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The expanding use of Internet communication affects almost every company and organization operating today. A growing need exists in the marketplace for trained individuals who can serve as primary contacts and staff members responsible for Web communication. These individuals need a large variety of skill sets and information to do this job effectively.
Experience in the field and research by the World Organization of Webmasters states that successful Web communication requires a single person or team to serve as focal points and organizational players between previously unrelated work functions. Aptly named Webmasters, this job title is so new that many organizations don't yet realize its need and importance. But these newly hired or named individuals with very little training receive responsibilities that include:
*Dealing with creation of Web content materials, which are usually collected and supplied by other departments and managers and may involve a number of development vendors and media types.
*Keeping the communication messages effective and directing the overall project dynamically in the evolving Web medium.
*Working with the technology resources inside and outside an organization to support the Web activity.
The World Organization of Webmasters in partnership with Merrimack College has developed a training curriculum that reflects these marketplace needs. Together they have determined the skill sets necessary to do this job effectively and produced a deliverable amount of training materials requiring a reasonable commitment of student time and resources.
The Certified Professional Webmaster training materials and examination are the primary level of training and certification for the World Organization of Webmasters training and certification initiative. It is designed to introduce and explain the large number of skill sets necessary to effectively complete the responsibilities of a Webmaster in the field. Additionally, a number of skill sets including content development with HTML, graphics manipulation, and limited server administration and project direction skills are expanded comprehensively to meet immediate employment functionality required in the marketplace.
The goal of the training curriculum is to produce trained practitioners of Web communication upon completion. Individuals who complete this training successfully will be able to build and maintain static Web sites with limited database-enabled and interactive functionality. They will have a working knowledge of server administration, multi-media technologies, and security issues and be able to interface with IT and content development professionals on these topics. They will understand the basics of Web marketing and effective communication and how to manage the creation and construction of Web sites. They will also be able to manage teams of professionals responsible for Web communication and have a firm understanding of the additional technologies involved with more advanced utilization of Web communication technology.
This training program and materials include ten modules and cover three subject areas. It is designed to include approximately 180 hours of contact time in instructor-led environments with approximately 30-60 hours of additional project development and study time expected.
The first subject area involves Web Content Development, which primarily deals with visual information presentation and delivery skills. This subject area is a primary responsibility for many Webmasters in the field and therefore comprises 60% of the complete program.
These modules include:
* Webmaster Fundamentals - A general introduction to client-server computing, Web technology, Internet history, and terminology. A primer on FTP utilization and an introduction to Hyper Text Mark-up Language is also presented.
* Introduction to Web Content Development - Teaches the construction of Web pages using HTML using text editors. Basic UNIX commands are also included.
* Advanced Web Content Development - Continues with the teaching of HTML through its latest version and introduces the use of server scripting for CGI applications.
* Photoshop Primer - This module introduces the use of the Adobe PhotoshopTM application for use in Web graphics development and manipulation.
* Web Graphics - Using Adobe PhotoshopTM, this module teaches the creation and utilization of Web graphics to a comprehensive level useful in the field.
* Web Multimedia - The wide variety of audio, video, and animation in use and under development for the Web are introduced and explained.
The second content area involves Technical Skills. While the objective is not to train students on all the technology used in Web communication, it is designed to provide a working knowledge of Web server options on a variety of operating systems and security issues involved with Web communication. The technical modules are designed to train Webmasters to do their jobs effectively by interfacing with other technology professionals . The two modules make up 20% of the program and include:
* Web Server Administration - Where students are trained in using a UNIX operating system and APACHE Web server and are introduced to a number of vendor-specific operating systems and Web server options.
* Web Security - Details the security issues and solutions involved with Web communication including networks, servers, e-mail, content, and transaction security.
The third content area involves Web Business Management skills. Again, these modules are not geared to producing experts but instead to introduce, explain, and demonstrate a number of important topics in the fields of marketing communication and provide specific Web project management skills that students will utilize in the marketplace. Modules include the remaining 20% of the program offerings:
* Web Project Management - Explains the project life cycle and the myriad of factors involved with creating, building, and maintaining Web sites while considering time frame and budget requirements. Extensive case studies are examined and student projects are developed.
* Wen Marketing and Communication - Where students learn a number of direct and relationship marketing concepts used on the Web and how to target, develop, and deliver successful Web communication, marketing, and e-commerce programs. Web promotion and legal issues are also discussed.
These modules were developed by faculty instructors in the Merrimack College Webmaster Certification Program. The program is in its third year of delivery of Webmaster training and was one of the first programs in the US to develop and deliver comprehensive training in this field. Operated as a non-credit professional training program, the Merrimack College Webmaster Certification Program is operated by the Merrimack College Division of Continuing and Professional Education on its North Andover, Massachusetts campus.
Merrimack College was chosen by the World Organization of Webmasters to provide the content for this training curriculum based on its experience and appropriate extension school model. After working closely with WOW on Webmaster skill set determination and high-tech marketplace involvement, Merrimack College has expanded its training program to reflect the needs of WOW and the growing marketplace. The program is offered as a comprehensive solution for educational institutions, training facilities, students, and employers interested in educating, training, becoming, and hiring Webmasters.