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K-State Today

April 14, 2022

Universitywide initiative aims to establish microcredentialing infrastructure

Submitted by Ashley Nietfeld

Kansas State University has launched a universitywide initiative to establish a microcredentialing infrastructure and purchase a digital credentialing system as part of a lifelong learning ecosystem at K-State.

Global Campus is joined by individuals representing campuses, colleges, academic units, departments and service units across the university. These representatives are serving on focused working groups tasked with ushering this initiative to completion.

In 2021, members of the task force applied for a grant from K-State’s Strategic Investment Fund to purchase a digital credentialing system that will align with existing university technologies and be available for use by the entire institution for awarding and documenting the accomplishment of competencies or skills. The grant was awarded earlier this year, and the technology procurement working group is now determining platform requirements in preparation for conducting a request for proposals.

The working groups are also moving forward with the development of a microcredentialing infrastructure, which would provide a centralized repository for programming content, consistent documentation of metadata for microcredentials, a learner record of microcredentials earned for both credit and noncredit learning experiences, and consistent application of digital credentials that can be easily uploaded to a person's professional profile, among other necessary foundations.

“Today’s learners are increasingly looking for shorter, skills-based and on-demand learning opportunities,” said Karen Pedersen, dean of Global Campus. “A universitywide microcredentialing infrastructure will allow K-State to better support learners as they complete their learning and provide a consistent way for them to demonstrate that learning to employers.”

Microcredentials are short units of learning and offer pathways to achieve affordable, accessible, focused and immediately acknowledged learning opportunities. Microcredential offerings can be credit- or noncredit-bearing and have the following characteristics:

  • Focused on learners and their interests, needs, skills and career goals.
  • Awarded based on demonstrated skill or competency in a specific area or areas.
  • Developed, approved and endorsed by the university.
  • Gained in a shorter or more flexible time period.
  • Stand-alone or stackable, wherein stackable offerings can be combined to count toward a higher education qualification, such as a certificate, degree, etc.

Information about the microcredential initiative can be found on the K-State Global Campus website. New information will be added as it becomes available.