Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Technical Training Available

For those of us IT staff who desire additional technical training, but are often denied the funding, the CSU may have a solution. There is a license agreement now in place for system-wide technical self-study training program called "SkillChoice 2010".

The training is all self-study, via the web. The website is http://thesource.calstate.edu and the cost is $154 per user for a 12 month period, starting July 1st, 2010.

The training brochure promises several thousand hours of classes, 1700+ online courses, and thousands of on-line books, including 8600 fully searchable online books from Apress, Microsoft Press, MIT Press, McGraw-Hill and Jown Wiley and Sons. In addition, a Learning Management System tracks your progress through each course. (This also allows your manager to audit your progress.)

I have no idea what these courses will be like, or how in-depth they might be. My department here at CSUSB was kind enough to offer to pay for any of our staff who wished to participate, so I'll know more in a few weeks.

The Chancellor's Office of Professional Development also maintains an e-mail list for additional information, as well as a full support staff. I called them today to verify that the courses would work on a Mac (The website only says "On your Windows system") and the friendly person I spoke with told me that she uses the courses on her own Mac at home.

While it is much too early to provide any feedback about these courses, I wanted to share this information with you as soon as I received it. Hopefully, you will be able to request and obtain the funding to participate. It also appears that you can pay, individually, using a private credit card, as long as you are a CSU employee.

I have taken several similar self-study training courses in the past, and always discovered that I learned something useful from each of them. But you do have to be disciplined, and take each course seriously. My advice is that you treat each course like it was a daily or weekly college-level class, spending time every day on the reading and assignments. Trust me, if you wait and say "I'll start the next course in a week", 11 months will vanish before you know it.

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