The University of Calgary has released its plan, Unstoppable, to keep its Eyes High ambitions to be a great research university at the heart of a resilient community.
One of the big ideas within this plan is a bold approach to education and credentials that will see more modes of delivery (online, in-person, etc.) and more ability to personalize your programming through the expansion of modularization, microcredentials and stackable certificates.
Modularization breaks courses into their components, allowing foundational content to be shared among many classes. The benefits are significant: they allow students to move quickly (or even skip) content covered in another class they’ve taken and allow faculty to share a common core – letting them focus on their areas of expertise.
Microcredentialing and stackable certificates allow students to receive a certification or diploma for an individual course or smaller cluster of courses. These certificates can be acquired on their own or combined into a four-year degree.
Neither modularization nor microcredentialing is new at the University of Calgary. Many faculties of the University – supported by the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning – have begun to implement these approaches. This plan will expand on what these faculties have built and more aggressively roll out these methods across the university’s programs through an expansion of faculty training and resources available.
How we revolutionize education
All actions are subject to further development based on community feedback and University of Calgary governance processes.
Develop: Ongoing Implement: Ongoing
Modularize current credentials and ensure future credential development is modularized – creating a more personalized learning/education journey for students
Identify programs that have high potential for online learning, experiential learning, modularization (stackable and standalone certificates)
Expand existing supports for rapid program development with a focus on expanding certificates (stackable, stand-alone, undergraduate and graduate)
Incentivize development of certificate programs
Track and curate experiential learning (EL) through an Experiential Learning & Skills Record
Develop, formalize partnerships for EL
Review and develop new programs
Develop: Ongoing Implement: Ongoing
Program review (determine programs to discontinue, maintain or grow and set enrolment targets)
Refine program evaluation criteria
Rigorous evaluation of programs against criteria
For continuing programs, confirm enrolment targets for next three years – focusing growth in graduate programming and upskilling/reskilling programming
Identify high-priority areas to grow programming – aligned with four areas of academic focus and high scores on evaluation criteria
Deliver programming in multiple modalities
Develop: Sept-Mar Implement: Spring/Summer 2021
Develop a long-term plan for program delivery through multiple modalities including face-to-face, blended and online programs
Expand infrastructure and support for learning technologies. Assess possible mergers, acquisitions, or partnerships with online institutions and/or technology platforms
Expand support for online teaching and curriculum design to support development of credentials for hybrid and online formats (instructional designers, technology specialists)
Expand supports for student mentorship (career, WIL, EL), and academic supports for students with a focus on students in online certificates and programs
Assess potential to grow enrolment by offering additional programming in hybrid/online format on longer-term basis
What this means for you
For students, such an approach provides choice. You can do your education all at once or over several years. You can collect a series of certificates or stack them into a degree from a highly regarded research university. You can complete your education in person, online, or through a combination of both. And as you go through your career, you always have the option to come back and build upon what you’ve learned in your time here – whether through continued face-to-face programming or from a computer in Madrid.
For faculty, modularization means being able to dip into a pool of shared content and being able to focus on the concepts in which you are an expert – the concepts that truly excite you. Remote learning offerings bring you to a world audience and allow you the unique and exciting opportunity to mentor a global community of scholars.
How we will measure success
Measurements under consideration or development
number of programs that offer stackable certificates
number of programs available in multiple modalities
percentage of faculty who agree that the university is sufficiently supporting the adoption of modularization
percentage of faculty who agree the university is sufficiently supporting the adoption of microcredentials
A bold new focus for research, where problems and possibilities transcend traditional disciplines and create new areas of knowledge.
Unstoppable is our "growth through focus" plan to keep our Eyes High ambitions and strengthen our community in uncertain times. It supports the University of Calgary’s academic and research plans as well as the Indigenous, mental health and sustainability strategies.