Training and Certification

Rubel Khan's Blog

Posted by Rubel Khan on July 9, 2009

Exam SMEs = nice folks

As a Content Development Manager for exams, I meet a lot of very nice folks who are technical experts on a wide variety of Microsoft technologies. We call them Subject Matter Experts, or SMEs (rhymes with “sneeze”) for short. SMEs are involved in every phase of our development process. We depend on their expertise to ensure that our exams are as real-world and relevant as possible. Strangely enough, sometimes it’s hard to find enough SMEs with expertise on the right products at the right time.

Shiny new MSL SME site

We’re rolling out a new system that will help us keep track of potential SMEs. Anyone who wants to be a subject matter expert (SME) for exams can go to a site on Microsoft Connect and fill out a survey about their skills and experience. The survey responses will be stored in a secure database, which our content development vendors will search to identify qualified SMEs for specific opportunities. MSL will also use this database to contact SMEs directly about other opportunities such as blueprinting. (Right now we’re planning to use this system only for exam development, but we’re leaving the door open for other MSL content development opportunities, as you’ll see in the wording of the survey.)

Other SMES will not be able to see your survey responses. However, by checking the box at the end of the survey, you give us permission to share your contact information with MSL content development vendors.

Just the first step

Your responses are only the first step in the screening process. If your responses indicate that you might have the right skills and experience for a particular exam development project, the vendor will contact you for additional information and may interview you to determine whether you are a fit for the project.

Exam design = fun

Being a SME isn’t for everyone. It’s hard work. But it really is fun, and gives you a great opportunity to hang out with other folks who know the same stuff you do. Some of our SMEs become rather addicted to exam dev, and keep coming back for more. (OK SME friends, here’s where you jump into the comments and tell the world how fun it is to design an exam!)

Sign me up!

Here’s how to get to the SME Profile survey:

Step 1

Go to

Step 2

Click the Sign In button in the upper right-hand corner of the Connect home page.

  • Don’t have a Windows Live ID? That’s OK, just click the Sign Up Now button and follow the instructions. Start at Step 1 again after you get your Windows Live ID.
  • Already have a Windows Live ID? Great! Just enter your credentials. If you have previously registered on Connect, you’ll be presented with the Your Dashboard page after you sign in. If you’re new to Connect, you’ll need to complete the registration process–see the P.S. at the bottom of this post for instructions.

Step 3

In the upper left corner of the Your Dashboard page, click the Home button to get back to the Connect home page. In the right-hand column of the home page, you’ll see the question “Were you invited to join Connect?” Put this invitation ID in the box: SME2-JC3G-DKDY and click Go.

You should now be on the home page for the MSL Subject Matter Experts site! Click any of the Microsoft Learning SME Profile links on the home page to get to the survey.

Questions, comments, feedback?

Send your thoughts to Obviously, we’re doing something new here and would love to hear your opinions and your suggestions for improvement.


P.S. Microsoft Connect registration process**

a. Click the Continue button on the Enter Registration Information page.

b. Review the Terms of Use and click the I Agree button at the bottom of the page.

c. Enter your registration information and click the Continue button.

d. On the Verify Ownership of your E-mail Address page, click Continue.

e. Go to the mail for the account that you designated in step 6, and open the Verification E-Mail.

f. On the E-Mail Verification Confirmation page, click the Continue button.

g. On the Welcome to Connect page, enter your handle and click the Continue button.

h. If you encounter the Complete Required Registration Information page, click Continue, and then Continue again.

i. Now (finally!) you should be on the Your Dashboard page. Go back to Step 3, above.

**The Connect signup process can be a little rocky, so if you’re having trouble getting to the survey, e-mail and I’ll send you some more troubleshooting info.


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