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Future of technical training BoF
23rd November 2021
17:30 (UTC + 1)

WILLIAM JOHNSON: Hello, everybody. Can you hear me okay? The excitement of Meetecho!
Let everyone join in. Hello, everyone. Can you hear me? Yes, I can hear you typing loudly. Thank you all so much for joining us and sticking around. What we have here is Birds of a Feather. We're going to keep it very, very casual. We didn't have any major, you know, hot plans because we were hoping, you guys are kind of tired of the presentations all day so we were hoping to kind of catch you while you were all still here so we can pick your brains and get as much information as we can. It makes our lives and jobs easier and helps to provide better training opportunities in the future. So, if you are here, you saw the synopsis. We wanted to create learning ‑‑ effective learning experiences that will help you and our members and the community succeed, and so we'd like to have an open discussion asking for your feedback about future training options. So it's either training that you'd be interested in or as a member of the industry, maybe you see learning about blind spots, some knowledge gaps in the community that we should be focusing on. We are going to have an open template. We'll create a few themes that we'll ask a few questions about. If you are shy, you can answer in the chat or you can bug us with your mic and we can just talk it out.

So, I was going to go over just our kind of other goals within learning and development at the RIPE NCC. And then we can get start with some questions. Does that sound good?
So, what we're trying to accomplish in the learning development department is to establish the RIPE NCC as a knowledge authority and a centre of expertise. We want a sustainable and continuing development of the Internet community. We want to educate on Internet standards and best current practices to distribute to the resilience, stability and neutrality and empower individuals and groups of people by providing them with the knowledge and reconciliation they need to do their jobs, reduce operational workload, be a part of the RIR system and effect change within their communities.

So fielding people to go out there and do stuff, hopefully doing it the correct way, and also we have internal services that we train people on, and just kind of things that make your life easier.

So, before going into anything specific, I'm going to pass it on to Evelien and Pedro and they are going to ask some questions. Our first theme today is learning topics. I skipped a slide, just for housekeeping.

The way it's going to go is, if multiple people are joining in, you know, you want to ‑‑ you'll enter the queue and we'll let you in. And if you are going to stick around to continue the conversation, instead of revoking your audio, you just want to use that loop on the bottom right to let you speak next. Otherwise, we'll just do our best to kind of things keep in the chat or keep the conversation going. But we want to keep it flexible.

Learning topics. Evelien.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: The first thing we would like to hear about from you is which topics or which subjects you are interested in learning. We don't know if you are already know e‑learning that you offer, maybe you have taken webinars with us before or maybe you have even attended some face‑to‑face training and seen Harardo and Pedro in practice. We'd like to ask you what are topics that you think you should be learning about or that others ‑‑ that you notice that there is a learning gap that you think other people should learn about, or if there are any issues? Your job that you the RIPE NCC training could help resolve. So I'd welcome you to open your microphones or type things in the chat.

Gerardo says: "Speak up, we're listening."

I see Blake wants to say something. I have granted you audio rights.

BLAKE WILLIS: Thank you. So, I think that RPKI and routing security in general, you know, without getting into overlap from other, like, BGP or whatever training modules that would be available, I think maybe in coordination with MANRS. I mean, look at the MANRS website now, we have an implementation guide but they don't offer training. Maybe something along those lines would be helpful, along with RPKI implementation in general, of course.


WILLIAM JOHNSON: It's currently in development, so perfect.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: We're working on an e‑learning course that also has these topics in it, and also future certification related to BGP security. Also, Wolfgang, you have a question.

WOLFGANG TREMMEL: Thank you. I would like you to continue with the ‑‑ it was called LIR basics, I think, in the past, so, how the RIR system works, what's the difference between RIPE NCC and RIPE. There are still new people entering the industry and I think you should really, as the RIPE NCC, very much also focus on that.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Thank you. Yeah, that is also something we have ‑‑ we would like to do again, because, yeah, you're right, we used to have an e‑learning course on LIR, and it was a bit outdated, so we're no longer offering it. We are still offering two webinars, though, related to LIR topics, but yeah, it's definitely something that we need to produce again, so thanks for your feedback. Anyone else has any recommendations on topics we can offer or things that are important for your job that we currently may not have, or maybe topics that we already offer that we could do a bit more with or that you are just happy with? Any feedback is welcome.

DENIS WALKER: Hi. It was said during the presentations in the Address Policy today that new members don't understand the difference between allocations and assignments. Now, I thought this was something that would be covered in your basic training courses, because, to me, it's quite clear: An allocation is what the NCC gives to members. Those bits of it, including the hole, which are in use, are assignments. Maybe I am simplifying it too much, but perhaps it's something that you should think about.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Thank you. Gerardo, we are covering this in the e‑learning, maybe you can tell a bit about that.

GERARDO VIVIERS: Yes. The thing about the allocation/assignment difference, that's in the LIR course included, so that differentiation is actually being explained. Actually, what we're asking here is there is other topics besides the ones that we have which the community would see very favourably in a training course or in micro learning maybe or a webinar, that's where we would actually want to know, where should we go further.

PEDRO VAZ: That also ties up with what Wolfgang suggested, this topic was in the old LIR course, so as soon as we manage to create a new updated version, that will definitely be there. But it is also present in other webinars that we are still ‑‑ not all webinars, but the introductory webinars for new LIRs. So that is indeed an important topic.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: There was another question.

ANTOIN VERSCHUREN: Yes. You know, I haven't done my last face‑to‑face LIR meeting at RIPE back in 1999 when we were still in the old building. I was trying to send some staff of me to BGP security training for the last two years, but of course those are all still old webinars nowadays and not the face‑to‑face trainings. One of the things that I really missed was to have access to a lab where you can actually, you know, have hands‑on experience and bring things in a database and setting up routing and stuff like that. I know for the physical labs, there was always a lab environment present. So, if that is something that you could actually have for LIRs that want to do the training, that would be a good addition, I think.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: That's actually very exciting. We're in the middle of developing that right now. It's going to be a BGP security course. It will also have a very large comprehensive section on RPKI and we want to make sure, much like the IPv6 security course that we have, that we have a lab environment, and, you know, regular hands‑on labs that people can work on in their own time. Obviously, when face‑to‑face returns, people will be excited to do the in‑person as well. We'd like to have something that everybody can access whenever they need. We're aiming to have that published and finished next year. So hopefully if all goes well, it will be out sooner, but we're working on that. Were there any labs in particular that you were wanting to see in that course, just out of curiosity?

ANTOIN VERSCHUREN:: For some staff to send to to BGP security labs. What I especially missed was the hands‑on experience.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: That's good to know. The v6 security course is actually the first course that we have that offers labs, and we have six labs for that course right now. Also, if you have any suggestions on topics that you'd like to see in the labs, either for IPv6 security in the future or for BGP or any other topics, because we have realised when we were looking at the data, that a lot of people like doing activities, and that, like in the e‑learning platform, people perform doing like, they really like doing activities compared to just taking modules. So is there any activities that you'd like to see in the future that we don't offer yet, please give us your suggestions.

GERARDO VIVIERS: I want to ask further about the labs question. What kind of hands‑on experience do you think people would want? Like, looking at the protocol in detail or learning how to configure a device, what exactly would the lab purpose be?

ANTOIN VERSCHUREN: People that are, you know, starting, starting in a new job or starting to do new things, of course most companies have some equipment available that they can play on, but they don't let them play into production, right. So, yeah, it's basically ‑‑ it's configuring devices and then doing all the connections, I think.

GERARDO VIVIERS: Yeah, that's quite a challenge for us, because ‑‑

ANTOIN VERSCHUREN: Yes, I realise that. That's why, you know, I have seen the hands‑on lab before everything became webinars, and I thought, well, this is actually quite suitable to start doing some things. But then when I went to send my people on the course, you know, it was webinars and no longer hands‑on, so I missed the lab. That's basically the remark.

GERARDO VIVIERS: Yeah. We are going to have an open house on 6th December talking about creating your own test lab, so maybe we can further talk about this topic there in the open house.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Anyone else wants to jump in on topics or subjects that you think we should cover, LIRs, BGP‑related topics, RPKI?

PEDRO VAZ: I think it was Kurt who had a suggestion that we could present some courses that separate the more technical from the less technical aspects, which could be an interesting approach.

WOLFGANG TREMMEL: Well, a bit of a disclaimer here. I also do trainings, and I have built a lab and I do trainings on BGP. So, it's hard to build a lab which is either vendor‑independent or you do not want to run a Cisco training, you do not want to run a Juniper training, you want to run a BGP training, so... well... yeah, everybody has to figure it out for themselves. Well, I built my lab completely on top of open source software. I am using FRRouting for that, for example. It's just because everybody was talking about a lab, it's really hard, and you have to focus what you can do in a short amount of time, and I did these lab trainings on site before Covid and also online, and basically, what ‑‑ all I did was give the people a consul where they can type in commands but it was actually prewritten but they had to type in it, already that was a challenge for some participants. So a lab is really, really hard to run especially if you run it remote and not on site. Just my comment. Thank you.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: All right. Our next topic would be, just learning in general.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Yeah, we're kind of curious how do you ideally learn new things? So, do you prefer face‑to‑face training? Do you prefer webinars? Do you prefer e‑learning and has the Covid pandemic maybe changed how you approach learning and when you are deciding, like ‑‑ when you are deciding on, like, I want to a take on a certain topic, like what is the first thing you do? Do you Google it, like do you go to a certain vendor site? How do you approach learning in general?

GERARDO VIVIERS: Evelien, maybe give some pointers as to what kind of information you are expecting.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Just in general, how do you prefer learning ‑ face‑to‑face, do you prefer learning in webinars, e‑learning? Yeah, what are your favourite ways of learning new things? What would you like us to provide for things of as well? Like, maybe you have taken any of our trainings before, like what do you think you prefer us to do? Like, would you want like e‑learning courses on like a big topic, or do you prefer like smaller tutorials to solve problems? What is your ideal way of learning?

PEDRO VAZ: Or is it that you prefer sitting one hour, two hours, watching us talk about the specific topic on a webinar, or you prefer going to a website like the academy or any other and follow the course for ‑‑ tied into a certain topic? So we're kind of thinking now, trying to see what is the most preferred channel for most people, or maybe there is no preferred one. It depends on what kind of learner you are.

CHRISTOPH BERKEMEIER: I don't know if you see me.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: We don't see your camera but we can hear you.

I think we lost you. Also, Blake raised his hand while we are waiting for Christoph. Oh, Joey has a comment in the Q&A. He says:

"I really liked e‑learning course for the RIPE database associates. However, the company running the online exam [inaudible] which, in my opinion, I haven't been able to successfully start the exam. After two tries, I gave up. The course is great but a different way of examination would be great. "
That's good feedback and, yeah, we're aware of some issues with the platform.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: Obviously, we each like our own babies. A lot of us here, we make the e‑learning, so we're like, I love e‑learning, I am learning at my own pace, but we also provide a lot of webinars and we have great trainers who like giving face‑to‑face instructions. Some people want it all in one go, kind of forces them to see the whole thing through. So, if there are any preferences or things that you think come up in mind, that you prefer, just let us know. Otherwise we can also move on to the next topic, where we are all more about ‑‑

PEDRO VAZ: There is quite a few suggestions going on in the chat, so a lot to think about topics that we can approach in our courses, so there is a lot of stuff there.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Yeah, Kurt Kayser recommends ‑‑ like, he misses a forum for new ISPs, like how to exchange ideas, do's and dont's. Like, it's in the NOG sometimes. That's a good point. It's one thing we don't really offer right now is, like, discussion forums or something, which is something that some e‑learning platforms also offer. He said best practices with IPAN tools, how to manage IP‑related data and Ulka is wondering what everyone's preferences is for online versus in person once travel and events can resume like post‑Covid. Anyone who has any input on that?

BLAKE WILLIS: Anything that lowers the barrier to entry could only be regarded as a good thing. If the in‑person training requires you to either get some travel budget or wait six months until the training session might happen to come to your town, versus, you know, there is an online course every month and you just sign up for it, then...

EVELIEN SCHILDER: That makes sense, yeah.

DENIS WALKER: I have to admit, I haven't looked at many of your webinars recently, but is there any kind of test done at this end of the webinar course? Because I sat that database exam and I have to agree with that comment, that the environment in which you do that test is really quite bad. But maybe what you could do is look at having a series of modules where you could study something and do a test at the end of it and build up a series of credits which leads to some kind of professional qualification, rather than have that focused dedicated horrendous experience of doing that database exam.

PEDRO VAZ: Yeah, we see some feedback of some more complicated experiences with the platform. The way we do the exam right now, for the ones of you who are maybe using the RIPE NCC Academy for a few years already, remember we had also some final exams in the academy itself, the problem with these exams or any tests that is not proctored, is that yeah, anyone can be doing the exam on your name, and that will, in terms of credibility of who is achieving the certificate that ends up it doesn't mean anything, and that's why we, at a certain point, to carry on to have proper certification, we needed to pair up with an external company to private these proctored exams where the ID of the person being examined is checked and so on, so all these extra checks, which are maybe not so such a good experience, they are necessary to provide that credibility. And yeah, maybe the, that way of improving this. Maybe that's the reason why...

BLAKE WILLIS: Those are very good points, but, at the same time, the feedback on basically every proctoring software I have seen from educators during Covid is absolutely horrible, bordering on discriminatory, especially with people with any disabilities or anything, just terrible, terrible, terrible. I have not seen any proctoring ‑‑ now, I haven't gone out and looked, mind, but I have not seen any proctoring software that people like, oh, this is actually good and, like, serve the purpose and people ‑‑ accommodated disabilities and accommodated different users and things.

PEDRO VAZ: There is an alternatives to provide a certification with the proper identification. I can have training centres and testing centres, they are the same companies provide them over the world, but there is also still a problem because then you have ‑‑ for some people, that also may not be feasible to move to the testing centre, so ‑‑ but so far, the online solution, the remote solution that we have so far is this one, but, of course, we are always looking for other ways to improve it.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: We see a similar question by Christoph in the Q&A. He is asking:

"Would an open book exam be possible instead of this exam company?"

It's what Pedro just explained. So, yeah, there are up and down sides to each format that we use.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: Yeah, we still want as much feedback as we can about it because this is all stuff that we can take directly to that company. It's our current solution, but if we can get them to fix the issues, or we can look into other alternatives, this is the information that empowers us to do that. So it's always frustrating. We work so hard to make this content and then you have to hand it over to some third party to control the experience, and so we'd like to have a little bit more control again to make sure that everyone ‑‑ so that the right thing is the easy thing all the way through to the end of process. Keep it coming. You are not hurting our feelings. It's only stuff that's going to help us make it better.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: There are a couple of more comments in the chat. Max is saying that he doesn't have the environment at home, so, it's hard to take the exams from his home. That's a good point and certainly merits more research.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: My kids might never let me take an exam in the morning.

PEDRO VAZ: I wouldn't be able to do an exam at home.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: In the office, he says. We noticed, especially as people are still working from home, it's very hard to set up a private room to yourself, and indeed also at the office, it's not always possible. So that's good feedback. Any other feedback you have about like any other people taking the exam? What you thought about it or are there any certifications that you'd like us to offer in the future? Any topics you'd like to take exams on? Also, if any of you claim the vouchers in the academy? Please don't be shy.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: There is actually, in the gift bag, I believe, we have an opportunity to claim vouchers for the event ‑‑ at the event.


BLAKE WILLIS: I think regarding the certifications, I generally encourage my more junior engineers to try to go for vendor‑independent certifications, whether that be, you know, there is the bunch of stuff like the ITIL stuff, there is Linux foundation, which has a little bit of networking content, it's obviously mostly sis admin and Cloud and stuff, but there is a little bit of network content in the Linux foundation, but I generally encourage my folks to try to go for vendor‑neutral certification, and RIPE NCC certification is at the top of that list, just because it's one of the very few vendor‑neutral networking certifications available. Again, there are others.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: Thank you. It's a huge deal for us. Trying to ‑‑ you know, because we're not trying to directly compete with vendors. The idea is to fill the gaps and focus on the stuff that we know best.

BLAKE WILLIS: Absolutely. And it's certainly ‑‑ like Ignas mentioned earlier in the chat, it really avoids copypasta, you know, where people just memorise a bunch of Cisco commands and say, hey, I know BGP. And like well, okay...

EVELIEN SCHILDER: There is another question in the Q&A about this, by Leo. He is asking:

"How about a spoken exam over a video conference?"

That's something we haven't thought about yet. Are there any reasons why you would prefer that over, like, a ‑‑ currently, more like a written multiple choice exam?

LEO VEGODA: I was thinking like with a lot of academic institutions at the end of a course that are doing a written exam, you do a spoken exam, and the professor or the Ph.D. examiner, you know, will essentially go and ask you questions about your research, and if your goal is to ascertain whether someone has actually understood something, having a conversation seems as good a way, and perhaps a more user friendly way, than trying to do some kind of proctored exam. It's obviously not ideal for when you want to do anything technical, when you want someone to go and show you that they can configure something. But, you know, if you're trying to establish that someone understands a concept, literally a telephone conversation or a video conference could establish what you need.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Thanks. Yeah, that's a good point. We'll see if we have any other comments in the chat. For certification, Kurt is saying:

"Certificates to be able to understand and follow RIPE policies."

Well, technically, we could do that, but certification...

Christoph says: "I need no voucher or any certificates." Oh, congratulations.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: So see you at the graduation party.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Yeah, Thursday, 12:30, we have a graduation party for everyone who has earned certificates. You have to wear your T‑shirts or ‑‑ like, Will is showing off his hoodie.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: Purple is not everyone's colour but it stands out in the crowd.
All right, let's move onto the next topic. We can talk about our favourite stuff, our content.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: You want me to ask ‑‑ we have a couple of questions here for you to think about. First of all, we're very curious who is already familiar with the RIPE NCC Academy? Have you already heard about it? And if you did, do you remember how you first heard about the RIPE NCC Academy? And what made you want to visit it? And yeah, what was your experience? Have you taken any of our courses? We're offering three courses right now, plus micro learnings. Please, we have so many things to ask here. So...

PEDRO VAZ: The reasons we're asking is we're sometimes surprised ‑‑ maybe we shouldn't be surprised but when we are giving a face‑to‑face course, or a webinar, and the amount of people that hadn't heard about the academy, it's quite large. Even though we exist since 2014, which makes us think we're not really promoting it the right way. So, we'd like to also hear from you, do you know it? And have you heard about it and, if you did, from where? And if you haven't, well, now, you know, now you heard about it.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: In the meantime, while you are thinking about your answers, I will close the link to it in the chat. So any input on it? Pedro.

PEDRO VAZ: For the ones who don't know the RIPE NCC Academy, it is basically our mainly learning platform. So all the ‑‑ so the e‑learning content that we ‑‑ the e‑learning courses that we create are in the academy. It's ‑‑ of course, it's for free. The only thing you need to have is a RIPE NCC access account, the same as you would use to log into RIPEstat or RIPE Atlas and so on, and yeah, that's where we are ‑‑ that's the platform for our e‑learning courses. Leo did some micro‑learning courses and he was impressed. Thank you. Micro‑learning courses, that was another question that we were going to have for you if ‑‑ the word "micro‑learning" is actually catchy enough, does it mean anything to you? Yeah, micro‑learning, as in we have the main, full deep‑dive courses where you go into a certain topic, like RIPE interface or IPv6 security, but also we are publishing a little bit of contents like explaining how ping works or traceroute works, just small bits of learning content there.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Leo says he did, he was impressed, and also Anders says micro‑learning sounds like an appealing concept. We have actually released it this year, and so far we have micro‑learning on ping, micro‑learning an traceroutes and we're working on one on packet switching. There are also a couple of videos that we have added to our micro‑learning section that are related to the Ripe Database, so they are related to Ripe Database topics, and yeah, we have heard good facts so far about micro‑learnings, and we would love to make more, so, if there are any topics that you'd like to have micro‑learning on, please let us know. So micro‑learnings are just very quick five to ten minutes tutorials, like a video animation, some questions, things like that.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: If there is anything you are tired of explaining something over and over again, there is a perfect 15‑minute micro‑learning we could make, so we're always open to giving people preferential treatment if you guys have ideas. So...

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Blake Willis is saying a rather challenging training certification would be global BGP Anycast. Well, that certainly wouldn't be micro‑learning.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: It's the macro‑learning section.

PEDRO VAZ: A data record and Ripe Database, that exists, it's one of those videos that, like, we already had for a while, but now include them in the macro‑learning section. They used to be in another repositories of learning videos, but they are ‑‑ they are all in the academy. So the Ripe Database, you had this ‑‑ if you are not going into the full course, you can follow this little bits, little videos just explaining several aspects of the database and how to use it, create objects, update objects, how to create assignments and so on.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: I also see we opened a can of worms. Micro‑learning versus bite‑sized learning, we were debating internally what to call this.

PEDRO VAZ: The internal war.


WILLIAM JOHNSON: We could probably settle a bet if anybody wanted to mention their chat ‑‑ in the chat what their favourite is.

PEDRO VAZ: We should make a poll.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Yeah, maybe we could do a poll. Want to read the poll, Gerardo?

GERARDO VIVIERS: Let's do a Kahoot. So, what's the question?

PEDRO VAZ: Macro‑learning or bite‑sized learning? What's the most appealing? Or other?

EVELIEN SCHILDER: And to go to the poll you see on the top, you see in the menu bar, so on the left side, you see a little bar chart and that's where the poll is going to appear once Gerardo will launch it. So please submit your answer. Macro‑learning winning by a very small margin. Wow, it's a very tight ‑‑ 45% micro‑learning, 41% bite‑sized and 12% other name. I wonder if any of the people who chose "other" want to type in in the chat or maybe open their microphones and let us know what they prefer. "Quick step learning," "4 bytes learning", I also see "Sub‑allocated PA learning." Good suggestions.

PEDRO VAZ: 4‑byte learning. I think that's my favourite.

DENIS WALKER: This might be a little controversial comment, but we need to create a mindset shift against entering personal data into the Ripe Database. Whether this could be done in any way with training, learning or whatever, but 99.9% of the personal data in the Ripe Database is really not needed and unjustifiable. A contact doesn't mean a person. A contact can quite easily be a role, a service desk. This isn't a technical issue, because you can't solve it by just changing personal data to business data. It needs to have a serious shift in the mindset of people who enter this data into the database to basically stop entering personal data. Whether that can be anything you can help with, I have no idea. But I thought I'd just throw it into the pot.

PEDRO VAZ: I suppose what we can do is, in our ‑‑ yeah, either database videos or database course or any webinars, to change the message and highlight that message that it's not meant to be personal information.

GERARDO VIVIERS: As soon as the Database Working Group explains to us how the database should be working and what kind of data issuing in there, we will of course reflect that in our training material immediately.

DENIS WALKER: I would happily do that for you.

GERARDO VIVIERS: Yeah, you are part of the Database Working Group but we'd like to hear the whole Database Working Group.


PEDRO VAZ: Let's say that we're holding a question for the academy, if you do have any ‑‑ if you had a magic wand and you wanted something that you wanted to change in the RIPE NCC Academy, if you have used it, but if there is something that you want to have different, what would you do? Any ideas that there is something new that you'd like to see in the RIPE NCC Academy? Leo is there.

LEO VEGODA: I like the micro‑learning. Also, it's tied to your RIPE NCC Atlas account and we are supposed to use authentication and the two don't go together, it's a bit of a faff at the moment to get your authenticator app to lock into your RIPE NCC Atlas account in order to do a five‑minute learning thing. I would recommend, and this might be a bit of a push, I don't know how easy or difficult this is, but I would recommend having an app that you can put on your phone, or a tablet, that has access type to some kind of biometric thing, so that instead of having to worry about using an authenticator app, you can just get out your phone, you can do your five‑, ten‑minute learning, and then you're done and it reduces the barrier to entry, make it a little bit less friction.

PEDRO VAZ: That's a good point, Leo. Just a quick background: One of the reasons we are using the login, the micro‑learnings are behind the login, is actually pretty technical at the moment because it was a decision to have the micro‑learnings inside the RIPE NCC Academy and give another ‑‑ yeah, the time and resources we had, the quick way is to include it as part of the e‑learning platform, which we are using something, by the way, and yeah, the quick way to do it was to have it like this, as a sort of micro‑learning this part of sort of a Noodle course and that's implied to having it behind the SSO account login. That's something we are also thinking of improving the flow and this is indeed not the best. Hopefully, we can change that, and make some changes to the platform eventually.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: It's been a topic we have been discussing because, right now, Noodle, when you are enrolled in a course, will track your course, you'll see what percentage of a course you have completed, which things you have done, which new things that you could still take. If we take it out of there, then we might lose that aspect which might matter to some of you, maybe less to some others.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: Okay. I wanted to go to the next topic. We had already discussed it a little bit. But mostly about the exams, the proctored exams, we got a lot of really great feedback about that and we got some feedback about certifications in general. Does anyone else want to chip in to say, like, if ‑‑ let's say there was nothing wrong with the proctored exams, everything was a delightful experience, we would love to hear your thoughts on the actual certification process. For us, it means being able to verify that people are actually learning in the courses. We can access our learners, it gives them credit when the course is through showing that they actually ‑‑ RIR, you know, if people already have field experience, it allows them to validate that certification. We'd love to hear your thoughts on it. What's your perspective on the certified professional programme?

BLAKE WILLIS: It shows my lack of having dug deeply into TTL certification system and so on and so forth, but is there an independent way for, say, a recruiter or an employer, if somebody puts "I am a RIPE NCC IPv6 certified professional" on their CV or something, is there a way for them to verify that at the moment? I mean, the traditional way was, you know, I'm CCIE number 45126, right, and then you can, like, go look that up on a database on Cisco. But...

PEDRO VAZ: Yeah, currently the badge, the certified professional badges are all issued by the platform called Acclaim, so ‑‑ and this is a badge platform for many other issuing platforms, so if somebody puts the badge on their CV or LinkedIn, it will link it ‑‑ if it's a genuine badge, it should link to the respective Acclaim account.

BLAKE WILLIS: Cool. Thank you.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: So, always interesting to hear why people choose to get certified. What motivates you to wear a badge?

PEDRO VAZ: The ego. Fergal is saying: "Are there any people not in our member contact list who need training? If so, how should we spread the word?" And Blake: "Everyone else is passing on the good words about your courses and certifications." Wolfgang is saying ‑‑

ULKA ATHALE: Hi everyone, I just wanted to add to Pedro's comment about the digital badges that we issue. Blake, they are verifiable, whoever owns the badge has to share the correct badge link from their ‑‑ from when they claim the badge in Acclaim, which is the platform they're using, and if you add the link to that, you can add it on your digital CV, you can add it to your LinkedIn profile, and any employer or recruiter can verify it in one click. So also for those of you who have badges, please make sure you add it to your profiles or your CVs or your e‑mail signatures or your websites and everyone can see what the badge is, the validity and also other badges that you have earned if your profile is public. Thanks.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: And also in the Q&A there is a question about the prettier badges. Personally, I even would pay for this rather than the acclaim PDFs. Thoughts, concerns?

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Also, Wolfgang ‑‑

WOLFGANG TREMMEL: I would want to emphasise on my remark, trade schools. Well, there is not just universities teaching IT. There are trade schools where the kind of the lower level, or lower level is a bad word for it, for people who are not attending university but they get the certification and they attend a trade school for three years and they are a certified IT professional, at least that's the system in Germany, and the teachers there, they are really, really grateful of people from the industry help them to make their content for interesting, and I spent ‑‑ once spent a day there and talked about BGP the whole day and they were so happy. And I guess, of course, you cannot visit every trade school to do that, but perhaps create materials, create written materials. I think it's not so much online training what these people need, they need more like training materials they can hand out, they can use in their ‑‑ the teachers can use in their work.


WOLFGANG TREMMEL: And as a remark, some of these trade schools, they still teach class A, B and C networks, so they really need our help.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Thanks. Yeah, that's a good point. We also have a colleague with us, Mark, he just left, but he is, like, up for setting up any partnerships, so if you have any ‑‑ if you think of any schools or people that may want it, please e‑mail us and we can see what we can provide, like certifications in combination with training or we can see what's possible, to set up partnerships like that.

PEDRO VAZ: Mark, if you are still there, maybe you can say something about it, but I'm not sure if ‑‑

EVELIEN SCHILDER: He had to leave at 6, I believe. Besides that, we got some good comments in the chat. Kurt says he generally likes certification, Christoph as well. Anders says it's a good way to promote RIPE through the industry. Kurt says he just doesn't like so much the hall of fame or the collection sites. There should be an easier way. What about the PDF? Christoph says: "My company is not so fancy with stuck things, I think they'd prefer a PDF."

PEDRO VAZ: Tags in the Ripe Database, that's a good idea, Anders. Ulka says we'll look into making our certificates prettier.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: I think we have about five more minutes. Please let us know if you have any other comments. Also, if you have any questions for us regarding anything that we currently offer, please ask away, or anything else.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: Here is some contact information for anyone that's been having issues with exams, you can contact ivyexams [at] ripe [dot] net. Anyone with issues at the academy, please let us know. For partnerships, or group trainings or any type of larger solution where you need maybe vouchers or maybe we can provide different training for a large quantity of people, please contact Mark Wullings, otherwise we also have a lot of new content that we're in development. We're going to start developing it for IPv6 events next year, BGP security is under way, and I hope it will be released next year, we are in constant need of feedback and expertise when it comes to some of these more specific courses that we're developing, so there is a form right there, if you'd like to chip in or help or collaborate, it would be a huge deal for us to get any feedback or advice that you have. But yeah, please just reach out, casual conversation, or just say I'd really like to see this, that's the information that we're always looking out for. Also, thank you, this was our first Birds of a Feather, so you have all been very kind of patient with us while we trundle through Meetecho. By the time we finally get the hang of it, we'll be in Berlin and we'll be talking in person again, so... hopefully.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: We can all sit around a table.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: I still remember how to do that.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Blake is mentioning DNS, IPAM, address management, assignment training, generally a good idea, because there is not much out there in an industry. Kurt is saying is there no option to keep exam completely free of charge for the members? Right now we do offer vouchers for members, three per member.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: It also should be in the gift bag, right.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: I think so. Ulka can probably tell us more about that.

PEDRO VAZ: I have a link to it. If you go to here, I believe you can claim.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: The form provided, maybe you felt like there were topics we didn't talk about or maybe you have one specific topic that you are very excited about and that you'd like to provide feedback on and we'd love to have a chat with you to talk about it, so, in that forum, you can provide your contact details and tell us what topics you are an expert on or that you'd like to provide feedback on to us, because one thing we would like to do more is user research, because we provide these courses hoping that you guys like them, but we really want to find out more whether this is really something that's useful for you and that will help you. So we can create better, more targeted, more relevant learning materials for you.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: I'd rather this than a PDF as well.

KARLA WAGNER: I was wondering if you could put that long [inaudible ‑ bad connection] at the talk in, is there a chat or something?

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Sorry, I can't hear you very well.

SPEAKER: Now? Hi. Okay, I was wondering if you could ‑‑ that Google forum link on the top, I was wondering if you could possibly put that in the chat or somewhere where one could copy and paste it?

EVELIEN SCHILDER: Yeah, just put it in the chat, I'll put it there again right now. So it should be at the bottom of the text.

SPEAKER: Cheers, thanks so much.

EVELIEN SCHILDER: And I think, with that, our time has passed. Thank you all so much for your feedback, we really appreciate it, and we're going to use it and make our materials better.

WILLIAM JOHNSON: We have much work to do.


PEDRO VAZ: Thanks, everyone. Enjoy the rest of the week.