LearnKey and the Heartbleed Bug

by Brad - Apr 11, 2014


If you have paid attention to news in the IT world over the last week, you may heard of the Heartbleed bug. The Heartbleed bug exploits a vulnerability in certain versions of OpenSSL. It allows attackers to gain access to usernames, passwords, and other sensitive information, even though a site’s address bar displays the letters “https” or a padlock icon. Heartbleed is a serious vulnerability, and millions of users worldwide could be affected. If you have purchased courseware through LearnKey’s website, you may be concerned that your information has been compromised.

This is not the case. Learnkey uses a tool called FoxyCart to process transactions on our web site. FoxyCart has thoroughly checked their systems and have assured us they are not affected by this bug.

Though our systems are unaffected, you may still be vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug. Several large companies have been affected, including several popular social media sites and search engines. If you even suspect your information has been compromised, you should think about changing your passwords. ConnectSafely.org has a list of tips for strong, secure passwords. Some of these tips include:

  • Don’t use just one password
  • Create passwords that are easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess
  • Make your password at least 8 characters long
  • Include numbers, capital letters, and symbols
  • Don’t use dictionary words
  • Don’t post your password in plain site

For more information on affected sites, check out CNET’s list of the top 100 sites across the Web.


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Understanding Image Usage Rights

by Brad - Apr 04, 2014


Disclaimer: The contents of this article are meant as a guide only, and should not be construed as expert legal advice on copyright law. Any specific questions about copyright and intellectual property rights should be referred to a lawyer with expertise in United States copyright law. Copyright laws differ slightly from country to country, so a lawyer familiar with International copyright laws may also be required.

Product or service names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. Their inclusion in this article should not be construed as an endorsement by LearnKey or its affiliates.

Imagine you are working on a project for a major client. You’ve spent days getting the design just right and now you’re looking for that perfect image to make the project complete. You search through your image library, but nothing feels right. You try image after image, but they all fail to meet your expectations.

We’ve all been there. Like most designers, you probably turn to the Internet. A quick Internet search yields the perfect image for your project. You visit the website, download the image, and turn your finished project over to the client. The client is happy, your boss is happy, and life couldn’t be better, right?

Wrong. You forgot something.

That image you downloaded and used in your project belongs to someone else. You had no legal right to use that image and now you, your company, and your client find yourselves in court for violating someone’s intellectual property rights.

But the image was on the Internet, so it’s free for anyone to use, right?

Wrong again. Unless the image is in the public domain, any image posted to the Internet is automatically protected by United States copyright law, with or without a copyright notice. Even sharing that image on your Facebook page without permission is a violation of the author’s legal rights. While some claims of copyright violation are more difficult to enforce than others, any legal trouble can mean bad news for a designer. Your company may survive a lawsuit, but your job and reputation likely will not.

So how do you avoid this type of situation?

The first thing you can do is avoid using images found in an Internet search. While some of these images are either public domain or specially licensed for commercial work, most are not. A better approach is to subscribe to a stock photo service such as iStock or Shutterstock. Services such as these allow almost unrestricted use of their photos for either a monthly fee or a per-photo fee.

If money is an issue, there are many sites which offer free photos, but the image quality and resolution is usually not the same as those found through a subscription service. Sites like morgueFile and Wikimedia Commons offer free access to thousands of photos, many of which are restriction-free or require only that you provide attribution to the photographer. Also, with the exception of government trademarks and logos, images created by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person’s official duties are not subject to copyright.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to pay attention to an image’s license. Many artists have licensed their work with a Creative Commons license, allowing others to use their photos with specific restrictions. If you can’t find an image’s license, you should probably assume it is not available for use.


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New Course Release – Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013 Part II

by Beau - Apr 02, 2014


Last month I posted about our production team’s goal to release two courses every month. I am excited to announce that they met that goal! Last week we released our Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013 Part II course. This course is the second part to our Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013 Part I we released earlier this year. Our Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013 Part II course will prepare students to take exam 200-101 ICND2 and will test a students skills in LAN switching technologies, troubleshooting, and other technical skills that are essential in obtaining the certification.

Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013 Part II

In LearnKey’s Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013 Part II course, users will gain the skills necessary to prepare for and take exam 200-101 ICND2. Users will learn VLSM, IPv6, OSPF and EIGRP protocols as well as learning to use access lists using NAT and DHCP. This course also covers 2800 and 3800 routers using various standard protocols and how ACL’s are used to protect networks. At the completion of this course users will be prepared for the CCNA Routing and Switching certification.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may continually provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed.

For more information visit our website.


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CompTIA’s CASP – A Fast Track to an IA Career?

by Brian - Mar 28, 2014


As the Veteran Services Manager at LearnKey, I work with Veterans from all over the world who are looking for ways to get into the security side of IT when whey separate from the military. Everyone knows about the CISSP certification and what that means to those who are looking to go big in an IA (Information Assurance) career. Everyone looks at the benefits of the CISSP yet they also know that it comes with an extensive exam. Don’t get me wrong, I am pro-CISSP and we help a lot of Veterans to achieve that level of certification. I do, however, want to talk about the CompTIA CASP certification and how it can jump-start the IA career you have been dreaming of.

The Advanced Security Practitioner certification from CompTIA (CASP) is a relative newcomer to the IA world. It is CompTIA’s first certification at the professional level and it was designed to fill the gap between their Security+ and the ISC2 CISSP certifications. The CISSP is often described as being a “mile wide and an inch deep” which perfectly describes every manager I have ever worked for. Yes, the CISSP is a management level certification which is great, but probably not the place you will likely start out in your new career. The CASP on the other hand is where the rubber hits the road. It includes the skills and objectives needed to keep everything running with the good guys on the inside and the bad guys put out in the cold. Here is a great video that CompTIA put together to illustrate what I am talking about:

CASP covers the latest in cryptographic applications, vulnerabilities, virtual storage, secure DNS, network design, firewalls, risk management, VoIP, and more. Those who possess the CASP certification work on the front lines, protecting and defending their networks. This is certainly the reason why the DoD directive 8570 was recently updated and they pushed the CASP certification up to the mid and high levels within their baseline approval structure (http://iase.disa.mil/eta/iawip/content_pages/iabaseline.html).

Although the CASP exam is not easy, it is much less strenuous of an exam than the CISSP. It also doesn’t come with the difficult-to-prove prerequisites. Listen to what Tom Carpenter, published author and consultant, has to say about the CASP certification and what it means to you:

The bottom line here is that both certifications are great but you really need to consider taking things in a logical order. I am excited to help our Veterans to (metaphorically) kick down the doors between them and a great career in IA, starting with the CASP certification.


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New Course Release – Windows Server 2012 Administrator

by Beau - Mar 20, 2014


Our production team has a goal to release TWO courses every month. That is a spectacular goal and one that the entire LearnKey team works together to accomplish. With the release of our new Windows Server 2012 Administrator course earlier this week, we are one step closer to accomplishing this goal. As the first in a series of Windows Server courses we will be releasing in  2014, Windows Server 2012 Administrator will prepare users to take exam 70-411 and ensure they have the skills necessary to manage and maintain a Windows Server infrastructure.

Windows Server 2012 Administrator

Join LearnKey expert Jason Manibog as he takes you through the Windows Server 2012 Administrator  course. Users will learn to manage and configure Active Directory, NPS infrastructure, and configuration file and print services. Users will also learn to deploy, manage, and maintain servers along with other skills and knowledge needed to be prepared to take 70-411.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may continually provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed.

For more information visit our website.

 


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The Power of Certification

by Brad - Mar 13, 2014


Sometimes it’s good to take a morning away . . . away from the office, away from the desk, away from the computer.

Tuesday morning, I did just that. I took a morning away from LearnKey to speak to the Web Design class at Parowan High School in Parowan, Utah.

My wife is a student teacher at Parowan High School, and when her mentor teacher learned that I work as a Web Designer she asked if I would be willing to come talk to the class. She wanted someone in the local community to give her students a “real world” perspective on the concepts they are studying in class.

Presenting to the students at Parowan High School

The world tells us that we can become anything we want to be. Therefore, the world tells us that anyone can become a web designer. The world often fails to mention that while everyone can become a web designer, not everyone will become a good web designer. Like any other profession, to become a good web designer a person must put in a lot of hard work and dedication (a little bit of natural artistic talent doesn’t hurt either).

As an artistic professional (yes, web design is an art form), I can’t always remember the fundamentals of designing a good website. As in many other professions, the elements of good design became instinctual over time and I subconsciously implement them in every design I create. As a result, I had to re-learn the proper terms for things that have become second nature to me. I had to re-educate myself before I could properly give a presentation on the elements of a good design. LearnKey’s Web Site Design Course provides a great introduction to these important concepts and teaches students how to use the tools necessary to succeed in a web design career.

Education is a large part of what it takes to succeed in any field of employment. Even so, with the large number of people looking for work, a proper education may not be enough to set you apart from other job seekers. It’s the seemingly simple things that set candidates apart, things like extra training and industry certifications.

At LearnKey, we understand the need to rise above the competition. Many of our courses are geared toward preparing students for certification, whether they’re interested in the Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, or CompTIA’s A+ Certification. Our primary goal is to provide quality expert-led training that will enable students to get certified at a pace that works for them. LearnKey’s courseware is carefully mapped to exam objectives, with project manuals and practice tests to reinforce concepts taught in the training.

I guess even on my morning away I couldn’t stay away from LearnKey or its mission.

Thanks again to Deveny Pace and Nicole Washburn for allowing me to take up their valuable class time.


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LearnKey Career Preparation

by Beau - Mar 10, 2014


I recently read an article titled “8 Second Careers to Consider.” In a nutshell, the article is for people who are considering a second career and aspects of changing a career that need to be addressed before they make the change. The part of the article that caught my attention was a section that talked about making sure you have the necessary skill set for the new career you want to start. One important step is to evaluate which of your current skills can transfer from your old job to your desired job; also what skills you need to develop to ensure you will be successful in your new career.

I found that LearnKey has courseware that will prepare job seekers for three of the careers listed in the article. I would like to take a minute to explain how our LearnKey offerings coupled with previous work experience can provide you with some of the necessary skills you need to be successful in one of these three careers.

Market Research Analyst Study market conditions in local, regional or national areas to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them and at what price.

  1. Typical education requirement: Bachelor’s degree
  2. Job outlook, 2010 – 2020: 41 percent increase
  3. Median annual pay: $60,570

Take this free online career pathway and leadership assessment to learn your leadership style and which career path fits your behavior. | eLearningPlanner.com

Choose from individual courses or use our career and certification paths to guide you to a success career in the market research field.

Meeting, Convention, and Event PlannersCoordinate all aspects of professional meeting and events. They choose meeting locations, arrange transportation and coordinate other details.

  1. Typical education requirement: Bachelor’s degree
  2. Job outlook, 2010 – 2020: 44 percent increase
  3. Median annual pay: $45,260

Take this free online career pathway and leadership assessment to learn your leadership style and which career path fits your behavior. | eLearningPlanner.com

Choose from individual courses or use our career and certification paths to guide you to a successful career in the meeting, convention, and event planning field.

Secretaries and Administrative AssistantsPerform routine clerical and organizational tasks. They organize files, draft messages, schedule appointments and support other staff.

  1. Typical education requirement: High school diploma or equivalent
  2. Job outlook, 2010 – 2020: 12 percent increase
  3. Median annual pay: $34,660

Take this free online career pathway and leadership assessment to learn your leadership style and which career path fits your behavior | eLearningPlanner.com

Choose from individual courses or use our career and certification paths to guide you to a successful career as a secretary or administrative assistant.

Changing careers can be a scary and stressful step in life. I believe that LearnKey offers the best in educational video courseware and will provide job seekers with the skills foundation they need to be successful in their chosen career.


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Global eLearning Company Receives “Green Light” from the New York state Department of Labor

by Beau - Mar 07, 2014


I am excited to announce that LearnKey courseware has been approved by the New York State Department of Labor and been added to the Eligible Training Provider List.

The purpose of the Eligible Training Provider List is to provide community members with a central  list of a broad range of training options that are available in communities throughout the state of New York.

“LearnKey is pleased to have met the expectations set by the New York State Department of Labor.” said Kimberly Johnson, Director of Client Services and Support. “I believe that LearnKey offers the most comprehensive and accessible online educational courseware. Our expert-lead project based courseware is interactive and contains labs that will train individuals to be prepared for industry certifications exams such as A+, Net+, Certified Associate Project Management, and prepare them with the skills they need to succeed or advance in their careers.”

Inclusion in the New York State Eligible Training Provider List required LearnKey to submit all courses to the New York State Department of Labor to make sure it complied with their high standards. Being added to the list puts LearnKey into a broad pool of training providers, who are in support of the training and employment goals of the individuals who access the list.


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Applying the Common Core

by Wyett - Mar 05, 2014


LearnKey and the Common Core State Standards

Editor’s note: This post is the third part of a three-part a series, in which our Director of Content Development shares his quest to understand one question: Is LearnKey aligned with the Common Core State Standards? (Read part one: In Search of the Common Core and part two: Discovering the Common Core)

Challenges are part of any industry. Sometimes those challenges are overcome, sometimes they prove to be too much, and sometimes a challenge is simply ignored in the hope that it will somehow disappear.

Personally, I love a good challenge.

Many of the challenges I face in my work, through sheer repetition, have become routine—finding an expert, scheduling an expert, acquiring exam objectives, appropriately timing a release, etc. It’s not that these are no longer challenges for me; it’s more that experience has taught me effective mechanisms with which to respond to each.

If you’ve read the two previous blog posts regarding LearnKey and the Common Core State Standards you know that, at least initially, I was hoping to sidestep the challenge of aligning LearnKey courseware to the core standards; I wanted it to “somehow disappear,” I didn’t see it as a good challenge. However, you may have also noticed that while I was trying to dodge this particular challenge I was (perhaps unknowingly) figuring out how to process it into manageable bits. The previous posts, as one commenter noted, were a bit of a tease…you could even argue that this post (so far) is continuing that theme…it is. Yet I felt it was important to show that there was thought and purpose behind what we hope to accomplish as we demonstrate our alignment to the Common Core.

I do not consider myself an educator. I am a technology-minded instructional designer who also happens to be a dreamer. I love research and collaboration. I love to find ways to help people succeed. I love making things better.

This is exactly what aligning LearnKey courseware to the core will do; it will make it better.

So here’s the big reveal; new LearnKey course maps will not only show the course index and corresponding location of exam objectives, they will now indicate which sections of the course align to the Common Core State Standards and offer suggestions on how to apply the course material to satisfy the standard. In addition to the detailed mapping, LearnKey Project Manuals will also indicate how the projects are core aligned.

In the coming weeks LearnKey will release the Photoshop CS6 (4/1), Dreamweaver CS6 (4/15), Premiere CS6 (5/6), and InDesign CS6 (5/20) core mapping documents; followed by Word (6/3), Excel (6/17), and PowerPoint (7/8) (2013 versions). Our new Adobe CC course offerings, coming later this year, will include the updated mapping as part of the project release. The upcoming Photoshop CS6 document shows areas of alignment with the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts. As more of the maps are generated we will create a “reverse” mapping document—one where the standards are the anchor—that will show all of the courses that can be used to satisfy any particular core standard.

View Common Core State Standards Sample Document

Working to create these mapping documents is a challenge my team and I eagerly accept.

I work with educators on a daily basis. I recognize the frustrations, challenges, and concerns that they face. I know that a map won’t solve every problem, but I do know that it will provide a direction and offer a solution.

 

Helpful links about the Common Core State Standards:


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New Course Release – Project Management Professional® 2014 Certification Prep Course

by Beau - Feb 25, 2014


Quick on the heels of our Certified Associate in Project Management® 2014 Certification Prep Course, I am excited to announce that our Project Management Professional® 2014 Certification Prep course has been released, joining CAPM as the second course to be added to our Project Management prep courses. We are excited to be able to offer both of these courses to those seeking a certification in Project Management. As a globally recognized certification, this certification is perfect for managers who have experience and have demonstrated the ability to successfully lead project teams.

Project Management Professional® 2014 Certification Prep

With LearnKey’s Project Management Professional (PMP) course users will prepare for the PMP exam based on the 5th edition PMBOK® Guide. This course guides you through the journey of understanding the basic fundamentals involved in high-level project management. Discover what defines a project life cycle, how project management process mapping works, and how to develop a project scope statement. Project Management Professional® is a registered trademark of Project Management Institute, Inc.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may continually provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed.

For more information visit our website.


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