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The Monthly Newsletter for Web Professionals
                                       Volume 7 Issue 06 - June 2005

Featured Article
World Organization of Webmasters seeks national Web education standard
Committee will study program that will allow students to carry credits with them

By Mike Sturman

The non-profit professional association World Organization of Webmasters is stepping up its emphasis on
education by spearheading the creation of a national standard for Web professional education and training.

WOW,, which has published skill standards and has offered courses
leading to industry certification for Web professionals since its
inception in 1997, has formed a committee made up of business
people, educators and Web professionals to develop a model
curricula program that will allow students from high schools,
community colleges and universities to move from one institution and take their credits with them.

“For the United States to remain competitive in the field of Information Technology (IT), we are going to
have to refine our education processes when it comes to Web professional topics,” said Bill Cullifer, founder
and executive director of the organization, which has more than 17,000 members worldwide. “When high
school students want to continue their Web professional studies at a community college or university, they
have to worry about whether the classes they took in high school will be accepted. We want to see that

WOW, which supports those who create, manage or market Web sites, provides education as well as
certification, technical and employment services to its members. Cullifer said one of the group’s goals is to
prepare future Web professionals, which includes administrators, developers, designers and graphic artists,
for the growing market demand fueled by the exponential growth of e-commerce in the business world and
consumer market.

The plan involves an articulated program in which students, following a model program outlined by the
national committee, are taught the same basic information required to earn an industry recognized
certification, or an advanced degree.

“Across the United States, people are reinventing the wheel when it comes to teaching Web professional
topics,” said Mark DuBois, an associate professor in the Business Information Systems department at Illinois
Central College in East Peoria, Ill., and a member of the WOW Advisory Board. “The new advisory
committee will develop a core set of standards and will publish those standards for interested parties to
utilize as guides for articulation and curricula.
One of the main purposes of the articulation program is to allow anyone, students or working professionals,
to obtain the skills employers say they need, Cullifer said. Supporters of WOW’s educational initiatives
include industry giants such Cisco systems, Adobe Systems Inc, Microsoft and hundreds of high schools,
colleges and universities nationwide.

“Not everyone will desire to achieve a formal Web professional degree, but if you choose to get one, this
program will set out the path you need to travel,” he said. “And, you can take courses in increments,
advancing in your career as you go.”

Part of the job of the new committee will be to continue the research process and report on the skills
employers need then decide what type of curriculum students should follow to satisfy those needs, according
to Cullifer.

Tim Paul, program director for Web development at Montana State University’s Great Falls College of
Technology and also a member of the WOW Advisory Board, believes the time has come for such a national

“We are trying to come up with a good description of the model curriculum that will lead from a high school
program to associate degree and then beyond to a university degree. Across the country, the curriculum for a
Web professional degree is as diverse as you can possibly imagine. We want to pull it all together and create
a national standard.”

Cullifer said such an articulated program would be “mapable, stackable and portable,” in that students can
plan their degree programs from high school all the way through a university based on a set curriculum path;
the programs will be modular, meaning students can take them in segments; and the units earned can be
transferred to any accredited institution.

While the articulation proposal will help high school students, it also is expected to lure working
professionals and career changers back to community colleges, universities and training companies.

“Some working adults are often afraid of returning to school because of the long-term commitment. And
many high school students don’t even consider college because of the rigors involved,” Cullifer said. “But if
you tell them the curriculum program was designed to be a step-by-step approach to providing them the
skills that employers demand the most, it eases their concerns. What’s most fascinating about this approach
and to Web professional careers in general is that Webmastering builds upon life-long learning, because it’s
the one occupational title that combines elements of technology, design and business.”

WOW believes that as the Internet evolves, the role of the Web professional will evolve with it. The
organization envisions itself as a community of common interest, where individuals can find common
ground for communication and education, regardless of their specific responsibilities or abilities.

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