Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | Category: Eduvation Insider
Over the past year, I’ve been accumulating announcements, reports, and criticism of the rising tide of microcredentials around the world – including about 100 items I haven’t had the chance to share with you yet! With the flurry of announcements in Ontario and BC lately, it’s about time we started to tackle this trending topic, as microcredentials proliferate…
Around the world, governments have been responding to the pandemic recession and rising unemployment by promoting the creation of short-cycle, sometimes no-cost, career-relevant microcredentials to upskill displaced workers. You may recall that the trend began in Australia back in spring and summer 2020…
“Snack Sized” Courses
Australian colleges and universities are offering discounted 12-week online courses aligned with industry needs, from coastal systems engineering and sustainable engineering management to sport and exercise science. These microcredentials, called “undergraduate certificates,” are “a pivot towards a new shape of higher education for a transformed economy.” Back in May 2020, New South Wales reported 85,000 enrolments in its first 21 courses. THE
The Australian government has responded to the pandemic in part by encouraging the creation of 6-month online accredited “undergraduate certificate” and “graduate certificate” courses, to reskill workers for labour market needs. (Course credit can also be applied towards diploma and degree programs.) 54 institutions launched 344 such courses, with tuition discounted 90% (although universities did so at a loss). The minister wants these short courses “to be a permanent fixture.” THE
The Australian government committed $4.3 M in July 2020 to establish a “one-stop-shop for microcredentials,” building on the success of its relief package last spring. The marketplace will allow comparison of course duration, delivery mode, outcomes, and credit value – and will give students “the assurance they need to invest in this new mode of education.” (Critics have pointed out that the service would needlessly duplicate the CourseSeeker website the government launched in 2018.) The Guardian
Many Ontario PSEs are partnering directly with employers to develop the microcredentials, in hot sectors like personal support work, digital marketing, electric vehicles, data analytics, and more…
eCampus Ontario has led the development and growth of micro-certification in the province since 2017, and formed a working group in summer 2019 to establish a framework and “common currency” for microcredential initiatives. In late 2019, eCampusON pilot tested the framework with 14 institutions, and in summer 2020 launched a second set of pilots with 22 institutions and their member partners. eCO
Algonquin College has been developing microcredentials since June 2019, and planned to pilot and evaluate 15 of them, with a report due next month. Algonquin is currently developing microcredentials in Good Manufacturing Practices and Cleanroom Behaviour, in partnership with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and BioCanRx Immunotherapy Network. AC | eCO
Cambrian College is developing microcredentials for prospective PSWs, in collaboration with Pioneer Manor and the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board.
Canadore College is developing a microcredential in Caregiving, in partnership with Spark Lifecare and Spark University. Canadore
Collège Boréal is developing a microcredential in Battery Electric Vehicle maintenance, in partnership with Mayhew Performance. Boréal
Durham College offers about 30 microcredentials including medical terminology, and graphic design foundations. Durham is developing a Municipal Employment Readiness microcredential, in partnership with Northumberland County. Durham Region
Fanshawe College is developing a microcredential in Digital Marketing Skills for small businesses in recovery, in partnership with Downtown London.
George Brown College launched a 4-course online Service Robotics microcredential last Fall, in collaboration with robotics solution provider GlobalDWS. “The demand for this type of technology is growing and the COVID19 pandemic has highlighted the possibilities for service robots in frontline sectors.” GBC is also developing microcredentials in accessibility training and building codes, in partnership with the Ontario Building Officials Association.
Georgian College offers 4 free “RapidSkills” microcredentials “to prepare underutilized and underemployed workers, workers at risk of job loss, and unemployed individuals for longevity in the automotive and advanced manufacturing sectors, while providing employers with highly skilled and agile workers.” The microcredentials, in Industrial Automation, Hydraulics/Pneumatics, Precision Machining, and Robotics, are each comprised of 2-4 modules, and include certifications such as Forklift Operator or Working at Heights. The program works in partnership with 6 employers in the Simcoe area. RapidSkills eCo reports that Georgian is also developing microcredentials in Essential Skills for Supportive Care, in partnership with the County of Simcoe Long Term Care and Seniors Services.
uGuelph is developing “reflective microcredentials” in workplace diversity and bias, in partnership with Guard.Me International Insurance.
uHearst is developing microcredentials in intercultural competencies with Innovanor, Pepco, and regional health services.
Lakehead U is developing microcredentials in mathematics for workers and prospective university students living in northern and Indigenous communities, in partnership with a range of First Nations communities and employment services.
McMaster U is offering 3 microcredentials in data analytics, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health Informatics. Each “course” is comprised of 8 sessions, in subjects including business analysis, data exploration, quantitative analysis, communication of results, and data life-cycle management. McMaster
Mohawk College is offering 5 micro-certifications supported by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce in its Free Workplace Preparation program to support internationally trained professionals. These modules include research skills, workplace culture, job readiness, interview skills, and workplace communication. Mohawk
Ontario Tech U has been offering microcredentials since 2020, and has already issued >400 digital badges. Some are integrated into existing undergraduate degree programs, while others are offered as standalone certifications through the Office of Continuous Learning. The Faculty of Education offers microcredentials for teaching Ontario’s new curriculum in math and coding. The newest offerings are industry-approved, competency-based microcredential programs in response to digital transformation, automation and remote work’s impacts on key sectors. TD Bank is sponsoring 1,000 free microcredentials across 24 topics of interest for those who are “mid-career, under-employed, or who are currently or likely to face changes in the workplace.” ENC
“Effective partnerships between Ontario’s businesses and world-class colleges and universities can deliver high-quality education that leads to real jobs… Working together, we can create flexible and responsive programming to react to the needs of employers and ensure that Ontarians can learn a new skill, to help them better succeed in their careers.” – Ross Romano, Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities
“We must ensure solutions are flexible enough to accommodate the time constraints and changing needs of non-traditional students. Microcredentials and badges provide that answer in a very convenient and personalized way.” – Fiona McArthur, Strategic Project Manager, Ontario Tech U
Sault College is developing a stackable microcredential program related to Indigenous rights and relationship building in the forestry sector, in partnership with Project Learning Tree Canada. By March 2021, 4 online courses will be available. Sault
Seneca College has launched >100 short courses to help students and professionals respond to COVID19 disruptions or take their careers to the next level. Seneca is continuing to add microcredentials in business, creative arts animation and design, education community and social services, engineering technology, information technology, media and communications, and science. The Avid Ingest Operations microcredential, developed in partnership with multimedia company Avid Technology, is one recent addition. ENC
uToronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health is developing microcredentials in 4 key areas of Indigenous cultural safety, in partnership with the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health, and Peterborough Public Health.
York U is developing stackable microcredentials in patient navigation, in partnership with Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada.
And just this month, BC announced a major push for free microcredentials for workers displaced by the pandemic, with the intention that many could be stackable in future…
$4M for Microcredentials
In early February, the BC government announced a $4M program to allow 15 PSEs in the province to offer 24 short-term microcredential courses, “to put students on the fast track to high-demand jobs,” particularly in the clean energy, health, and construction sectors. Globe & Mail
“Microcredentials are a new way to learn in BC. They are focused on in-demand jobs so that British Columbians can access opportunities that put their new skills to work.” – Anne Kang, BC Advanced Education minister
UBC Okanagan is offering an 8-module microcredential in Critical Skills for Communication in the Technical Sector and in Programmable Logic Controller.
Camosun College is launching its first microcredential in Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings. “Learners will be able to acquire the skills needed to implement BC’s 2032 building code goals right now in 2021.” ENC
Coast Mountain College is offering a microcredential in Exploring Health Careers. CMTN
College of New Caledonia is offering 2 microcredentials for credit: Core Skills for a Digital World and Core Skills for Data Literacy. Prince George Citizen
College of the Rockies is offering a Skills for Home Support microcredential. BC Gov
Emily Carr U is offering a microcredential in Web and Digital Design Skills for Transitioning Online. BC Gov
U Fraser Valley is offering a new Digital Marketing microcredential. Abbotsford News
North Island College is offering free microcredentials in fully digital or blended format, in GIS Mapping and Drone Operations, Motion Picture Production Assistant, Motion Picture Craft Services, and Fabricator-Welder. ENC
Royal Roads U launched microcredentials in Leading Projects in a Digital Environment, Workplace Communications Skills, Business Administration Essentials, Supervisory Skills, and Mineral Exploration, Geoscience and Environmental Field Assistant. RRU
Selkirk College is offering microcredentials in Core Skills for Facilities Maintenance (including in-person courses on HVAC and Roofing) and Core Skills for Refrigeration Occupations (5 modules fully online). Selkirk
Thompson Rivers U is offering a tuition-free 6-week blended microcredential in Renewable Energy Fundamentals for Electricians. TRU
Vancouver Island U is offering a microcredential in skills development for Building Service Workers, updated for enhanced cleaning protocols during the pandemic. VIU
“These courses are part of a sector where developing skills will help individuals either gain employment or enhance opportunities in their current career. They are designed to offer a short burst of education and skill development where learners can derive significant benefit by upskilling.” – Christine Schmidt, Community Education & Workplace Training Coordinator, Selkirk College
That turned into a bit of an inventory, although I think the examples are somewhat revealing. See the continuation of this discussion of Microcredentials…
Since yesterday, I have added 2 more COVID19 cases associated with CdnPSE. (Many cases go unreported, but see my master spreadsheet for a running tally.)
Canadore College reports 2 students have tested positive, and are isolating in residence. Canadore
Somehow, the headlines about COVID19 precautions – and violations – are more illustrative of the challenge on CdnPSE campuses than the case counts…
A group of 11 Ontario students have been fined $17,000 for gathering Sunday night in a remote rented cottage a half-hour north of Tremblant, QC, in one of the province’s “red zones.” If the owner knew of the plan when renting the cottage, they will face even stiffer fines. CTV
McGill U is asking some of the 20 students it temporarily evicted from dorms last month over violations of COVID19 restrictions to depart residence for the rest of the semester. If they “leave quickly and without appealing the decision” the incident will not appear on their disciplinary record. McGill considers the students a “very present danger,” and a disciplinary hearing could lead to suspension. CTV
And of course, if we’re going to report on the bad behaviour, we should recognize the good…
Mount Allison U reports that >750 students successfully self-isolated on and off-campus in January after their return from the winter break. 272 students were self-isolating in residence, where they received >13,000 meals and food deliveries, did 620 loads of laundry, and 550 COVID19 tests – none of which came out positive. MtA
St Francis Xavier U reports that the winter semester got “off to another good start,” with ~1,350 students required to self-isolate upon returning to NS after the Christmas break, 550 of them in residence on campus. About 250 volunteers checked in on the students and delivered groceries. The first 2 weeks of classes were held online, so that NS students could remain in their home communities while those from outside the province were in isolation. There were no breaches of the Quarantine Act, and although 3 students tested positive during their quarantines, “no further transmission resulted.” StFX
Thanks to my friend Dan Seneker for bringing this one to my attention…
If you missed the Superbowl, chances are you also missed Will Ferrell’s hyperbolic attack on Norway, on behalf of GM, for “out-EV’ing us.” (As you would expect of a Superbowl spot, it was a huge-budget, amusing and visually impressive spot.)
Watch the GM commercial first, but then this amazing retort from Universitetet i Agder in southern Norway…
Sorry (not Sorry)
Sunniva Whittaker, president of uAgder, says she understands why Ferrell wants to “punch us in the face,” but apologizes profusely for becoming the world leader in EVs “without checking with you first.” She then urges university staff to “get rid of anything else that might make Will envy us in any way” – like free tuition, free healthcare, paid maternity leave… It’s an amusing 2-min romp, and it’s impressive that they got their own video out within just 3 days, too! (They’re at almost 790,000 views – do you really want to be left out?) YouTube
As always, thanks for reading! Please let me know if you’ve spotted something interesting or significant, at your campus or elsewhere.
Be safe and stay well!
All contents copyright © 2014 Eduvation Inc. All rights reserved.