To help students, faculty, and staff remain at the forefront of the digital age, Penn State has recently upgraded a license agreement with online training provider lynda.com — enhancing the University-wide contract which already provided free access to thousands of video tutorials on hundreds of technology topics. The expanded service, called lyndaCampus, enables individuals to earn professional course completion certificates; track progress with personal profiles; and bookmark courses, movies, and locations for today’s evolving career needs.
Lynda.com ‘s vast online training library holds more than 550 video-based courses taught by industry professionals on topics ranging from digital photography and web design to dynamic media, 3D animation, word processing and more. The training contract first became available to Penn State students, faculty, and staff through a license purchased in 2009, but the initial agreement was not able to offer course completion certificates until recently.
According to Chris Lucas, director of Penn State ITS Training Services, the enhancements make an already beneficial service even stronger. “With personal profiles,” Lucas says, “people will be able to keep track of all their lynda.com training activity, which adds a huge convenience factor.”
Individuals will not only have records of the courses they have completed, but they will also have the ability to track their progress and activity within a course. This will reduce the amount of time customers spend maintaining their own records of lynda.com activity, offering specific benefits to faculty, students, and staff respectively.
“For example, faculty who want to ensure that students have completed certain courses can now have students e-mail or print their certificates of completion,” explains Cole Camplese, senior director of ITS Teaching and Learning with Technology. “This will help instructors level the playing field by giving students with less experience a convenient way to learn technologies that can help them with course and project work.”
Simultaneously, students can take advantage of certificates of completion in a variety of ways to help with their future careers. “Employers are looking for tangible representation of technology skills these days,” Camplese adds. ” Lynda.com tutorials are widely known in the corporate world as among the highest-quality modules out there.”
Samantha Pearson, who graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in English this past December, says she can relate to this. “Working with Career Services these past couple of months, I’m learning it’s all about certificates,” she says. Companies want to see proof that you have technology skills, and the lynda.com tutorials are great for that.”
Since implementation of the Penn State lynda.com license agreement in fall 2009, students have had free access to the video tutorials to help with project and academic course work. Now, in addition to documenting lynda.com courses on resumes and in e-portfolios, students can use certificates as proof of course completion when applying and interviewing for internships and positions at Penn State and beyond.
Similar benefits hold true for staff, who can incorporate lynda.com tutorials and certificates of completion into their professional development plans. According to Lucas, new transcript features available through lyndaCampus will allow staff members to maintain centralized records of their lynda.com training activity as they progress through their careers at Penn State.
“We are always looking for new and cost-effective ways for our staff to broaden their skills or learn new ones,” says Susan Morse, human resources manager for ITS. “This is especially relevant in the current economic times. Lynda.com will be an excellent source of training that is easily accessible, can fit a variety of schedules and time frames, and can provide the right training at the right time in an employee’s career,” she adds.
In the increasingly ubiquitous and always changing world of technology, lynda.com tutorials have become a very important resource for the University community to learn new technology skills. Lucas believes a critical part of the ITS Training Services mission is to provide and ensure access to learning opportunities that keep the technology skills of Penn State’s workforce current for optimum productivity.
“Lynda.com gives students, faculty, and staff a convenient way to get up to speed with new features of the applications that are critical to their roles here at no cost to their units, departments, colleges, or to them personally,” he summarizes. “This significantly enhances the value and support of teaching, learning, and professional development activities here at Penn State.”
To learn more, and for a list of the new lyndaCampus features and their related videos go to http://lynda.psu.edu/ .