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Identify high-quality microcredit for higher ed

Adult learners often worry about the logistics of returning to school, but microcredentials offer a straightforward path to learning

Later this month, New York State University (SUNY) will represent the United States Global Dialogue on Microcreditsponsored by the European Union Erasmus + program. SUNY is the nation’s largest integrated higher education system with 64 institutions (community colleges, colleges of technology, colleges, and doctorates, including R1’s research and medical universities) located throughout New York State, and its microcredit program -recognized as a model.

SUNY currently offers 435 micro-identifications across 60+ disciplines on 31 campuses, each based on a 2018 system-wide policy developed with broad participation from across the University. Micro-certificates are smaller credentials that can be filled in months rather than years, and are usually narrower. SUNY defines high quality microposition as those that give the proceeds rigorous training, immediately demanded skills and, where possible, the path to additional empowerment.

The SUNY program, one of the first micro-audiences in higher education, focuses on: academic quality; compliance with industry and professional standards; pathways to certificates, undergraduate and / or academic degrees (convergence); official recognition of completion through transcript and digital badge (portability); and multi-audience recognition for multiple audiences. These criteria are the hallmarks that almost every national / international report on this topic identifies as a priority. The faculty wanted to ensure that micro-classrooms would be of the same quality as SUNY certificate programs and diploma programs, and so on-campus micro-audiences follow a formal process that includes faculty management, while encouraging innovation and responsiveness from faculty. Now four years later, with last year’s expansive growth as more campuses viewed micro-value data as a means of serving students, communities and businesses affected by the pandemic, SUNY’s policy-oriented quality framework for micro-audiences has proven effective.

The most common SUNY micro-certificates consist of three courses, but there are micro-certificates that have two to five courses and they can include an internship or certification in the industry. There are a series of microcredit – for beginners, intermediate and advanced, as well as without credit instructions for professional development. Innovative microcredit is designed with multiple entry and exit points (see chart below) and highlights progressive pathways.

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