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An Examination Of Vendor Based Curricula In Higher And Further Education In Western Australia

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.176.1 - 9.176.11



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Paper Authors

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G Murphy

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G Kohli

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S P Maj

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D Veal

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1763

An Examination of Vendor-Based Curricula in Higher and Further Education in Western Australia

G. Murphy, G. Kohli, D. Veal and S. P. Maj Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA, Australia


Vendor-based curricula are becoming increasingly prevalent in two-year college (Technical and Further Education (TAFE) courses and in University programs in Western Australia. This reflects a world-wide trend in the provision of such programs; for example, in October 2003 Cisco Systems reported that there were over half a million students enrolled in Cisco Networking Academies in 150 countries around the world. In Western Australia, vendor- based curricula, such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) program, the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) program and the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) program are offered for credit in TAFE Engineering and Information Technology (IT) Diplomas and in Bachelor and/or Masters Degrees in three of the five universities based in the State. In this paper we seek to examine the reasons why students enroll in the courses, and what career benefits they believe will accrue as a result of their studies. The paper will conclude with an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of offering curriculum over which universities and college have no control of content and standards.


According to Nelson and Rice, “…in today’s business world the ideal employee has three critical components: education, certification and experience…’ 17 . Traditionally the main task of universities, and their major area of expertise, is the provision of education. Experience is difficult for students to obtain and its provision is likely to become a contributing factor in their selection of courses 1, 8, 14. Certification has been addressed by the industry itself. Major IT companies are now endorsing training specifically tailored to the use of their product lines. These include companies such as Cisco, Microsoft and Novell. These companies have implemented 2, 5, 12, or have endorsed their own certification programmes 16 . Such qualifications are known as ‘Vendor Certifications’ 7, 10, 15. Units that incorporate Vendor-Based Curricula (VBC) are very different in nature to the traditional offerings of the university sector. Hornbaker notes that:

“Over the years, vendors have created their own certification programs because of industry demand. The demand arises when the marketplace needs skilled professionals and an easy way to identify them. Vendors benefit because it promotes people skilled in their product. Professionals benefit because it boosts their careers. Employers benefit because it helps them identify qualified people” 10.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Murphy, G., & Kohli, G., & Maj, S. P., & Veal, D. (2004, June), An Examination Of Vendor Based Curricula In Higher And Further Education In Western Australia Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--14025

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