Klassen at CERTIFIED

IT Training Represents SMU at CERTIFIED Conference

Laurene Klassen, Manager of IT Training and Communication, recently returned from the CERTIFIED conference in Orlando, Florida where she was invited to share SMU’s certification success story “From Zero to 500—MOS 101 for Jump-starting and Marketing Your Certification Program” with approximately two hundred educators from all over the United States.

CERTIFIED is a three day long Certiport educator conference that brings teachers, administrators, and industry experts together to explore how technology certifications can improve the student education experience. Laurene attended the conference once before and was invited back this year to share her success administering Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certifications here at SMU.

Her presentation was a case study highlighting the Training Department’s success in implementing the MOS program, having administered over 900 certification exams in just a two year period. She spoke mainly on marketing strategies for technology certifications and how to successfully promote in schools. Laurene emphasized the importance of using metrics to track success, as well as using those metrics to apply for additional program funding.


Her audience was composed of middle school, high school, and higher education teachers, as well as program administrators; relating to educators with all different needs was no easy task. Laurene knows the importance of providing certification exams to students starting from a younger age.

One workshop she attended was Certiport’s Student Competitions. The competition tests students aging from 13 to 21 on their knowledge of Adobe and Microsoft Office Products. Participants of the competition have an opportunity to win scholarship awards ranging from $1,500 – $7,000.


During the conference, Laurene met Ali Khan, a triple major alumni from Purdue University. Ali first became Certified in Microsoft Office in High School, when his teacher encouraged him to compete in the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championships.  Ali attributed his certifications to helping him land his summer internship and full-time position at Amazon, as well as aiding in his academic success. “I would love to see our students be part of the national competitions…” shared Laurene.  “This year Texas swept the Adobe Certified Associate Certifications and it would be great to see SMU represented as well. Students who compete stand out among their peers and it is not uncommon to hear how certifications opened up employment opportunities.”

Laurene was also able to attend presentations on Adobe product certifications, something the training team is hopefully looking to expand to as a pilot program sometime next spring.

For more information on Microsoft Office Certifications and how to become certified, visit the Microsoft Office Specialist Certification page.  For information on how to compete in the Microsoft Office Specialist National or World Championships, email Laurene Klassen (may only be 21 years or younger to compete).

Photos © 2019 Certiport. Used with permission.

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