Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Changes to DAS Course Examination Policies

SAA recently made some changes to the DAS course examination policies, and I thought it might be useful to highlight them here.

The exams, and the rules governing them, now differ depending on the length of the course. Until now students were given two hours to complete each exam, regardless of length, and some exams had as few as five questions. Now for a web seminar, which is the shortest type of course, the exam will consist of ten questions, and participants will be given just one hour to complete them. In contrast, the exam for a two-day course - the longest type of course currently offered - will now consist of 30 questions, but participants will have up to four hours to complete them.

This seems like a sensible way to acknowledge the disparate amount of material that can be covered in a 90 minute webinar versus a one- or two-day, in-person course. I wonder if the next step might be to weight these courses differently, given this disparity, or perhaps to offer significantly longer webinars to increase the complexity of remote courses for the benefit of those who are not able, for whatever reason, to travel.

The revised Course Examinations page also provides some details about the comprehensive exam, though I'm not sure whether it's new information. It explains that the comprehensive exam covers the seven Core Competencies of the DAS Curriculum, and that each DAS course addresses at least two of these competencies. Any combination of the required number of courses from the four tiers of study should theoretically provide students with the knowledge necessary to pass the exam. The seven Core Competencies are:
  1. Understand the nature of records in electronic form, including the functions of various storage media, the nature of system dependence, and the effect on integrity of records over time.
  2. Communicate and define requirements, roles, and responsibilities related to digital archives to a variety of partners and audiences.
  3. Formulate strategies and tactics for appraising, describing, managing, organizing, and preserving digital archives.
  4. Integrate technologies, tools, software, and media within existing functions for appraising, capturing, preserving, and providing access to digital collections.
  5. Plan for the integration of new tools or successive generations of emerging technologies, software, and media.
  6. Curate, store, and retrieve original masters and access copies of digital archives.
  7. Provide dependable organization and service to designated communities across networks.
More information about the DAS Curriculum can be found here.

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