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A firsthand look at PACE’s digital marketing course

Thu Feb 3, 2022 at 01:37 PM

The last time I had taken a test was 2007. Yet here I was 14 years later, reviewing flashcards and cramming information just a few hours before taking my Digital Marketing Pro Certificate exam. Spoiler alert: I passed. However, it wasn’t because of my flashcards. It was because of the Digital Marketing Certificate program offered by Oakland University’s Professional and Continuing Education

Selecting a Program

Every time I saw a Facebook ad for a digital marketing program, I was intrigued. I hadn’t decided if that meant a master’s degree or some sort of certification, but with three busy kids, a husband with a demanding job, and two part-time jobs myself,  I knew I needed an online program. Last winter, I learned PACE would begin offering a Digital Marketing Pro Certificate program and I was ready to dive in. 

The program was an asynchronous online course developed by the Digital Marketing Institute and facilitated by Oakland University faculty. Once I enrolled, I had six months to complete modules on content marketing, search engine optimization, social platform advertising, analytics and more. After completing the material, I signed up to take the certification exam. When I passed, I earned not only the Digital Marketing Pro certificate, but also the Professional Certified Marketer, which is awarded by the American Marketing Association. 

Finding my perfect classroom

Most of my life takes place on the move, so it was no surprise to me that the first time I logged into the digital marketing course in Moodle, I was in the passenger seat of our car on a seven-hour drive to vacation. It didn’t stop there. The beauty of an on-demand course meant that I could work my way through the modules, wherever and whenever. This included picnic tables at campgrounds, my home office and anywhere I had a few minutes and an Internet connection. 

I slowly worked my way through the course content, taking copious notes. Not just because I was preparing for an exam at the end, but also because I wanted to be able to refer to the information when I was done and apply it to my everyday work. It was applicable from day one. 

I have a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from OU, but all of my experience is in communication and marketing of educational institutions. The nuances of those roles were learned on the job. I had no idea if my experience was going to be enough for me to tackle this formal marketing training, or if I had been learning very niche procedures and practices that would require me to go back to the basics. 

As it turns out, the material was perfectly aligned with what I knew. Even with 18 years of experience, I had a lot to learn that enhanced and reinforced what I learned on the job, through various training sessions and conferences I’ve attended. 

Setting goals 

To get through the program in a timely manner, I set goals to accomplish modules within certain timeframes, with the ultimate goal of completing the material before Nov. 1, 2021 and taking the exam before Thanksgiving. While one attempt of the exam is included with the PACE course, I didn’t want to worry about it over the holidays and wanted time to take it again if I didn’t pass the first time around. 

But the goal was to pass the first time. 

To make sure that happened, I followed the advice the DMI has on its website. I took practice tests and reviewed my notes. I also made flashcards of the topics that were tripping me up. I focused on my weakest areas. I was studying up until a few minutes before the exam started. 

I used the Pearson Vue testing center to take my exam and I took it from home. I  reviewed the guidelines well in advance and prepared my testing space. I was concerned about taking it at home just in case I messed up the testing area or there was an emergency in my house, but everything worked out smoothly. 

Within an hour of wrapping up the exam, I knew I passed. I completed the course, took the exam and passed all within the allotted six month timeframe. Now, I’m taking the information I learned and applying it to my job on a regular basis. 

If you are interested in the Digital Marketing Certificate program, visit the PACE website