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DCU launches free online course about micro-credentials and the changing nature of higher education


March 8, 2021

DCU launches free online course about micro-credentials and the changing nature of higher education


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DCU has launched a free online course aimed at educators and employers interested in learning more about micro-credentials and to challenge traditional mindsets on the future of higher education. Micro-credentials are smaller units of focused, assessed learning in a particular knowledge or skill area, usually designed, developed  and delivered in conjunction with industry and other key stakeholders.

Designed by DCU in partnership and supported by ECIU University, the MOOC Higher Education 4.0: Certifying  your Future will run over a three-week period on FutureLearn.com from Monday 8th March.

It is believed micro-credentials will become a permanent and transformative feature of the higher education sector as they continue to enable a wider number of people to upskill for work in rapidly-growing industries, without the time and cost commitment of a full degree. They offer busy learners a flexible pathway for career development, by fitting learning into their lives rather than having them meet the demands of education and training systems.

As leaders in this space, DCU has been playing a significant role in researching micro-credentials and advancing policy dialogue at national and international levels. Dr. Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl, Head of the Ideas Lab in the National Institute of Digital Learning and who is engaged in national and international micro-credential initiatives and research says:

“Micro-credentials are being positioned as a catalyst for re-imagining higher education in the context of future skills needs, the changing nature of work and lifelong learning and  we engage in a reflective critique of them in this course.”

In this three-week course, participants will reflect on major educational trends impacting higher education and consider how universities can be ‘future-fit’ in our increasingly digital world. Topics will include:

  • How changing social, technological and employments trends are impacting the higher educational sector
  • The potential of new approaches to credentialing as a means of recognising diverse skills and providing new pathways for lifelong learning
  • New and emerging ways of teaching and learning

Speaking about the launch of this MOOC, Professor Mark Brown, Director of DCU’s National Institute of Digital Learning said:

“This course on Higher Education 4.0 has been designed as a masterclass to support stakeholders in education to grapple with some of the big questions and challenges facing us in shaping the future of learning.”

This course will help prepare participants take a critical view on employment trends, alternative credentials and newer pedagogical approaches in higher education. Participants will consider why traditional credentials are no longer entirely fit for purpose, and identify the value, potential and challenges of these new short offerings.

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Dublin City University

Dublin City University (DCU) is a young, ambitious and vibrant university, with a mission ‘to transform lives and societies through education, research, innovation and engagement’. Known as Ireland’s ‘University of Enterprise and Transformation’, DCU is committed to the development of talent, and the discovery and translation of knowledge that advances society and the economy. The university is based on three academic campuses in the Glasnevin-Drumcondra region of north Dublin. It currently has more than 18,000 students enrolled across its five faculties – Science and Health, DCU Business School, Computing and Engineering, Humanities and Social Sciences and DCU Institute of Education.