Unbundling the 4-year degree: How to design education for the future

Employers are in desperate need of skilled workers to address current employee shortages and prepare for projected disruption in the workplace. For example, artificial intelligence will create 2.3 million jobs while eliminating 1.8 million by 2020, according to a 2017 Gartner report.

To fill jobs now while preparing for the future, countless organizations are rethinking how students learn and earn skills in postsecondary education. Such a change requires new mindsets for institutions and businesses.

The rise of micro-credentials…Read More

Is higher ed finding its ideal in micro-master’s?

It’s a jarring realization that after 9 years of post-high school education, a person can feel stuck. But that’s how I feel sometimes as I consider my professional options. I love what I do as a high school teacher and part time college instructor. Yet, as I sense the education landscape dynamically shifting all around me, I wonder what is next. How can I stay relevant without starting all over with another 3, 4, or 9 years of education?

I am not alone in this question. I know this because I talk with my colleagues, I read articles from others in similar situations; but, most of all, I know I am not alone because institutions are beginning to respond to this question. While it’s intimidating to live in times where technology is transforming your professional world, it’s a joy to live in times when that same technology allows you to transform as well.  New programs are arriving that respond to the needs of a professional class looking to keep up with the rapidly changing times. They are called micro-master’s degrees.

Essentially, universities offer focused coursework through the MOOC platform edX in a given field. My local interest is the University of Michigan’s program on User Experience Research and Design. While I know about education, my understanding of technical course construction is minimal. I would like to become proficient in this area so I can participate in conversations that move beyond theory and into application of new designs. To follow through on my interest, I can register and take 5 courses through edX. Each course is free to take, but there is a cost of approximately $100 to earn a certificate of completion. The courses can stand alone as certification, or I can combine them into a micro-master’s degree. In addition, I can apply to U-M and this micro-master’s contributes to pursuing a full Master’s Degree in a given area of study.…Read More