Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Athabasca University launches online workplace skills courses

Brian Stewart Portrait

Brian Stewart
Deputy CIO,
University of Alberta
Leading the
Crafting a
Digital Strategy

Athabasca University (Canada) has launched "PowerED"™, a set of online self paced short courses for workplace skills. Brian Stewart, Deputy CIO of the University of Alberta, is leading the Crafting a Digital Strategy course (and former student in my ICT Sustainability course). The announcement is well timed, with reports such as Deloitte Access Economic's "Premium Skills" pointing out the value of soft and digital skills. However, like other "microlearning modules", offered by universities, it is not clear how this education fits with current offerings: Does this count towards a degree? Is it recognized by industry?

Deloitte Access Economic's Premium Skills
The Digital Transformation Leadership Certificate in Cloud (shortening the name to save time), consists of five courses: Decoding Disruptive Technologies, Crafting a Digital Strategy, AWS Cloud Foundations, Leading Transformational Change, and Implementing a Digital Future. Each of these requires a minimum of 16 hours work, over two weeks. So the certificate would require 80 hours work, over 10 weeks. That is a little shorter than an Australian university semester-long course. This is much larger than the Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) recognized micro-credentials which start at about 40 hours study. But it is shorter than proposed in the European MOOC Consortium (EMC)  a Common Microcredential Framework (CMF), which envisages 100 to 150 hours study.

The first five of certificates offered by AU are:
  1. Leader Development Program Certificate;  
  2. Essential Skills for Leaders Certificate;  
  3. Digital Transformation Leadership in Cloud Certificate;  
  4. Digital Transformation Leadership in Machine Learning Certificate; and  
  5. Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ Training 

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