If your division’s plans include microcredentials, the VPAP Office wants to help. Microcredentials feature prominently in recent post-secondary conversations around lifelong learning, skill development, access, and alternative revenue sources. Definitions vary, but fundamentally: “A microcredential is a representation of learning, awarded for completion of a short program that is focused on a discrete set of competencies (i.e., skills, knowledge, attributes), and is sometimes related to other credentials.” (HEQCO).
U of T has already successfully submitted 55 microcredentials for OSAP eligibility, as well as several submissions to an MCU Challenge Fund for microcredential development, reflecting Ontario’s emerging strategy.
U of T’s Lifelong Learning advisory group’s final report as well as the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance revised Quality Assurance Framework signal the need for guidance and coordination around microcredentials.
The VPAP Office will continue to work with divisions and institutional offices to develop and provide guidance around U of T approval and implementation processes. In the meantime, here’s what we know.
What We Know:
- All microcredentials must be offered with the knowledge and approval of the Dean, in line with the division’s strategic direction, consistent with the University’s general objectives, and adhere to the same standards of excellence that are expected of all U of T program offerings.
- Microcredentials seeking OSAP eligibility need to be less than 12 weeks of study – we expect another call for submissions to open later this summer
- New microcredential proposals will likely be expected to describe the following:
- Alignment with institutional and divisional mission/vision
- Student experience
- Learning outcomes/competencies
- How learning outcomes/competencies will be assessed
- How the credential develops skills and/or meets labour market needs
- Alignment with institutional and international standards
- Any innovative or creative aspects
- Microcredential offerings should be delivered in a way that collects and permits the reporting of the following:
- Completion rates
- Employer/industry/community partner needs, as appropriate
- Based on past experience, requests for OSAP eligibility will require additional proposal content and approved OSAP eligible microcredentials may entail additional reporting requirements.
- Dean’s Offices: please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Faculty members: please work with your Dean’s Office (in departmentalized divisions, please work first with your Department Chair, who can connect with your Dean’s Office)