On Thursday, starting at 4:00AM PST (UCT -08:00), and running for 24 hours after that, you can partake of the live portion of the upcoming Microsoft Certified Career Conference (visit the registration page to sign up, and don’t forget that full-time students and MCPs or better get 50% off the $55 registration fee). I’ll be coordinating 1-hour-long chats with online attendees three times during that period, so do please drop in to ask questions, express opinions, or share your IT certification, training, and career experiences with others during these time slots (when I’ll be holding chats in the Backstage Channel chat area):
1. 06:15 – 07:15 CST (-06:00 UCT/GMT/Zulu time)
2. 11:45 – 12:45 CST
3. 16:45 - 17:45 CST
In the meantime, I’d like to share some screen caps of what the online conference environment looks like. When registrants enter the online conference login page and then log in, they land first in the conference Lobby:
Looking at the various left-hand navigation elements, let’s chug through them one at a time:
The Agenda, offers cool color-coded filtering tools (I’ve got it set up to show the first two keynotes, having clicked the red button), so you can use it to select from all of the various tracks and offerings available while the online conference is underway. The next button (My Sessions) is where you can use the agenda to set your own schedule of activities while the conference is underway, so I’ll skip that one.
Each attendee can set up his or her own user profile for the conference (this is more important for speakers like me than it is for the rank and file, but it’s a great way to use the conference as a social networking medium as well as a learning medium, so I’m kind of jazzed to see how it works). Here’s what mine looks like, trimmed just to its display area at the right.
Services and the Career Fair (where MS says there will be hiring companies online trolling for candidates as well as job seekers galore — at last count, registration is hovering around 2,000 —) won’t be online until the conference goes live, so I’ll skip them, too. That takes us to the chats where I have custody of the “Backstage Channel” where users will be able to post questions throughout the whole conference and where I’ll be holding my online chat sessions.
Speakers get their own thumbnails in the area with the same name, where each thumbnail links to their profile. So far there are 37 speakers listed on this page, including some big names in career advice (Dick Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute?) and all kinds of MS heavies (lots of MCTs, evangelists of many stripes, and all kinds of MS Learning folks, too).
With the conference not yet live, there are no recordings to access. But once things get going, recordings will be posted within hours of session completion and the online materials will remain available for at least 90 days after the conference has completed. Thus, you’ll be able to return to the good stuff as often thereafter as you like.
[Note: I am working for the MCCC as a volunteer. I am not getting paid for this. So I'm not shilling (or selling out). I'm just trying to help create what I think will be a valuable and useful encounter for attendees, and a great laboratory for online conference activity.]