Monday, June 26, 2017

E-portfolios for Professional Certification

Today I took part in an excellent webinar on support for applying for membership of the UK's Association of Learning Technologists (ALT), Certified Membership (CMALT) . The webinar was run by Mark Northover from the Centre for Learning and Teaching, Auckland University of Technology. The first tool mentioned was the CMALT Professional Development Module from Hong Kong Polytechnic University (David Watson). The second was Mosomelt  (Thom Cochrane, AUT). Also ASCILITE run CMALT Australasia. These both provide online support for applicants.

The UK also has the Higher Education Academy's (HEA) fellowship scheme. Like CMALT this requires completion of a reflective portfolio. For those not used to this approach, the process can be daunting, thus the need for support. Late last year I completed a reflective e-portfolio for a MEd, which used a similar process.

One thing unclear is the relationship between certification and formal educational qualifications. ALT and HEA ask applicants to describe their training and experience with education (and the in the case of ALT, with technology). However, there is no requirement for formal educational qualifications and these certifications are not educational qualifications. In contrast, membership of the Australian Computer Society (ACS), and the British Computer Society, are expressed in terms of educational qualifications and relevant experience.

An ACS "Certified Technologist" would normally have a Diploma of IT (one year study) and the higher "Certified Professional" a Bachelor of IT (three years study), plus relevant experience. It would seem reasonable for the ALT and HEA to set educational requirements, but perhaps at a lower level, reflecting the lack of maturity of higher education as a profession. A certificate or graduate certificate (six months study) for entry level and an advanced diploma or masters (two years study) for full membership would be reasonable.

ps: On thing to keep in mind with certifications is how long they last and what are the ongoing obligations and costs. The annual fee for CMALT holders is £79.

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