I don’t typically use this blog to write directly about my work at Concordia University Wisconsin, but I’m very proud of one of our latest innovations and I want to spread the word about it. I would also appreciate your help by telling others and sharing a link to this article on your favorite social media outlet.
As of August 2014, Concordia is offering the first (to the best of my knowledge) online master’s degree in educational technology that is built around competency-based digital badges. That means that you earn your master’s degree along with a series of digital badges, each of which represent new knowledge and skill that you are developing as you work through the courses and program. This also means that you are gaining new micro-credentials (digital badges) even before you finish a full course. These are credentials that you can display online as evidence of your growing competence and perhaps your qualification for a new position for your current employer, or evidence of your skill for that future dream job.
Throughout your study, it is possible to earn 50+ digital badges that represent your competence in diverse areas. Each badge comes with an attractive visual design and important data attached to it denoting who issued it, what competency you met, and exactly what you needed to do to earn the badge. These are quality badges because each one represent solid evidence of knowledge and skill in a designated area. Here is a sample of badges that you can earn during this program.
- Project-based Learning
- Game-based Learning
- Evaluating Tools and Technologies
- Service Learning with Technology
- Digital Literacy
- Careers in Educational Design and Technology
- Building a Personal Learning Network
- Mind-Brain Education
- Technology, Culture and The Human Experience
- Collaborative Learning
- Integrating Technology Models
- Learning Experience Design Foundations
- Social Media for Teaching and Learning
- Internet Safety and Online Identity Management
- Foundations of Educational Design and Technology Ethics
- Data Versus Trend-based Decisions in Education
These badges are embedded into 3-credit online courses that last for eight weeks. During each course, you have the challenge and opportunity to earn 4-6 competency-based badges. You earn these badges by completing one or more applied and practical projects that show your competence. Depending upon the time that you can devote to the program, it is possible to earn the degree in 1 to 2 years.
I should note that this is no program for people who just want a quick and easy way to add a credential for their résumé.
- The program is flexible.
- You get multiple attempts to earn a competency-based badges within each dedicated eight-week course.
- You get the benefit of ungraded formative feedback from the instructor (and often classmates) as you progress toward competence in new areas.
- The instructors are deeply committed to your learning and providing you with personalized guidance on what activities will best help you.
However, know that there are high standards. You will be stretched and challenged to grow as an educational leader and innovator. This is a program for people who want to be edupreneurs, educational innovators and difference-makers in the lives of learners. We want students and graduates who will proudly model the program’s goal of equipping competent, high-impact educational technology innovators and servant leaders who make learners and learning a top priority.
As you work through the courses, you will also have the chance to network, collaborate and co-learn. Weekly required discussions are on part of this. However, in this age of networked learning, you will:
- have opportunity to get mentoring from expert professors (all who have real-world experience as educational leaders and innovators),
- grow and learn through interaction with classmates,
- and build a robust personal learning network as you reach out to people and groups around the world amid your journey toward competence in different areas.
The degree can be earned entirely online, and new courses start every eight weeks. So, if you or others are interested, you can inquire or apply by filling out a quick Start Here form. Please consider this for yourself or help me spread the word by sharing the news with friends and colleagues (in person, via email, or on your favorite social network).
We’ve spent years of research and work creating the vision for this program, and I am excited to share it with passionate educators and aspiring educational innovators around the world. We’ve worked hard at offering this at a very competitive tuition rate with the goal of making it available to as many interested educational innovators as possible.*Note: This is not a competency-based program like you might have heard about with the UWFlex Program or Western Governor’s University. This is a traditional online collaborative learning graduate degree that has integrated competency-based digital badges. **Another Note: While we are currently staffed well for the program, we are always looking for high-impact badge designers and instructors (two separate roles) who share the Christian mission of Concordia University Wisconsin. So, if you are such a person, feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.