April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
27 Jul 2016

Creating an Online Self-directed Course

OnlineLearningWhen we announce that a new course is being created for our continuing education program, we state “coming soon” because we aren’t exactly sure of the release date.  Members have asked what the process is (why it takes so long) to develop a course and make it available. Simply put, they wonder why we can’t give a specific date.

There are many steps, and people, involved when developing an online, self-directed course and exams.

We thought you might be interested in learning the steps taken to ensure quality material, as well as ensuring that it is a smooth process when you take a course in the continuing education program:

  1. A person who has experience and credentials in the subject area is chosen to write the content.
  2. A conversation assures that they have the time to devote to this project and can meet the deadline. Other topics discussed are 1)  the educational goal of the course, 2) the desired length of the course, and 3) general topics to cover.
  3. Once the course and the exam questions are written, a minimum of two copy editors and/or education professionals review, edit, and proofread the content.
  4. Any suggested content changes are submitted to the creator of the course to ensure that the edits do not alter the intent of the subject matter.
  5. Upon approval of the edits, the course is returned to the NICA office for one last proofreading.
  6. The course content, questions, and answers are entered into the online software.
  7. The NICA webmaster is notified that the course it ready to be integrated into the website, and our work order is placed into their queue. They integrate the courseware into the website by connecting the links and completing the other technical steps required for the online purchasing and testing to work seamlessly.
  8. When notified that this is completed, the final step is for the webmaster and a member of the NICA staff to take the course and exam. This is to help ensure there are no glitches when the course is released.

As you can see, there are a lot of steps and time involved when developing a course and making it available for easy, online access. This process is to verify that members and non-members alike will have an issue-free experience when you take the courses of your choice. Though this is a long process, with many details to be addressed, we have chosen to take every step possible to ensure a smooth experience for our members and others interested in taking the courses.

01 Jun 2016

Customer Service & Education Survey Results

Time for FeedbackWe thank all who responded to the short, 3-question survey. The results are tabulated, and we are happy to provide the feedback we received. Following are the questions and the answers you provided.

Are you a member of NICA?
71% of respondents stated they are members and 29% are not members of NICA. We appreciate that even those who have not chosen to join the association and seek certification are showing an interest in the industry.

If you contacted NICA via phone or email, how was your issue handled?
Customer satisfaction is extremely important to us, as we seek to serve the industry with quality and friendly service. Those who have contacted our office either by phone or email gave a 100% approval rating! We are proud of this, and will continue to strive to keep this as the normal way to do business.

Please describe the courses and certification exam.
The majority agree that the online, self-directed courses and the certification exam are neither too difficult nor too easy. One respondent felt it was too easy.

We were pleased to learn that you are happy with the “good mix of topics.” An area we need to address is offering more topics, as 29% indicated this need. Our goal is to introduce at least 2 new course per year, and the Project Management course will certainly cover a new learning opportunity.

Some of the course requests are:

  • Basic bookkeeping and accounting specific to the home inventory industry
  • Loss inventories
  • What you need to know and how to get started
  • Collections inventories

We will most likely include this question in an upcoming survey so we can learn the preferred topics by the majority of our certified an non-certified industry professionals.

One of these suggested courses (Collections Inventories) has already been pitched to an industry professional. We will take the other suggestions under advisement as we begin our planning for the final quarter of 2016 and first half of 2017.