Going big on micro-credentials

Some universities are adapting to disaster and building market share with micro to short courses. It will earn them elephant-stamps from the feds

ACU seizes an “unlimited opportunity”: Australian Catholic University announces a suite of short-courses, and subject-tasters to, “help Australians upskill or retrain, and to support people and services as our community transitions to new ways of working.”

There are starter-courses in education, public health, sports science and IT, “with the option of transitioning later into a full degree.”

With “additional backing” (it means money) “from the Federal Government’s relief package, the new courses are designed to build key skills in a wide range of areas.”

USQ is expanding access to its UpSkill mini courses, with one free taster from a range of five:   The university launched UpSkill last year, with 18 subjects, now 30 (40 hours over four weeks) at $625 each, (CMM September 16 2019). They aren’t the same as the micro-credential courses targeting people who want to learn a new-job skill while COVID-19 unemployed, which the feds are funding. But they are in the same, sort-of, space (CMM April 14).  Word is USQ also has new products in development that fit the federal model.   

Victoria U opens a cash package for VET training: VU Polytechnic is using Victorian Government support for VET to provide “up-skilling and re-skilling” “including early childhood education, trades, nursing and healthcare.”  The university adds, it will “soon” launch an “initiative that focuses on the required jobs and skills for the west of Melbourne with short, sharp skills acquisition through enhanced digital systems.”

Early adopters:  These three join universities which have already announced approaches in-sympathy with Mr Tehan’s ideas. Uni Canberra, Uni Notre Dame Australia, Uni SA and Swinburne U have short-courses outside formal course structures for people who want to skill-up while they aren’t working.

But why, pray, “elephant stamps?“It’s where the higher education sector is moving. But, we have used this opportunity to be one of the first countries to really put micro-credentialing, or short courses, on the map,” Dan Tehan, Network Ten, April 12 (CMM April 14).