Discussions started by Irwin DeVries


Greetings and welcome to our next topic: Micro-credentials. Several micro-courses have already been prototyped in the OERu. These consist of a subcomponent of a regular postsecondary course, for example 1 of 3 credits in the North American system, 4 of 20 credits in the UK system, or 5 of 15 credits in the New Zealand system. Three or four micro-courses would be the equivalent of one postsecondary course in terms of workload (depending on the international region).

A micro-credential, for example an assessed "Certificate of Achievement" consisting of one credit, would be available for successful completion of a micro-course. For learners who take series of micro-courses, these could add up over time to full course equivalents. There are other options to consider, for example certifications for participation based on minimum participation metrics, such as a digital badge and /or certificate of participation.  

An advantage of micro-courses could be to allow for a more flexible study approach, and they may well have appeal for those who are working their way back into a more formal study groove. Having participated in one myself (Scenario Planning for Educators), I was impressed with the amount of ground covered, and a serious project for summative assessment could be completed in a few weeks. It felt like a credible and solid chunk of learning, but without the duration and time commitment that a full course represents. The micro-course was not overly burdensome in terms of my day to day life.

Of course, if I had been seeking credit for completing the micro-course, I would have wanted to know that it was available, and that there was a way of assembling micro-credits into a coherent package that would lead to recognized credit from a receiving institution over time.

Perhaps the huge attrition rates typical of xMOOCs would be less of an issue in micro-courses, but of course that would need to be tested. From a curriculum planning perspective, series of micro-courses would need to be carefully structured with the bigger picture of credentials such as diplomas and degrees in mind.

Looking at this from an organizational perspective we should also consider whether the development of micro-courses lowers the barriers of entry to assembling OERu courses. 

Here are a few questions to start the conversation. Please feel free to add more.

  • What are micro-credentials in the OERu context?
  • What are the barriers and opportunities for implementing micro-credentials for the OERu?
  • Are micro-credentials an effective way to individualize or customize the curriculum?
  • What will they look like and how will they work?

Over to you!

There's a fairly classic consideration in the development of systems for collecting and analyzing data (beyond routine transactional functions), and it is this: what are the questions we want to put to the system? Who will be asking, and how will the answers be used? These questions are core to the discussion of analytics and get us focused on what we are doing, as well as why and how. Many issues flow from that simple set of questions.

There are comments related to this sprinkled throughout the discussion, but I would propose we share our ideas in one place for consideration and discussion.

by Irwin DeVries -
Two in a row from Kamloops..this could be contagious! I think the cold has driven us indoors and to our computers!

Why this course? - just today several of us were talking/speculating about what really goes on in our courses, and we developed the analogy of packing a canoe with good stuff and pushing it out to sea with blind faith that students are doing what we expect...and further that they find it helpful and useful--once they get to the other side (assuming they do).

What a huge assumption when you think about it. We do a lot of our learning about our courses and learners waaaayyyy after the fact -- i.e. when it's time for revisions and maintenance. So this course will be a success for me if we can share ideas and learn more about this. And of course - the real success is in the networking opportunity!

I'm Director of Instructional Design at Thompson Rivers University--Open Learning and PhD candidate in Curriculum at Simon Fraser University.