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Digital Credentials & The Workforce: Your Questions Answered Part 2


Digital Credentials & The Workforce: Your Questions Answered Part 2

Over the last few months, we’ve heard a lot of great questions from higher education professionals about how digital credentialing works in the “real world.” In fact, at a recent webinar we participated in about how higher ed institutions can partner with employers to prepare students for a changing workforce, the response was overwhelming.

Dr. Kemi Jona, Associate Dean, College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University, was a panelist at the webinar and fielded lots of questions about implementing a digital credentialing program at Northeastern. He’s sharing answers to some of the most popular questions he got asked here:

Q: At Northeastern, did you trial digital credentials with your faculty? (Modeling)

A: We are just beginning to explore the various ways we want to adopt digital badging across our programs. Helping faculty earn badges for professional development is a great way to introduce them to the concept of micro-credentials in a way that can then set the stage for a more informed discussion about issuing badges to students as part of their academic programs.

Q: Is Northeastern considering expanding the IBM model of offering advanced standing for digital badges from other corporate entities or alternative learning sources?

A: Yes, we are in discussions with several other partners to do something similar, both companies and other providers of micro-credentials. At Northeastern, we fundamentally believe in the value of supporting lifelong learning. So, it makes a lot of sense to provide a seamless pathway from the learning people do in the workplace that is recognized by badges or other certifications and allow them to bring that learning directly into our certificate or degree programs. I think you will see us doing a lot more of this in the coming year.

Q: Is it up to the employer to create badges relevant to their business, and consider from whence they came, or is Northeastern creating its own badges/instructional experiences based on its conversations with employers and expecting employers to respect Northeastern's expertise in instruction around key competencies and learning objectives? I guess the question is--who starts this initiative?

A: We started with IBM's badges and then looked for the places they aligned with our graduate programs. However, we are now also issuing industry-relevant badges within our own curricula. In both cases, having this conversation with industry partners helps us align what we are doing together. I don’t think that students much care who came up with a badge first, they just want to know that they are able to develop in-demand skills that will help them advance their careers. That’s what’s really important.

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