The certification platform in Projecta is designed to provide an easy path for projects to be able to issue certification certificates. The system allows a project to approve one or more certification providers. These providers can then set up training centers and course conveners. Course conveners prepare a course and then attendees are assigned to that course. Once the course is completed, certificates get issued by the course convener in digital form. There is the opportunity to charge a fee for each certificate issued. This mechanism can be used to support the parent project.
The following diagram provides a generalised overview of the certification process from the point of view of a certifying organisation.
You may be wondering about our approach to certification. We looked at a number of approaches where we could provide a more rigorous and systematic way of certifying software users. These approaches can be split in two general approaches:
Neither of these systems is really suitable for our needs so we have opted for a third choice: In this approach we create a "web of trust". In this approach we trust the organisations that provide training to properly issue certificates for their course attendees. We spend our time verifying the certifying organisation and then trust them to 'do the right thing' after that.
Setting up the certification programme for your project starts with the creation of one or more certification managers in your project. Certification managers are moderators for the certification programme in your project. Only a project administrator can update the list of certification managers. The project owner and certification managers can then manage which users can approve and manage the list of certifying organisations. Whenever a new certifying organisation is registered, the project certification managers will receive a notification by email that there is a new organisation ready for review and approval. You can manage the list of certication managers for a project by clicking on the project edit button and then scrolling down until you find the certification managers list. Add and remove members from the list as needed and then save your project.
To register a new certifying organisation, go to a project page and open the Certification menu. Click on Organisations and then click on the asterisk icon next to the page heading for Certifying Organisations.
On the registration page you can fill in all the key details about your organisation including its, address (physical and online), contact person email, logo and so on. It is important to include a logo if you have one as that will be used on the certificates issued by the system. We recommend that you use a logo with a square aspect ratio for this.
The approval process is largely a norm established in your project. One approach that can be taken is to approve 'known' organisations associated with the project based on your knowledge of the organisation's skills and competencies. For organisations that are not known to the project, a more rigorous process can be followed whereby moderators review the applicant certifying organisation's web site, ask to review their training course curricula, the training materials used by the organisation, or possibly even sit in on a training course conducted by the applicant to verify that they "know their stuff". Once the organisation has passed approval, the organisation owner and mangers will be able to proceed with setting up courses, conveners and so on using the management interface provided on projecta.
Once the organisation is approved, you will receive a confirmation email and the organisation can be managed from the project certication menu. Your new project will look something like this:
The top of your organisation page gives a quick dashboard overview of your organisation, credits, training centers and attendees. The map will be zoomed in to the region where your organisation operates. There are then four main things that can be managed:
Typically you will first create Training Centers, Course conveners, Course types and then create courses.
A training center is a venue where you regularly conduct courses. Each organisation may have one or more training centers. If you are doing onsite or 'roaming' training, I suggest to either make a training center per location where you offer training, or create a single location (e.g. at your offices) that you can use as a proxy for other venues.
In the future we will provide a map with pins showing where upcoming training courses will be provided for all Certification organisations.
A course convener is either the trainer or the person responsible for the course. The certificate will be issued with the name of the course convener on it. Be sure to upload a digital signature for each course convener if you do not want to manually print and sign the certificates.
Course types describe the different content offering you offer. You can include how many hours of instruction that are included in the course. If you do this, this information will be included on the certificate when it is generated. Probably you will define your course types around topics (e.g. working with databases) or around skill leve (beginner, intermediate etc.).
A course is run at a training center by a course convener for a particular course. When creating a course, you can add attendees to the course. Attendees do not need to register on the Projecta web platform.
You can create your own custom templates for the certificates that you issue. In this workflow we use the Gimp to open one of the generated certificate PDF's from your course.
Next decorate around the pre-planned text from the certificate. We don't have a templating language so you cannot move the pre-defined elements currently.
Once your template is prepared, you hide again the original certificate layer and export your gimp document as a PNG image.
Now upload the image to the course edit page and test your template by adding one course participant and using the ‘Print Certificate’ icon to preview it.
Note that the template you upload should be formatted to A4, not US Letter.