This Spring, OIT celebrates another significant milestone with our Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification program. We are pleased to announce the 5,000 certification holder—Amanda Maruster. Amanda is a sophomore majoring in Accounting with a minor in Statistics and Psychology. She completed both her Excel Associate and Excel Expert Certification alongside 310 students assigned one or more exams for ITOM 2308.
To celebrate this milestone, we had the opportunity to award Amanda a study prize pack and to remind the student body that they can continue certifying in additional Office applications free of charge.
Amanda shared, “I think that earning the certification has helped me a lot as it is a practical and valuable tool that can be used not only in a college setting but also in the professional work world. It is particularly relevant to my major, accounting, for Excel is used daily in this field. Knowledge of the functions and shortcuts of Excel will help me perform my future job more efficiently and productively. “
As we celebrate this milestone, it has also allowed us to assess our processes and adjust due to unexpected rapid growth. “Our entire team had to invent and reinvent systems to meet the demand. When the program started, I hoped we would use most of the 500 exams we purchased“, stated Rachel Mulry, Associate CIO for Planning and Customer Service. “I didn’t envision that we would issue 5,000 certifications so quickly.”
The Information Technology Operations Management (ITOM) class was the first to require certifications. What started as two class sections and recording grades manually on an Excel spreadsheet evolved into a collaboration with Lane Duncan, Assistant Director of the Data Applications team. Lane worked with the training team to streamline reporting methods to automate reports using SharePoint and ETL processes to ingest Certiport test scores for over a dozen faculty to view in SharePoint at any given time.
After the success of administering grades through SharePoint, the team later decided to implement the same process to ingest GMetrix practice exam scores since students had to meet a minimum practice test score to be allowed to take their certification exam. Valeska Fahey, Program Coordinator, shared, “The hours this has saved us, as well as minimizing manual errors, are priceless!”
Many students continue to earn multiple certifications outside of class requirements and have expressed the value of becoming more knowledgeable in the Microsoft Office applications, which has helped them gain more confidence as they pursue internships and permanent positions.
Are you interested in getting Certified?
The Microsoft Office Specialist program is free to all faculty, staff, and students. You can learn about this program at smu.edu/certified
Faculty members interested in piloting other certifications in the classroom, such as the IT Specialist exams, please contact email@example.com. Watch Getting Certified at SMU to see how we support the student/faculty certification experience.