[Bf-education] Organizing / suporting education

Laurent David laurent at tdm.info
Sat Dec 17 01:41:14 CET 2011

Hi all,

I think the section about the certification resonates a conversation 
that we had about 8 months ago.
I am really delighted to see that it is back on the table.

I am working for a company called TDM in UK (www.tdm.info).
Our current position is the following:
     . We are an Open Source software house, mainly focussing on LMSs 
(Moodle, Mahara, Totara). So mainly educational/distance learning tools.
     . We are also an IT professional academy, delivering 
Apprenticeships centred around Professional IT qualifications.
     . We are the LPI Master Affiliate for UK and Ireland
Thanks to this particular position, we have actually gained an 
interesting background in Professional Certifications around Open Source 

In a nutshell, and after discussion, we would think that we should be 
creating an entity that will:
     . Create and proctor certified exams
     . Promote the use of Blender and 3D Open Source technologies
     . Push for its adoption in education by tying it to national 
certification frameworks (eg QCF, Ofqual) in UK and other countries.
     . Helping to setup more "local"/"regional" certification bodies - 
in Europe and rest of the world

This is an existing model that works quite well for some Open Source 
projects/technologies and allows to channel funding into promoting the 
certification and also have a more consistent approach.

My main worries concerning an all-volunteer based approach ( but I might 
be wrong, and there should be a mid-way) are that:

    * The provision might be inconsistent and this is key to the
      success/failure of a certification
    * Exams have to be carefully thought/built/updated. Who will do it
      on a regular basis ?
    * Exams, unless practical exams, as cannot be Open Sourced as they
      will loose their "meaningfulness".
          o There should be several levels:
                + Level 1: Multiple choice questions
                + Level 2+: mix between practical and Multiple choice

    * Certification needs marketing. Who will do that ?
    * The certification should be comparable to other types of
      certifications in the same domain. If we want the backing from
      Educational institutions, we will need to go through the hoops. It
      takes time and it is better when it is coming from one single
      entity than several individuals.

I do not want to come across as diminishing the importance of voluntary 
work here. I acknowledge that impressive and extremely high standard 
work has been done by hard working, committed and dedicated people on a 
volunteer basis. But... planning, funding and resourcing is a major part 
of tackling the problem of consistency and availability.
My previous attempt, suffered from the issues I just mentioned as 
although this was still pretty much in my mind, I did not find the time 
necessary to produce anything meaningful.

I will be happy to dedicate a bit of time in developing that on behalf 
of TDM.

What do you think ?

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