More feedback on Digital Credentials

More feedback on Digital Credentials

Ken Rosen (Microsoft)

Okay, I think we’re starting to cover some repetitive ground, so let me see if I can sum up the issues and questions so that we can get to—well if not closure, than at least a caesura.

I think the last few comments have underlying themes to them—at least one of the following is true for most of them:

1) I don’t believe you are truly concerned about the environment and I therefore do not believe your explanations

2) I believe you are concerned about the environment but mistaken about your environmental impact

3) I don’t believe the digital certificates and cards will be respected by hiring managers

So let me address each of these in turn:

1) If you don’t believe me when I say that we are genuinely concerned with improving our environmental impact, then we have a trust issue, and frankly, there’s not much point in pursuing the conversation further. It’s very difficult to prove motive and intent, particularly in a medium devoid of direct interpersonal contact, so I’ll simply say: I hope and trust that over time we will convince you otherwise.

2) If you believe that our paper/plastic solution was more environmentally friendly than our digital solution, I’d love to know—truthfully—how to verify that. Perhaps our operations team has already done this, I don’t know (I’ll ask)—but I do trust them at their word that this is a much cleaner solution. I understand that many of you want proof in the form of hard numbers, but the absence of proof doesn’t mean a statement still isn’t true. :-)

3) About the digital wallet cards--let’s be brutally honest, shall we:

Anything on paper is forgeable. There are any number of Internet sites out there that will produce authentic-looking certificates and wallet cards for you for a fee, without requiring you to prove your certification. If you’re going to argue that paper certificates and plastic cards are somehow more authentic than digital ones—or that they are more difficult to forge—you won’t find me to be a receptive audience, sorry.

Let me go even one step further: I don’t think the digital certificates are any better than the paper ones as far as authenticity goes. I personally have never and would never use my certificates to prove my certifications to a client or employer (I sure am proud of them, though—I have all my certificates going back to 70-001).

Today there is one and only one way to truly prove your certifications to an employer: the transcript sharing tool. The problem with this tool, however, is that it’s fairly obscure and requires you to share an ID and password (which is perfectly safe but feels wrong nonetheless).

In less than two months, however, you’ll be able to use your digital wallet cards in place of the transcript sharing tool. That’s really what the ID digital cards are all about: a nice-looking, easy-to-use-and-understand transparent gateway to the transcript sharing tool. You won’t need to share a user ID and password anymore—employers and clients can simply click on the card to verify your credentials. They’re not forgeable—I’m sure people will try, but they won’t link to our certification database to validate the credentials (they’d be a flat jpg instead).

We will aggressively promote the use of these cards as the best way to verify an MCP’s credentials—both to MCPs and to hiring managers—and I fully expect that they will be the most value-reinforcing benefit in the MCP program.

As for the look and feel of the cards, the examples you’ve seen here feature artwork and avatars—but you can simply use your own photo in place of the artwork if you prefer, and the card should then look considerably more professional than what you use today. As for the certificates—they should look exactly the same.

I realize that many of you are skeptical, and that’s okay—in fact, we’d love to include some of you in our testing and piloting over the next couple of months (let us know if you’re interested). But I’d like to propose that you wait until you see and use the product before you bash it. :-)

Thanks for the feedback—we’re reading each and every comment!

Comments
  • rellufgerg
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    Same, I ve never used my real certificates at an interview. The PDF transcript provides more information and provides a timeline of certification. Personally I couldn t care less about the physical certificates, they always come folded up and ruined anyway. I have my magnetic MCP badge stuck to my computer (perfectly safe) at work and I love it. There was some talk of adding/changing benefits. That s what I want to hear about.
  • rellufgerg
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    "2) If you believe that our paper/plastic solution was more environmentally friendly than our digital solution, I’d love to know—truthfully—how to verify that. Perhaps our operations team has already done this, I don’t know (I’ll ask)—but I do trust them at their word that this is a much cleaner solution. I understand that many of you want proof in the form of hard numbers, but the absence of proof doesn’t mean a statement still isn’t true. " I can t make calculations for you. It is not my job and I don t know details. But you can make calculations quite easily. Of course to be really sure you need deeper study. Just for remind: 1 kg of plastic emits about 6kg of CO2 1kWh (in USA) emits about 0.5kg of CO2. From 1kg of plastic you can make a lot of wallet cards. Anyway carbon footprint of all MCPs "benefits" is nothing compared to pollution done by your cars. Think about scale. For each (US-) gallon of gasoline fuel consumed, 8.7 kg carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted. ( http://timeforchange.org/what-is-a-carbon-footprint-definition ) When you start your Excel to do homework think about another computation: "How much MS income is generated thanks to/per one happy MCP".
  • rellufgerg
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    Ok, small problem... What about all the Charter people - the ones who put heaps of time in working with beta and RC product, studying material (or lack of) on products that are new... these people (like me) sit the beta exams and achieve Charter certifications. I notice on the new digital certificate site that this is totally unrecognised. Any explanation, or did this one just slip through the corporatisation process. ps: doesn t the exam cost cover the cost of posting these certificates? Perhaps not shipping international certificates via DHL might help! LOL
  • rellufgerg
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    So I have to ask...what is 70-001?
  • rellufgerg
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    Hello, Well, I give up. I must start to accept the fact that these benefits will be removed and replaced by the digital versions. Whatever I agree or not. I was thinking that, maybe, keeping the two methods would show the "adding" in MCP program. For example, I heard that MCT now has access to Subscriptions. This is a great adding. Nothing was removed; just added. It s made me really sad, since it will be hard to explain to others this new behavior of MCP program. Indeed, who am I and my opinion, in front of this nonrollback decision. We re blaming about a decision that s already taken. At least, heard the other problems, such as the Charter.
  • rellufgerg
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    I use the transcript sharing tool rather than certs or the cards.. I dont think anyone has ever asked for them but they have checked out the exam timeline with the sharing tool. Maybe its different in the states then here in Europe? The idea of a digital card is nice and wouldnt mind checking out the pilot for that. Is it possible to offer the old kit at a cost(I thought i remembered reading that) but I could have been mistaken
  • rellufgerg
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    You could also look at a partnership with Kinkos (at least in the US) for printing the certificates?
  • rellufgerg
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    Hi Ken, I would be interested in testing and piloting these with you guys.
  • rellufgerg
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    So i had a look at the digital certs. i went to print them out but there is a massive white border around them. any one know how to get rid of this? They look crap with it on. otherwise i think its a realy good idea!! hoops
  • rellufgerg
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    Ken please recognize that negative feedback is just as much of the feedback process as positive feedback. Just because it doesnt agree with the way that you view these digital assets, does not mean that people are here to "bash it". My personal feedback, for example was very literal. If we are investing ina digitial wallet card, it cannot look cheesy (as it would if you used one of the graphics posted in a blog post a few days ago). But id like to propose that you worry less about defending the moves and more about saying hey-yeah, i can see that concern, here is how we are addressing it. Concerned about it being cheesy, rather than being defensive, explaining why other peoples point of view is "wrong", and telling people not to "bash it", maybe a better approach here is to say "we definitely dont want that to be the case, in fact to make sure people can personalize the card, we will have several designs available which range from a highly professional corporate design to something where icons similar to earlier threads can be added".
  • rellufgerg
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    Hey Ken, I m interested in helping to test out the new digital wallet cards and certificates! - Dave P.
  • rellufgerg
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    Wayne, my "bash it" comment wasn t aimed at you (or, for that matter, at anyone in particular). :-) This post was really about trying take the feedback we ve received and pull out some themes that I felt were underlying them, and so my responses here are generic. I love constructive feedback, and my intention here is to clarify, not defend (I just re-read the post and don t think I came across as defensive, but I realize that it can be tough to judge tone and intent in on-line communications). If I appeared in any way unreceptive to your (collective) feedback (with the exception of the paper-is-more-authentic-than-bits argument), I certainly apologize as it was not my intent. My "bash it" comment was intended to convey "let s wait until we see the cards before jumping to conclusions about how professional they ll look and useful they ll be."
  • rellufgerg
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    Warwick James has a valid question, and it echoes a concern of mine. I have a number of Charter certifications and like the fact that the certificates look different than a regular certificate. But I ve also noticed that on the digital versions of my charter certificates they look identical to my non-charter certificates. Is this going to be addressed in some fashion or are charter certificates gone too?
  • rellufgerg
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    For those of you asking about the chater certificates: we only print a limited number of those, and when they re gone they re gone. If you tried to re-order a charter certificate last month, you wouldn t have been able to either--you d just get a "regular" certificate. The digital certs work the same way. (We actually don t even keep a record of charter memmbers--there s no way to my knowledge that we could verify a claim. It s just the first 500 (or whatever the number is for a given credential) certificates awarded shipped)
  • rellufgerg
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    Oh, and for those of you asking about the white border, we re investigating.
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