Alternative credentials now a must-have for traditional universities

Millennials prefer badging and certificates to traditional degrees, according to researchers from UPCEA, Penn State and Pearson.

More than half of higher education institutions (64 percent) participating in a recent survey said alternative credentials are an important strategy for institutions’ futures. That same survey also found that millennial students are likely to support the use of badges and certificates as part of their educational system.

The study of 190 institutions, from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), Penn State and Pearson, was released at the UPCEA and the American Council on Education (ACE) Summit for Online Leadership in Washington, D.C. and found widespread acceptance and use of alternative credentialing programs at American colleges and universities.

Leading the way are millennial students, who the study found are more likely to favor an educational reward system that is built around badging and certificates, rather than the traditional bachelor’s degree.…Read More

Does your institution offer these top online degrees?

A new report outlines how institutions’ curricular offerings, specifically via online degrees, will have to evolve to meet the demands of tomorrow’s students.

According to a new report from ed-tech solutions provider The Learning House, 62 percent of online college students decide what they are interested in studying before they decide which school to attend, which means institutions must have in place the right programs to attract students.

The report, “Growth Opportunities in Higher Education: Degrees and Alternate Pathways,” outlines key opportunities for growth that universities should consider based on expected shifts in employer needs, and therefore, student demand. It also identifies specific higher education offerings with the greatest potential for future use.

“As higher education continues to evolve, innovation will come not just in the field of study offered, but
also in redefining the very nature of what a credential is and how it should be delivered,” according to the report. “As students continue to require new skills and need to gain those skills as quickly and inexpensively as possible, colleges and universities will need to compete not just with themselves but also with the numerous education ventures that are reacting to this need and developing outside of the traditional institutional model.”…Read More

Fayetteville State U. launches digital badge tool

Merit Pages offers university officials to celebrate, promote student achievement

Fayetteville State University has officially launched Merit Pages, a digital badge tool that allows the university to celebrate student accomplishments in and out of the classroom.

Used by more than 300 colleges in the United States, Merit allows institutions to recognize and promote accomplishments, and connect those achievements back to specific audiences that have a vested interest in each student.

All Fayetteville State students now have individual Merit pages online—a public, professional profile automatically created for them online that Fayetteville State University can update with their achievements, such as when they make the chancellor’s list, dean’s list, earn a scholarship, win an award, are inducted into an honor society, serve in a leadership role, do community service, graduate and more.…Read More

Pearson, Capella U. partner to issue digital badges

A new partnership demonstrates the growth of digital badges and connecting higher education to employability

Pearson and Capella University will partner in order to issue digital badges for students completing the online university’s National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security-designated master’s program, representatives for both organizations said.

Capella University is among the first online universities to leverage Pearson’s Acclaim digital badging platform to help inform employers about professional skills and competencies students have gained through coursework and certificate programs.

“The IT landscape is constantly evolving. Digital badges complement our master’s in information assurance and security program because they are secure, verifiable and provide full context of the capabilities our students bring to an employer,” said Bill Dafnis, Ph.D., PMP, Capella’s interim dean of technology. “Capella University is committed to providing students with the skills they need to immediately be effective members of the workforce.”…Read More

UMassOnline launches badge program

New badge program highlights spectrum of project management skills

UMassOnline, the University of Massachusetts’ online consortium, has announced the first non-credit badge program, in Project Risk Management, offered through the College of Advancing and Professional Studies (CAPS) at UMass Boston.

University representatives say this is one of the first programs of its kind offered by a public higher education institution in Massachusetts.

The Project Risk Management badge is a self-paced online sequence of modules that covers the six steps of project risk management as prescribed by the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).…Read More

4 steps to bolstering digital badges in higher education

As the demand for digital badges increases, so does the need for policies and processes surrounding them.

digital-badge-steps“Digital badges allow students to turn competencies and achievements to marketable credentials,” said Susan Manning, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Yet, unless clearly defined management processes are put into place, this potential may not be realized.

This was the main discussion part of a recent panel, “Digital Badges in Higher Education,” hosted by The New Media Consortium, which not only stressed the importance of students earning more digital badges for employment, but what must be done to help propel the digital badge and credentialing movement.

“Digital Badges in Higher Education” was the latest webinar in the NMC Beyond the Horizon series, and featured insight from moderator Jonathan Finkelstein, founder and CEO of Credly, Susan Manning, a teacher at the University of Wisconsin, Stout, and Diane Singer, the Curriculum Developer and Project Manager at Brandman University.…Read More

Partnership highlights increasing use of digital credentials

DeakinDigital, Credly team up to offer digital credentials for professional skills.

digital-badgingDeakinDigital, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deakin University, is partnering with Credly in the delivery of its new credentialing program, which it touts as an alternative to traditional education models.

The move could drastically reduce the time it takes to attain certain degrees, university representatives said.

Credly, which offers platforms for managing lifelong credentials, will enable DeakinDigital users to manage and share the digital badges they earn in places where they want to be recognized for the full spectrum of their skills and knowledge.…Read More

University’s digital badges to certify “discrete” skills

Students in Brandman University’s CBE program will earn badges to certify competencies required for workforce success

digital-badgesBrandman University, a private nonprofit institution, has teamed up with Credly, provider of platforms for managing lifelong credentials, in an effort to enable learners to attain, manage, and share portable digital badges and credentials earned through Brandman’s online competency-based degree programs.

Brandman, which uses direct assessment as part of the university’s new competency-based education programs, will issue official digital badges to certify discrete skills as students advance through degree-based programs.

Competency-based education (CBE) is an innovative educational method that matches the skills most needed in a 21st century workforce with a formal degree program. With digital badges validating each skill, learners will be able to put evidence of their abilities to work in real time in the pursuit of professional opportunities.…Read More

Gaming in education: ‘We don’t need no stinking badges’

Educators and game designers say gamification is not about adding games to classes, but designing classes as games

gamingWashington, D.C.– When video game designer and writer Lee Sheldon designed a physical fitness course called “Skeleton Chase,” he didn’t ask any students to climb into a sewer drain.

Yet, one student, who saw it as the best means to attain his goal, did so, anyway. Sheldon showed a photograph of the student climbing into the tunnel to a small gathering of politicians, educators, and industry leaders Friday on Capitol Hill.

“If you get a student to do that,” he said, pointing to the photo, “you have engagement.”…Read More

Understanding the symbolism of digital badges

Can alternative credentials like digital badges provide a more nuanced view of a student achievement?

badges-credential-studentWashington, DC — Kyle Bowen, director of education technology at Pennsylvania State University, said he thinks credentials, be they traditional grades or digital badges, are little more than symbols.

And symbols mean different things to different people, Bowen said Thursday at U.S. News and World Report’s STEM Solutions conference. To illustrate his point he brought up several well-known symbols, including the icon found on most hand dryers — the one that shows three red, wavy lines floating above a hand.

“To some, this means you press a button to dry your hands,” Bowen deadpanned. “To others, it means you push a button and you get bacon.”…Read More