Leaders in Online and Professional Continuing Education

Credentials Beyond Degrees – the Role of Professional, Continuing, Online Educators in Credential Innovation - February 2024

Faculty Member

Stacy Chiaramonte 


UPCEA Members: $459

Non-Members: $599


PCO units have long been the leaders championing the development and implementation of innovative educational programs designed to meet the needs of a non-traditional learner. In recent years, new forms of credentialing – micro-credentials, certificates, digital badges, among other designations – have emerged as new measures of educational attainment. These credentials have become far more common in universities and in other sectors of American society. This course delves into the role PCO units play in alternative credentials, from evaluating program opportunities to the design, implementation, quality assurance, and administration of these credentials. How should non-degree credentials be created and run with integrity, clarity in the market, and compatibility within the traditional aspects of the university? This pragmatic course will explore opportunities and obstacles in developing and delivering alternative credentials.  

Topics Covered

  • Current trends in the market for alternative credentials. What is driving demand for these credentials?
  • Creating the right programs for your institution, including partnerships with external stakeholders. 
  • Building the infrastructure at your institution to support these credentials, including institutional standards, student services, and faculty buy-in.
  • Marketing and delivering credential programs.
  • What does the future hold for alternative credentials? How can PCO units better contribute to lifelong learning, personal and professional growth, workforce development, and social equity? 

 Learning Objectives

  • Gain an understanding of the alternative credentials landscape and PCO units’ role in developing this programming.
  • Evaluate the opportunities for your institution. Identify the target audience and types of programming that align best – the who, what and why for your university.  Determine which programs should be credit-bearing, and investigate stackability for these credentials. 
  • Build support for these programs with your leadership and faculty - what are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of programming and how can it be integrated into the portfolio.
  • Develop your university’s standards, policies and processes to ensure rigor and quality of credentials.
  • Collaborate with internal and external partners to successfully develop and launch alternative credential programs, including student record-keeping, access, funding, and support.
  • Develop marketing and communication plans to drive enrollment.
  • Plan for the future of this evolving landscape including accreditation, quality monitoring, program assessment, evaluation of future opportunities. 

Who should take this course? 

New professionals will have an opportunity to explore the multifaceted process and hone in one the skills and knowledge they need immediately to be more effective in their roles. More seasoned professionals will be challenged to review their program planning approach and determine if they can refine or be more inclusive of different components covered in the course. 

Format and Schedule

This is a four week course consisting of about five hours of weekly coursework made up of readings, asynchronous activities, and a weekly one hour live class meeting via Zoom. The schedule for the weekly meetings will be shared soon.

This content will not be available until 02/19/2024 at 10:52 AM (EST)
See what past participants have said about this course: 

"This online course provided an excellent start and foundation in leading my university to develop a proposal plan to develop a microcredential program." Ervin Howard, University of North Georgia

"The content and format of the course was excellent and the resources provided were invaluable!" Peggi Kriegbaum Fresno Pacific University

"I loved that true adult education principles were applied in this course.  The flexibility, the personalization, and the collegiality were exceptional!" Glenda Ballard, St. Edward's University

"Julie was great. She has such a positive, energetic demeaner and it was fun learning from her. She engaged the group well."