Call for Papers on Micro-credentials and the Next New Normal

Is the micro-credential the next big thing? The micro-credentialing movement is gaining momentum around the world as more governments, universities and professional organisations respond to powerful change forces of Industry 4.0 along with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But is the magic of the micro-credential fairy dust or star dust? Is the micro-credential just the latest educational fad in a long list of failed learning innovations over many years?

These are some of the provocative questions that we will be exploring in Higher Education 4.0: Certifying Your Future, our forthcoming online masterclass available through the FutureLearning platform. We are looking forward to some lively online debates over the next few weeks. Make sure you register for this course.

Google Trend data for the microcredential

We are also pleased to announce a special issue of the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education will publish a collection of papers which critically and analytically focus on micro-credentials as the “next new normal” for digitally-enhanced learning in higher education ecosystems.  Micro-credentials are purported to offer more flexible, digitally-enabled, learner-focused, and wide-reaching education and training opportunities for learners. Whilst the emergence, adoption, regulation, and impact of micro-credentials and other forms of digital credentials present a number of opportunities, they also raise important questions and challenges for all stakeholders (i.e. learners, employers, educational institutions, and government and professional bodies).

Topics in this special issue include, but are not limited to: 

  • Institutional and national credentialing processes
  • Strategies, governance and policies
  • Credential ecology, quality assurance and recognition frameworks
  • Co-construction of micro-credentials, employability, lifelong and lifewide learning
  • Transversal skill
  • Neoliberal ideologies
  • Academic trajectories
  • Value propositions of micro-credentials

As part of the NIDL’s commitment to open science, open scholarship and open education we greatly value our role as a formal editorial partner in this Springer published journal, which has developed a strong following and reputation for quality in recent years. Indeed, the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education is now officially the No 1 Scopus ranked open access publication in the field.

You can read more about this special issue and how to submit a manuscript on the journal website.

Submission deadline: 31 July 2021

Guest Editors: Beverley Oliver, Mark Brown, Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl

Masterclass starts March 8th 2021

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Students Supporting Students as they Learn to get a Digital Edge

In response to popular demand, the latest iteration of A Digital Edge: Essentials for the Online Learner starts on Monday 22nd February. Importantly, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges facing college and university students around the world, this free 2-week course on the FutureLearn platform aims to support people to learn how to be effective online learners.

A distinctive feature of the course is the co-facilitation and active contribution from a team of DCU Student Ambassadors who will share their tips, advice and first-hand experiences of how to be effective online learners.

Already over 6,500 learners from across the globe have participated in the course, which is anchored in the wider context of the LifeComp Framework where participants explore (i) Ways of Thinking, (ii) Ways of Working, (iii) “Tools for Working” and (iv) “Tools for Thriving” in the digital world.

The first week focses on starting with the right mindset and laying down foundational principles for being an effective learner online. Some of the questions we ask participants to reflect on include:

  • How do you manage your own thinking?
  • How can you grow your mindset for learning?
  • What are you hoping to achieve from your studies?

In previous iterations, people have told us how helpful they found it to know that many other people are having similar challenges and the value of hearing tips and suggestions from other students. As Jessica said,

“It’s somewhat reassuring to see other people are feeling anxious – glad I’m not the only one!  It’s daunting as I’ve been out of education for over a decade, but seeing how much support and guidance there is available really helps! Excited to start on the road to finally getting my degree in my 30s.”

In Week 2, the focus shifts to some more practical aspects of using digital technologies for learning and then concludes by asking participants to think more carefully about their digital identities and how they wish to engage in online settings. If you’re not sure whether the course is for you, then see what other people say as there are over 120 reviews on the landing page with lots of positive comments. As one learner writes,

The course has really helped ease my worries about online learning. It has helped me think about the ways in which I learn and how I can adapt them to become a successful online learner.

While the course is ideally timed for people about to start the new academic year in the Southern Hemisphere, it offers something for even seasoned online learners who might think they already know everything they need to based on their “Corona-coaster” experience over the past year. We encourage all participants to sharpen the EDGE –  Explore, Develop, Gather, and Embrace – of their online learning experience as they navigate their way through the course alongside fellow learners, our Student Ambassadors and NIDL team of experienced educators. 

`You can register here for the course and we look forward to welcoming the class of February 2021 online from Monday…