Badges, Transcripts, and Skills – Oh My!

A rising trend in higher education is moving beyond the traditional transcript of courses to a skills-based student record known as ‘alternative credentialing‘ or simply ‘badging.’  Today a report was issued calling for an increase in badging across the board as a way to recognize the changing skills-based landscape of higher education and graduate education in particular.

The UPCEA report explains, “Non-credit training courses, non-credit certificate programs, and micro-credentialing all provide learners with less expensive and faster alternatives to traditional degree programs. Degree holders now acquire professional licenses, education certificates and other alternative credentials from a myriad of providers, including their professional associations and online programs as well as traditional higher education institutions.

Are badges the future of higher education?  Should transcripts reflect not just courses and degree programs but skill sets?  And how can we ensure transferability and equanimity of skills in a badging environment?

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