Penn State launches free Microsoft IT Academy for eLearning, certification

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State has recently teamed up with Microsoft IT Academy to provide free eLearning courses to all University faculty, staff and students. The new online training service also enables faculty and staff across the University to obtain free vouchers to test for Microsoft certification.

“In a time when professional development budgets are a very real concern for many groups across the University, this resource — which allows faculty and staff to take online courses and test for widely-recognized Microsoft certification for free — is extremely valuable,” said Chris Lucas, director of ITS Training Services.

ITS Training Services has a strong history of providing the Penn State community with online technology learning opportunities. The unit offers hundreds of training workshops each year, many of which are hosted online via Meeting@PennState powered by Adobe Connect. Many class recordings and video tutorials on Penn State tools can be accessed directly from the ITS Training Services website for users who are unable to attend sessions live online. Four years ago, Training Services led the University in negotiating a contract with www.lynda.com, an online video tutorial service that features thousands of free video tutorials on hundreds of software topics for students, faculty and staff.

Microsoft IT Academy is the latest partnership initiative in Training Services' online learning collection, and enables interested Penn State faculty and staff to request exam vouchers to test for Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA), Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification or Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) certification. Each of these certifications verifies proficiency in Microsoft’s widely used and valued software.

Additionally, the eLearning component of Microsoft IT Academy will provide users with free, 24/7 access to more than 1,800 Microsoft courses on Office, Windows, SharePoint, SQL Server and many more topics. These courses support teaching and learning, professional development, and highly specialized skill building in technical topics for information technology professionals. While lynda.com continues to provide the University with top quality just-in-time training, Microsoft IT Academy now enables community members to dig deeper into the topics that interest them by taking advantage of these in-depth online course offerings.

According to Lucas, the numerous ways Microsoft IT Academy topics can be used at Penn State are as diverse and plentiful as the courses themselves. "Staff members will be able to participate in high quality professional development from one of the world’s largest software companies from the comfort of their own desks," he explains. "In addition, IT professionals will be able to complete specialized online courses on highly technical skills for configuring, deploying and administering Microsoft software — and faculty and instructors can complete courses that look at how technology and pedagogy mix and investigate strategies for implementing information and communication technologies in the classroom."

With Microsoft IT Academy, each of these scenarios is only a few clicks away. Users can search the Learning Catalog for courses and topics applicable to them and customize their own My Learning pages with the resources that they find to be the most helpful.

To get started with Microsoft eLearning or find out more about certification, users should visit the Microsoft IT Academy at Penn State homepage at http://msitacademy.psu.edu/. From this homepage, Penn State faculty, staff and students can log into view eLearning courses using their Penn State Access Account IDs and Passwords, request certification vouchers or learn more about the service. When logging in for the first time, users should be sure to read the instructions, found by clicking "these instructions" on the homepage, for important first-time log in information.

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Last Updated October 09, 2013