach this stuff; they really do have
the inside track on what's needed. (back to lurking)

Caryl Bahner-Guhin
Ziff-Davis Education
Caryl_Bahner-Guhin -at- zd -dot- com
I don't presume to speak for Ziff-Davis Education and they don't speak for

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