Wednesday, November 28, 2018

UNE Bespoke Graduate Certificate

The University of New England, in regional NSW, is offering a new "Bespoke Graduate Certificate". Students can select from courses across the university to assemble their own qualification. However, UNE is not the first university to do this, and a more focused qualification may be a better option.

The UNE Bespoke Graduate Certificate looks similar to the ANU Graduate Certificate of Studies, and other universities general studies programs. These allow students to choose from courses across their institution (and between institutions).

With a general studies qualification there is a risk of ending up with a "Certificate of Nothing in Particular". The student may do the studies they want, but a prospective employer may not notice this detail. The student can instead consider undertaking a more focused qualification, and use the flexibility of including alternative courses to suit their interests. As an example, I undertook an ANU Graduate Certificate in Higher Education. After consultation with my supervisor, I substituted two courses from partner institution USQ, for two ANU courses.

My interest was in online education, and USQ was offering specialist courses in this. A bonus was that USQ offered courses outside ANU's semesters, allowing me to complete quicker. Having a qualification in education is far more useful than a general one made up of education courses.

UNE indicates their certificate can be completed in 1 year part-time. However this assumes the student undertakes two courses at a time. As a part-time student I found completing two courses at once to be very difficult. If the student is undertaking studies part-time, and particularly online, I suggest they should be encouraged to do only one course at a time. Where the institution offers three or four periods per year, the student can still complete in a reasonable time.

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