microcredentials concerns

As students flock to credentials other than degrees, quality-control concerns grow

Policymakers try to bring consistency to what “microcredentials” actually mean

As students flock to credentials other than degrees, quality-control concerns grow

Degro took the course and earned the badge that turned out to be a way to list his new skill in an online resume with a digital graphic that looks like an emoji.

Such non-degree credentials have been growing in popularity.

“We do have a little bit of a Wild West situation right now with alternative credentials,” said Alana Dunagan, a senior research fellow at the nonprofit Clayton Christensen Institute, which researches education innovation. The U.S. higher education system “doesn’t do a good job of separating the wheat from the chaff.”

Thousands of credentials classes aimed at improving specific skills have cropped up outside of traditional colleges. Some classes are boot camps, including those popular with computer coders. Others are even more narrowly focused, such as courses on factory automation and breastfeeding. Colleges and universities have responded by adding non-degree programs of their own.

some 4,000 colleges and other providers issue industry certifications, according to the Lumina Foundation, but fewer than one in 10 are reviewed by a regulatory body or accreditor.

That companies need trained employees is uncontested: More than three-quarters of U.S. manufacturers told the National Association of Manufacturers this year that they had trouble finding and keeping skilled workers.

Despite those hiring and retention concerns, industry appears reluctant to discuss the topic of policing new credentials. The National Association of Manufacturers declined to answer questions.

“If an organization wants to grant a badge, there’s nothing stopping them from doing that,” Richardson said. “It’s important for consumers to do their due diligence.”

more on microcredentials in this IMS blog

Microcredentials and Digital Badges in Higher Education

Join us in Savannah this November for our conference, Microcredentials and Digital Badges in Higher Education,

Microcredentials and Digital Badges in Higher Education

and learn the strategies and processes that other institutions have used to develop digital badge initiatives and programs. You’ll learn the different ways that badges can add value to the learner experience, key considerations for developing badges, and how to effectively connect learners to industry.

Your instructor panel for this event is an impressive lineup of experienced speakers, all from higher ed themselves, who have been immersed in this work and have likely seen and overcome the same challenges you have. Come ready to learn from the experts.

more on microcredentialing in this IMS blog

Key Issues in Teaching and Learning Survey

The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative has just launched its 2018 Key Issues in Teaching and Learning Survey, so vote today:

Each year, the ELI surveys the teaching and learning community in order to discover the key issues and themes in teaching and learning. These top issues provide the thematic foundation or basis for all of our conversations, courses, and publications for the coming year. Longitudinally they also provide the way to track the evolving discourse in the teaching and learning space. More information about this annual survey can be found at

ACADEMIC TRANSFORMATION (Holistic models supporting student success, leadership competencies for academic transformation, partnerships and collaborations across campus, IT transformation, academic transformation that is broad, strategic, and institutional in scope)

ACCESSIBILITY AND UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING (Supporting and educating the academic community in effective practice; intersections with instructional delivery modes; compliance issues)

ADAPTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING (Digital courseware; adaptive technology; implications for course design and the instructor’s role; adaptive approaches that are not technology-based; integration with LMS; use of data to improve learner outcomes)

COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION AND NEW METHODS FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING (Developing collaborative cultures of assessment that bring together faculty, instructional designers, accreditation coordinators, and technical support personnel, real world experience credit)

DIGITAL AND INFORMATION LITERACIES (Student and faculty literacies; research skills; data discovery, management, and analysis skills; information visualization skills; partnerships for literacy programs; evaluation of student digital competencies; information evaluation)

EVALUATING TECHNOLOGY-BASED INSTRUCTIONAL INNOVATIONS (Tools and methods to gather data; data analysis techniques; qualitative vs. quantitative data; evaluation project design; using findings to change curricular practice; scholarship of teaching and learning; articulating results to stakeholders; just-in-time evaluation of innovations). here is my bibliographical overview on Big Data (scroll down to “Research literature” )

EVOLUTION OF THE TEACHING AND LEARNING SUPPORT PROFESSION (Professional skills for T&L support; increasing emphasis on instructional design; delineating the skills, knowledge, business acumen, and political savvy for success; role of inter-institutional communities of practices and consortia; career-oriented professional development planning)

FACULTY DEVELOPMENT (Incentivizing faculty innovation; new roles for faculty and those who support them; evidence of impact on student learning/engagement of faculty development programs; faculty development intersections with learning analytics; engagement with student success)

GAMIFICATION OF LEARNING (Gamification designs for course activities; adaptive approaches to gamification; alternate reality games; simulations; technological implementation options for faculty)

INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN (Skills and competencies for designers; integration of technology into the profession; role of data in design; evolution of the design profession (here previous blog postings on this issue:; effective leadership and collaboration with faculty)

INTEGRATED PLANNING AND ADVISING FOR STUDENT SUCCESS (Change management and campus leadership; collaboration across units; integration of technology systems and data; dashboard design; data visualization (here previous blog postings on this issue:; counseling and coaching advising transformation; student success analytics)

LEARNING ANALYTICS (Leveraging open data standards; privacy and ethics; both faculty and student facing reports; implementing; learning analytics to transform other services; course design implications)

LEARNING SPACE DESIGNS (Makerspaces; funding; faculty development; learning designs across disciplines; supporting integrated campus planning; ROI; accessibility/UDL; rating of classroom designs)

MICRO-CREDENTIALING AND DIGITAL BADGING (Design of badging hierarchies; stackable credentials; certificates; role of open standards; ways to publish digital badges; approaches to meta-data; implications for the transcript; Personalized learning transcripts and blockchain technology (here previous blog postings on this issue:

MOBILE LEARNING (Curricular use of mobile devices (here previous blog postings on this issue:; innovative curricular apps; approaches to use in the classroom; technology integration into learning spaces; BYOD issues and opportunities)

MULTI-DIMENSIONAL TECHNOLOGIES (Virtual, augmented, mixed, and immersive reality; video walls; integration with learning spaces; scalability, affordability, and accessibility; use of mobile devices; multi-dimensional printing and artifact creation)

NEXT-GENERATION DIGITAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS AND LMS SERVICES (Open standards; learning environments architectures (here previous blog postings on this issue:; social learning environments; customization and personalization; OER integration; intersections with learning modalities such as adaptive, online, etc.; LMS evaluation, integration and support)

ONLINE AND BLENDED TEACHING AND LEARNING (Flipped course models; leveraging MOOCs in online learning; course development models; intersections with analytics; humanization of online courses; student engagement)

OPEN EDUCATION (Resources, textbooks, content; quality and editorial issues; faculty development; intersections with student success/access; analytics; licensing; affordability; business models; accessibility and sustainability)

PRIVACY AND SECURITY (Formulation of policies on privacy and data protection; increased sharing of data via open standards for internal and external purposes; increased use of cloud-based and third party options; education of faculty, students, and administrators)

WORKING WITH EMERGING LEARNING TECHNOLOGY (Scalability and diffusion; effective piloting practices; investments; faculty development; funding; evaluation methods and rubrics; interoperability; data-driven decision-making)

learning and teaching in this IMS blog