After Hours

Certification journal launches MCP Radio

Earlier this month, MCP Magazine launched MCP Radio. When Erik Eckel checked it out, he found some of the programs to be interesting--but he sees room for improvement. Get the details and find out how you can contribute suggestions for MCP Radio content.


Advertised as giving the IT world a voice, MCP Radio collects interviews that feature IT professionals discussing a variety of issues. Many of the interviews, all of which are audio recordings, reinforce the importance many companies place on hiring MCPs. Other "shows" describe the successes that individuals have experienced switching to IT careers.

What you won't find, at least right now, are mini training sessions providing instruction you can use to earn accreditation and inside information on certification program news. I hope the producer, MCP Magazine, will add such content to its MCP Radio site in the future.

Right now, the focus is really on how companies can use Microsoft technologies to meet organizational goals, how hiring MCPs benefits an IT department, and how others have enjoyed success by earning Microsoft certification. One of the 12 shows posted on the MCP Radio site does explore changes that are occurring in technology training, but that's as close as you'll get to finding information related to earning certification.

Keep in mind that MCP Radio is not a traditional radio station that you tune in to on the AM or FM dial. Rather, it is a collection of audio Web casts, each lasting anywhere from a few minutes to six minutes and longer. You can play them back using Windows Media Player 6.0 or newer.

Help shape it
MCP Radio is accepting topic suggestions, so I recommend that you send in your ideas. Although you may not find how-to information on MCP Radio yet, you may be able to use MCP Radio as a career resource that can answer your questions about Microsoft's certification program.

Weekly news and product updates are planned as well, although I'm not sure how well those will work. I can often glean all the information I need about a new product or certification announcement from a traditional news release on a Web site in the time it takes to open, buffer, and cue up an MCP Radio bulletin.

Adding dynamic content to the Web is difficult. Integrating multimedia content is easier said than done, since employing rich content brings production, delivery, and other challenges.

Ultimately, the question comes down to what can be offered using multimedia that can't be offered using just written text and images. News and product updates don't appear to be the best fit. Walking certification candidates through an unattended server installation, demonstrating the manner in which permissions are applied to groups, and showing how settings must be configured on an Exchange server to tighten security all make excellent fodder for online Web casts. The only catch is that you really need to have video snippets showing screen shots and onscreen menu selections. A few providers have incorporated dynamic content into training materials, most notably Microsoft, with its Web- and TechNet-based seminars, Transcender, with its TransTrainer products, and LearnKey, with its video training programs.

Eckel's take
MCP Magazine deserves some credit for climbing out on a limb to develop the audio shows it's making available as part of its new MCP Radio effort. The radio programs do provide interesting information. I just don't know how helpful that information will be to the magazine's core audience, which is likely seeking tips and resources to help secure new certifications. I fear that until compelling content is added, the publisher will find it difficult to generate significant traffic with the new feature.

What do you think about MCP Radio?
What type of dynamic content are you seeking to assist you as you prepare for IT certification? Do you enjoy listening to certification and product announcements online, or would you rather find multimedia training shows? Post your comments and suggestions below.

 

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