Three institutions’ experiences with alternative credentials
The team at Acclaim, Pearson’s digital badging platform, works with numerous institutions that offer opportunities to earn alternative credentials.
Harper College in Palatine, Ill., faces challenges shared by colleges across the United States: to create clear connections between coursework and careers, provide students with a transparent and portable way of defining what the school’s learning outcomes have prepared students to do in the workforce, and strengthen the credibility of continuing education programs. Harper launched its program by issuing badges through Acclaim across a variety of courses and skills, including CPR, network administration, pharmacy technician and Six Sigma Green Belt Training.
Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Md., turned to digital badges to help fill an urgent workforce need. With a growing number of casinos in the area, the community college is offering a number of non-credit courses that teach the skills needed to work in that field. When students complete the courses, such as Carnival Games, Casino Blackjack and Mini Baccarat, they earn a digital badge through Acclaim, indicating their preparation for work relevant to those games in the local casinos.
Charlene Templeton, assistant dean of continuing education said, “In 2014 Anne Arundel Community College formed a focus group to investigate offering digital badges as a way to validate core competencies and student achievements. After considerable research on open and closed systems, the Pearson Acclaim platform was selected as it met all of the college’s security requirements, provided protection to the earner and could be shared by the earner using social media. Digital badge earners indicated that since all job applications are online, the badge sets them apart from other applicants. Employers like that they can click on the badge icon and verify an applicant’s skills. It’s a win-win for both.”
Capella University in Minneapolis is one of the first four-year online universities to offer digital badges through Acclaim. Designated by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense, Capella offers NSA Focus Area digital badges to students completing its master’s in information assurance and security, network defense and digital forensic specializations.