Campus Collaborations

Micro-credentials bring together the expertise and resources of people from across campus. This chapter provides a guide to productive inter-departmental collaboration at an institution.

Chapter Audience:

  • administrator icon Administrators
  • program managers icon Program Managers

Why Are Campus Collaborations Needed?

Few departments or units in an institution have the expertise, resources, and access to systems required to develop and offer a micro-credential on their own. To successfully create a new program, a unit must engage other units across campus. Collaborations may be with departments that offer support services or other academic departments whose subject matter expertise is called upon to create a multidisciplinary program. This chapter identifies key players and offers questions to consider as a multi-departmental team is assembled to support the project.

Who Are the Stakeholders?

The resources and expertise of several groups across campus may be required to facilitate the successful deployment of a micro-credential. While the list of collaborators will vary with each project and institution, some collaborators to consider are listed in Table 1.

Table 1. List of potential collaborators across campus.
Department or Unit Department or Unit Expertise or Resource to Contribute to a Micro-credential
Academic departments Subject matter experts in departments other than your own can help co-create an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary program by lending their disciplinary knowledge and/or contacts in industry. They can help design, develop, and teach the new program. They may provide financial support for the program and/or agree to a revenue-sharing arrangement.
Alumni office This office maintains contact with graduates, who are often the target of micro-credentials programs. They can provide insight into the skills and needs of this group and facilitate the promotion of relevant micro-credentials to them. In some cases, the alumni and development office may also be able to link to alumni who are now leaders of industry, who could then serve as potential subject matter experts, employer partners, or even sponsors of programs that meet the needs of their company.
Career services centre This group’s close involvement with learners as they transition to the workforce gives them unique insight into their preparedness. Based on this knowledge, they can provide advice on the skills learners need for successful entry into the workforce.
Continuing education unit These units offer short-term, work-aligned training for adult learners. They have contacts in industry and are aware of potential funding sources to support the development of workforce training. These units also tend to have key resources for facilitating and incorporating the input of several stakeholders during the development of a new program, such as project managers and instructional designers, as well as access to systems and resources that support the delivery of non-credit, open-enrollment, and short-term courses.

See section Continuing Education Unit below.

Grants office Micro-credentials often require external financial support to respond to specific needs, or to make the training more accessible. Typically, the funds are managed through the institution’s established channels, such as the grants or research office and possibly the finance department.
Human resources department This department can advise on the labour context for hiring subject matter experts and instructors for the development and delivery of the micro-credential. They can also assist with the hiring process.
Indigenous engagement office This group monitors the institution’s relationships with local Indigenous communities to ensure that proper protocols are followed and communication remains manageable, given the numerous institutional constituents who might wish to engage these communities. Micro-credentials designed for Indigenous audiences or developed in partnership with Indigenous groups to offer the credential should first consult with the institution’s Indigenous engagement office.
Information technology office Depending on the software and equipment required for the micro-credential, it may be a good idea to contact the I.T. department. For example, in some institutions, non-credit students do not have access to certain university services, such as email and the learning management system. Addressing these issues is an important component of micro-credential development.
Marketing department This group can advise on the most effective channels and messages for promoting new programs, for monitoring the outcome of promotional campaigns, and for allocating marketing dollars toward the channels that have the greatest impact. The unit may also have graphic designers to develop media and assets to promote the program. The marketing department often has access to special pricing for advertisements in local newspapers and social media, so it is advantageous to utilize their contacts or accounts. As this department serves the entire institution, it is important to notify them of new projects ahead of time — sometimes months in advance — so that they can allocate resources to support the project amid competing priorities.
Media production department Not all institutions have a media production department, but those that do will find here an invaluable ally in the production of high-quality videos and multimedia for the new course.
Prior learning and assessment recognition (PLAR) office If the goal is for a micro-credential to ladder into other educational opportunities at the institution, then engaging in a conversation with the institution’s PLAR experts can provide insight on the most effective approach. This conversation can also address how to evaluate, recognize, and document learners’ prior experience when there is a prerequisite for admission into the micro-credential.
Registrar’s office The registrar’s office may be able to assist with registration and tuition collection for the micro-credential, as well as offer guidance and support on learning recognition in the form of transcripts or digital badges. Speak to the registrar’s office early in the project, as some student registration systems may not be designed for micro-credentials. In such instances, alternative registration systems may need to be explored.
Senior academic leaders Chairs, directors, and deans should be kept in the loop when any new program is created under their portfolio. These administrators can open doors to partners (such as employers), recruit staff internally, and provide administrative (and sometimes financial) support.
Teaching and learning centre The design and development of a micro-credential follows a different process than the typical approach to new course development at most institutions. The process usually involves a team, including employers, subject matter experts, and faculty. For this reason, the process is facilitated by an instructional designer who uses their expertise to leverage each person’s contribution. Instructional designers can advise on instructional design, including how to create a competency-based program, and they can shed light on the differences between andragogy (curriculum and teaching for an adult audience) and pedagogy (curriculum and teaching practices that target younger learners, which is the most common model used in post-secondary institutions). They also can advise on the selection, design, and use of instructional technology, including accessibility requirements.
Work-integrated learning (WIL) office Given the work-aligned nature of micro-credentials, some programs will include an internship or some sort of work placement. The office of work-integrated learning can link students with work placement opportunities, provide frameworks for ensuring that the field learning is rigorous, document the learning, ensure that the experience meets all safety and other regulations, and manage risks.

Table 1 is not a complete list of potential campus collaborators but is a good place to start. Some questions to consider as you assemble a cross-campus team to support the micro-credential are:

  • Do we have the right team to be making each decision?
  • Are there other people we should be talking to?
  • What resources and expertise do they have? Are there other people we might need?

It is important to reach out early to potential collaborators so that they can schedule the project in their workflow, allocate staff, and ensure their ability to support the project. Early communication is key as each department may have requirements or limitations that can impact the project (e.g., they may not have expertise in a particular area and will need to hire a contractor, requiring you to include this in the project budget).

Conversely, each department has its own internal processes and operations. These should be communicated to the micro-credential team early on to avoid potential issues that may impact the delivery of key deliverables, creating a possible negative ripple effect in other departments.

Continuing Education Unit

The continuing education unit at your institution is, in many ways, an ideal partner for the design and implementation of micro-credentials. As a unit dedicated to offering work-aligned, competency-based, short-term training to adult learners, they have the connections to industry, the expertise to design competency-based programs, and the systems in place to help other units in the institution succeed in putting together their micro-credentials. Indeed, a 2023 survey of 190 North American post-secondary institutions found that 75 per cent of continuing education units offer micro-credentials (Modern Campus, 2023). In B.C., out of 24 pilot micro-credentials funded by the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, at least eight were offered by, or jointly with, schools of continuing education (Claire Sauvé, personal communication; Government of British Columbia, 2021).

“Microcredentials aren’t new, and Continuing Education is the expert in this field. Institutions should look to these leaders when adapting to this new demand in programming.”

Sheila LeBlanc, 2021
associate vice-president for continuing education, University of Calgary

Institutions seem to recognize this, as 60 per cent of continuing education units report collaborating with other academic units and schools (Modern Campus, 2023).

It is important to recognize that as a campus partner, continuing education units are unique. In most institutions, the continuing education unit operates under a different business model from the rest of the institution. Its operations may not be supported by the institution’s base funding. Rather, it operates on a cost-recovery or revenue-generating basis. Indeed, a survey of 190 continuing education units found that revenue generation is the primary business driver for 90 per cent of them (Modern Campus, 2023). In a way, continuing education operates like an independent small business inside the institution.

Many of the non-academic units in an institution, such as the registrar’s office or the marketing department, are supported by the institution’s operational funding and their mission is to support the institution’s academic offerings. They provide this support as part of their operations. However, the self-funded nature of continuing education units means that they must recover their operational costs. They might be amenable to supporting an academic department’s micro-credential project, but they will need to recover their operational costs in doing so.

Schools of continuing education report that a lack of understanding and knowledge about how they operate represents the biggest challenge to collaborating with other parts of their institution (Modern Campus, 2023). Therefore, when engaging with a continuing education unit on a micro-credential project, it is best to inquire about their business model in order to understand some of the financial exigencies and expectations that might come from working together.

Another financial matter to consider arises from the fact that continuing education units often have developed parallel systems and processes to the rest of the institution. These support things like open enrollment (where learners can register for a course without first being admitted to a program or institution), contract training (programs developed or offered to a particular employer), programs that begin and end anytime throughout the semester, non-credit courses, and marketing channels that target an audience that differs from the larger institution. These align with the delivery of micro-credentials. In fact, using these systems and processes can solve some of the challenges of offering micro-credentials that the institution’s systems are not suited to support. However, continuing education units often pay for access to these systems (e.g., pay for access to a different learning management system than the rest of the institution), and these operational costs must be recovered. This is another consideration when partnering with a continuing education unit: These units may have access to appealing resources, staff expertise, and systems, but their costs must be factored into the micro-credential’s budget.

Another thing to keep in mind about continuing education units is their customer-focused approach, driven by their entrepreneurial business model. This includes not only responding to the needs of both learners and employers, but also operating within timelines that align with the business world.  Whereas academia tends to function on a semester system, continuing education units often can implement programs in a matter of days or weeks rather than months, providing faster solutions to employers’ needs on their timeline, not the academy’s.

What this means is that continuing education units are fast-acting. As the leader of one school of continuing education in B.C. expressed: “When I am coordinating the development of a new program for an employer, I need to assemble all of the pieces in a matter of a few days. Academia tends to work by committee, and that takes time. I am happy to go door to door and meet with every stakeholder over a matter of a couple of days and get everyone’s input to come to a good solution, but I cannot wait two weeks to schedule a meeting with everyone there. By then, the employer will have moved on to a competitor to provide the training.”

As a final consideration, it is important to discuss expectations for the final product and its delivery. Adult learners have different expectations in pursing education than those of traditional post-secondary learners, which are typically fresh out of high school. Adult learners expect the curriculum to be relevant and applicable to their lives. They also want opportunities to apply what they have learned to their work context with meaningful and authentic assignments. Moreover, they may have expectations for a polished product, such as professionally produced videos, which is the standard in workplace training. In effect, the expectations may be closer to vocational training. This may be different to the type of product typically offered as part of a diploma, certificate, or degree program. An early conversation about what a desired final product looks like is a wise investment.

Partnering with an institution’s continuing education unit makes sense since they have the expertise and systems to help other departments offer micro-credentials. However, when initiating a partnership, departments may want to clarify the answers to several questions. In addition to questions listed under Guidelines for Productive Collaborations, which apply to collaborations with any campus partner, those considering a partnership with a continuing education unit will want to consider the following questions:

General operation

  • What is the continuing education unit’s business model? Does it operate on a cost-recovery basis? Revenue-generating basis? What are some of the financial exigencies guiding its operations?
  • What is continuing education’s financial expectations in terms of supporting the delivery of a micro-credential? What services can they provide? What expertise can they supply? What are some of the costs of accessing these services and staff?
  • What is the agreement for revenue-sharing between the collaborating departments?
  • What is the evidence from the labour market analysis for the program? (Note: As entrepreneurial, cost-recovery units, continuing education is particularly attentive to this kind of data when making decisions about moving forward with a new program.)
  • Will decisions be reached by consensus? Are some people designated to make decisions after consulting everyone? (Consider the timeline implications, as described in the section above.)

Roles and responsibilities

  • Who may be hired as instructors in the program? If existing faculty at the institution, does the micro-credential count towards their full-time workload? If not, what processes may ensure that there is no conflict of interest, with someone taking on too much? Who will do the hiring of subject matter experts and instructors? (Note: Continuing education sometimes falls outside of an institution’s collective agreement.)
  • How are each team member held accountable? Who has the authority to provide feedback and manage members of the cross-departmental team? (e.g., if a faculty who is a member of an academic department is not meeting their responsibilities on the micro-credential project, can a leader in continuing education fire them from the project, since the faculty does not technically report to this administrator?)


  • Which brand should be used to promote the program — the department’s, continuing education’s, or the institution’s?
  • Who will accept registrations and process tuition payment — the institution’s registrar’s office or continuing education?
  • If the decision is made to use continuing education’s learning management system, which is different to the institution’s, who will train the faculty to use this system?
  • Who awards the credential? Is it the department/institution through the registrar’s office, or is it continuing education?

Guidelines for Productive Collaborations

As a new team forms, it will move through different stages of working collaboratively. Tuckman’s (1965) theory of group development provides a framework for thinking about these stages. Stein (n.d.) describes each one (called forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning), and offers suggestions for how best to leverage each stage to carry out a team project.

Roles and Responsibilities

Once the stakeholders for the development of a new micro-credential are identified, the next step is to clarify their roles and responsibilities. Describing and communicating this to the team will ensure fluid collaboration and mitigate conflicts down the line.

Questions to consider while defining roles include:

  • Who is the sponsor or senior leadership champion for this program?
  • Who owns the project? Who is ultimately accountable for the success or failure of this program? Who will report on it to senior leadership or governance?
  • Who is responsible for assembling and coordinating the team?
  • How are critical implementation decisions made? Who is responsible for approving each deliverable?
  • What are expectations for timelines for all parties? What is an appropriate balance between the need to proceed nimbly and quickly while ensuring quality, and being realistic about what can be accomplished under tight turnarounds?
  • In which unit’s portfolio will this project’s budget fall? Who are the authorized signatories for this budget? Who can authorize payments to vendors? Who controls the budget? Who can make changes to the budget? Who tracks expenses and revenues? How and when will summaries of expenses and revenues be reported to the team?
  • Who will manage the project, track its progress, and identify liabilities and risks if deadlines slip?
  • Who will communicate with the stakeholders to inform them of progress (e.g., scheduling meetings, reminding people of upcoming deadlines for their deliverables, etc.)?
  • How do the partners share risks? (e.g., if the program incurs a loss, how is it spread among partners?)
  • Who will own the intellectual property of the curriculum and its learning resources once it is produced?
  • Where will the student registrations (and their full-time equivalency (FTE)) be reported? (e.g., under continuing education or one of the academic departments involved in the project?)
  • Where will the online component of the course be stored? (Note: Non-credit students may not have access to the institution’s learning management system and work-arounds will need to be found.)
  • What happens after the first offering? Is the goal to re-offer the program? If so, is there a certain point at which the partnership automatically renews or is there a review process after the pilot offering to discuss the possibility of partnering for a second offering?
  • Who assumes primary responsibility for each aspect of the program such as:
    • Who is responsible for identifying, and applying for, funding opportunities (e.g., grants or sponsorships) to support the program?
    • Who will engage external partners, such as employers?
    • Who will ensure that the program has received institutional approval and meets quality standards?
    • Who is responsible for program promotion? Is there a designated person leading all marketing efforts or are different groups responsible for different aspects of it? (For example, faculty may leverage their department’s alumni list to spread the word about the program while the marketing department may use social media to advertise it to new audiences.)
    • Who will write the program description and ensure that it is added to the institution’s website or course catalogue?
    • Who will accept registrations?
    • Who will accept tuition revenues for these registrations?
    • Who will respond to prospective and registered learners’ questions about the program?
    • Who will handle room reservations and ensure the offering’s schedule fits with the institution’s processes and resources?
    • Who will support the technology infrastructure to offer the program, such as the learning management system? (e.g., IT? The centre for teaching and learning? An academic department? The continuing education unit?)
    • Who will purchase the necessary materials, equipment, and course software for the course?
    • Who will develop the program? If multiple people are involved (e.g., an instructional design and a subject matter expert), what is each person’s role in the process? Who can approve the curriculum?
    • Who will search for and hire subject matter experts to develop the program?
    • Who will search for and hire instructors for the program?
    • Who will monitor registration and make a decision on whether the breakeven point has been achieved to offer the program? Who will inform all stakeholders (learners, instructions, and partners) of the decision?
    • Who will monitor all contracts to ensure compliance and process the prompt payment of all invoices?
    • Who is the point of contact for instructors during the program?
    • Who will issue attestations of completion to learners?
    • Who will keep a record of learners who successfully completed the program?
    • Who will archive the curriculum in a safe place for re-use in the future?
    • Who will ensure that the program is evaluated and follow through with this information to improve the program?
    • Who will be responsible for reporting on the program’s outcomes to funders? To governance bodies?

Part of clarifying the roles and responsibilities also means identifying:

  • Each of the project deliverables;
  • When each deliverable is due;
  • Who is responsible for delivering it.


The team will likely need to meet frequently during the development of the project. Setting a recurring meeting time can ensure that team members block their schedule to attend, and that communication takes place on a regular basis. Sharing an agenda ahead of each meeting and minutes after it can provide a record of decisions and ensure that those who could not attend are kept in the loop. Ensure that the length of time for each meeting and its format (i.e., online or in person) fit the goal of each meeting.

The team should also have an agreed upon location for collecting documents and resources as the project progresses. Moreover, all project-related documents, such as meeting minutes and course resources, should be kept on a shared, cloud-based drive.

Another aspect to consider is how to inform the campus community about the project. Micro-credentials are still a novel concept at many institutions, and staff and learners may need to be educated about them. Staff who are not part of the development or implementation team may become indirectly involved; for example, by receiving questions from prospective students. Developing a brief FAQ document and presenting at inter-departmental meetings about the program can help spread the word about the program and get the entire campus up to speed.

Business Models

Discussing the business model for the micro-credential is essential. Is the program going to be offered on a cost-recovery basis? At a loss? As a form of revenue for the institution? The business model sets a financial goal and ensures that all stakeholders understand the driver behind some of the decisions that will be made during the development of the program.

If multiple departments are involved in designing and offering a micro-credential, it’s important to discuss how the revenues will be shared. Will they be split evenly or in favour of one department? Which of the departments that contributed to the micro-credential will take part in the revenue-sharing?

What about risks and costs? Do some departments take on a greater burden of risk? For example, in most instances the cost of developing a program far outweighs the costs of delivering it. Thus, the institution usually operates at a loss until a program has been successfully offered a few times. But what if the program is canceled and as a consequence there are no opportunities to recuperate the costs? Which department(s) bears those costs? If the risks are spread among several departments, what is the ratio of contribution and risks attributed to each one?

Project Charter

A project charter captures this information in one document. Its purpose is to communicate fundamental information about the project to all team members. A blank template can be used during the first team meeting to direct the conversation, articulate goals, clarify roles, set deadlines, and assign accountabilities.

According to McGowan (2016), the project charter for an educational project should contain the following elements:

  1. Project purpose
  2. Measurable objectives and success criteria
  3. High-level requirements
  4. Assumptions/constraints
  5. High-level project description and boundaries
  6. High-level risks
  7. Summary milestone schedule
  8. Summary budget
  9. Stakeholder list
  10. Project approval requirements
  11. Assigned project manager and authority level
  12. Name and authority of the sponsor

It may be helpful in the first team meeting to identify not just the high-level milestones, but also each of the deliverables, including when they are due and who is accountable for each one. This will provide clarity to all team members.

Several project charter templates are available, but the following one, created by Dave Cormier (2022), digital learning specialist at the University of Windsor, was developed especially for micro-credentials. It has been modified from the original document to include the list of deliverables, dates, and accountabilities. Users may add additional sections or delete existing ones based on their needs and context. The template is shown below and is available as a downloadable Excel file: TEMPLATE – Micro-credential Project Charter [XLSX].

Cormier provides the following instructions when using this template:

Micro-credential overview section

  • The overview section defines the micro-credential’s Goals and Objectives. While there are distinctions between these two terms, goals are more conceptual. They speak to the strategy or value that the micro-credential will bring. Objectives are observable changes. They are measurable. One reason to include both goals and objectives is that some people on the team will respond better to aspirational language while others will respond better to concrete language. Articulating both will address all team members’ preferences.
  • The Program Description field can serve as common language for the team when talking about the micro-credential with external people. They can simply copy the description and paste it in an email.
  • The Desired End State serves to identify when the project objectives are met and the project wraps up. There is always the risk of scope creep and/or of the work continuing beyond the intended scope. Having this indicator allows the team to recognize when the intended project is finished, and to determine whether to close the project and move on to the next one or turn it over to the people who will maintain and operate the program as part of regular operations.

Scope section

  • The role of this section is to protect against scope creep. In any project, there are always opportunities to do more than initially intended. However, if these are pursued, the project may never get done, or not done in a timely manner. This section keeps the team and decision-makers focused.
  • The Out of Scope section can also serve as a “parking lot” where excellent ideas are noted for future projects.

Risks section

  • This section allows a team to identify potential risks to the timeline or the completion of the project.
  • The Likelihood of each identified risk is given a score from 1 to 4, with 1 representing an event that is very unlikely to occur, and 4 an event that is very likely to occur. A similar scale is applied to the Impact column, with 1 an event that will have minimal effect on the team’s ability to complete the project as planned, and 4 an event that causes significant disruption.
  • In a risk management matrix, the score given to the likelihood of an event happening is multiplied by the score given to the impact of that event. This score can help to prioritize which mitigation strategy to put into place, with the higher scored risks given greater priority.
  • Critical members of the group will have helpful input for this section. And by having a mitigation strategy in place, the group can adopt a positive, solutions-focused mindset.
Micro-credential Project Charter
Micro-credential Name
Date Created Faculty Lead
Admin Lead Project Contact
Other Contacts Version #
Target Start Date Target End Date
Estimated Funding Required Funding Source
Micro-credential Overview
Goals (How will offering this micro-credential improve the current situation for learners, employers, or other stakeholders?)
Objectives (What measurable changes will happen?)
Program Description (How would this project be explained to a person not involved in it?)
Employer Connection (Define the depth of integration with employers and name them.)
Desired End State (How do we know this project is over?)
Deliverables Responsible Person Due Date
In Scope Out of Scope
Name Role Time Required
Project sponsor
Team lead
Risk Likelihood of Occurrence
(1 to 4)
Impact if it Occurs (1 to 4) Priority
(Likelihood × Impact)
Project Approval
Approved By
Links to Other Documents

Examples of project charters created for a range of educational projects are provided in the Suggested Resources.

Stories from the B.C. Post-secondary Sector

UFV’s Partnership Between the College of Arts and Continuing Education

Carolyn MacLaren is director of continuing education at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). In a partnership between her unit and the UFV college of arts, the institution rolled out a Digital Marketing Micro-credential. Below, she shares her experience of working in partnership with an academic unit in her institution, which was a new way of operating for her unit.


Describe the micro-credential program.

“We wanted to experiment with the micro-credential format. To do this, instructors from continuing education and the faculty in the UFV college of arts developed 15, four-week-long, skills-focused, evening, online courses in digital communication. These courses teach skills like how to use Adobe Photoshop or how to write content for the web. The college of arts already offered three-credit courses on this content area, but we reasoned that these courses may be too intense for what students want and need. Students might want to sample the skillsets they need to function with these software, but taking a full course in it was intimidating and costly. So, we extracted the skills-based, applied content and created a series of short courses. The hope was that it would help students sample skills in a more accessible manner while also allowing them to curate their learning by picking and choosing the skills they wanted for their career.

“Each course was the equivalent of one-credit. They were developed by our instructors and faculty and had gone through the regular approval and quality assurance processes. Students could then choose to do just the one course, which we called a micro-course, or they could do several and earn an array of recognitions for it.

“There were several mapped-out pathways offered to students. Some combinations of three micro-courses could be converted into a three-credit, 100-level course in communications on their transcript. For example, by taking the micro-courses Photoshop Essential, Illustrator for Graphic Design, and Photoshop for Graphic Design, the student was entitled to claim the three-credit course GD 157: Digital Design Media I, which could be used toward degree requirements. Some combination of courses led toward an elective first-year three-credit course. There were five such combinations mapped out to three-credit courses. We were able to do this because we had looked at the learning outcomes of the each one-credit micro-course and found them to be equivalent to the larger three-credit course.

“Finally, if students completed nine specific micro-courses, they earned the micro-credential in digital marketing. We developed a suite of stacked micro-course options to meet a variety of needs.”

Why did continuing education partner with the UFV college of arts to offer this program?

“It came down to logistics. Both continuing education and the UFV college of arts wanted to experiment with this innovative delivery model, but our university systems were not designed to accommodate short, one-credit courses, with open enrollment. Continuing education is set up differently, so we already had those systems in place. It was a natural partnership.

“The courses were offered under the umbrella of continuing education. We took care of marketing the program, put it up on our website to accept student registrations and process payment. We used our platforms to deliver the program online. And we also managed the recognition of learning, meaning that we awarded badges to students who completed course, and communicated with the registrar’s office for those students who wanted to count the credits toward their degree or claim one of the mapped three-credit courses. Because of our labour environment, continuing studies also hired the faculty to teach these courses as contract instructors. This was made possible because we had received funding to support this program, and we were able to compensate instructors at their regular faculty rate. However, the work did not count towards their annual teaching workload — it was work performed in addition to their regular workload.”

What has been the response to this micro-credential?

“Overwhelming! We had expected the micro-courses and the micro-credential to appeal to a combination of external students and to our own learners. We discovered that most students were our existing students. They were attracted by the ability to earn credit toward their degree while curating their own learning and orienting it toward skills that aligned with their career goals. The ‘pick and choose’ approach, made possible by smaller courses, was a success. Interestingly, only about half of students claimed the three-credit course equivalency on their transcript. It turns out that some wanted the first-year course requirement, but many just wanted to learn subjects of interest and be recognized for it on their transcript as one-credit courses. We also believe that, since these courses were offered in shorter ‘modules,’ it was not onerous for students with a full course load to pick up an additional one-credit course.

“We see the potential of this concept for high school students who want to try out university-level courses, and experience our institution, and perhaps even earn advanced placement credits. Unfortunately, the timing of this pilot didn’t allow us to engage high school students. In the future, we view this as a wonderful opportunity for high school students to get ahead and to recruit students to our institution in our academic programs.

“These courses would likely appeal to external students and employers. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to do meaningful employer engagement in this pilot offering. That would be the goal for the next iteration of this program.”

Top Tips from UFV’s Experience

  1. Put the learner first.
    If university systems do not exist to offer flexible pathways that benefit learners, forge partnerships across the institution to create them. Don’t let the absence of existing systems to be a roadblock. Different groups across the institution may hold a piece of the solution.
  2. Have team guiding principles.
    Establish a set of agreed-upon principles on goals and the methods to achieve them to facilitate an effective collaboration between continuing education staff and their academic faculty partners.
  3. Secure needed resources.
    Different groups will have different expectations and needs for resources in order to bring a project to fruition. Investigate these needs early on in the project and find the resources to support them. In the case of UFV, this meant finding the funding to support instructor compensation, since these funds would be unlikely to be recovered by tuition alone.
  4. Engage employers.
    Micro-credentials are new and many employers are unaware of what they are. Involving employers in the development of the micro-credential can help raise awareness, gain buy-in, validate the skills taught and assessed, and gain recognition and acceptance of the credential for hiring purposes. Employers will see the value of this type of short training and may be willing to financially support their employees who wish to take the courses.
  5. Brainstorm prospective learners.
    Consider the possible benefits of completing the micro-credential for a broad range of learners. In the case of UFV, they thought about promoting the program to high school seniors too late to act on it effectively, but this program could clearly benefit them, and UFV plans to promote the micro-course to them next time.

Suggested Resources

Collaborating Across Campus to Offer Micro-credentials

In this article, the co-authors describe the process of intra-institutional collaboration and communication required to ensure that all campus units were aware of, and knew how to answer learner questions about, a new micro-credential program.

Lokey-Vega, A., & Malliett, R. (2022). Lessons learned from launching a micro-credential program. The EvoLLLution.

The Role of Continuing Education Units in the Delivery of Micro-credentials

In this hour-long panel discussion recorded at the 2021 Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE) conference, Paul Mazerolle, president and vice chancellor of the University of New Brunswick, Joanne Duklas, president of Duklas Cornerstone Consulting Inc., Deb Adair, executive director and CEO of Quality Matters, and David Leaser, senior program executive of innovation and growth initiatives at IBM, discuss how micro-credentials expand an institution’s existing suite of credentials and present an opportunity to bring continuing education units into the core of an institution’s operations.

Ahluwalia, A. (moderator), Adair, D., Duklas, J., Leaser, D., & Mazerolle, P. (2021). Panel presentation. 2021 Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE) conference.

In this interview, Sheila LeBlanc, associate vice president of continuing education at the University of Calgary, provides a frank account of some of the challenges in implementing micro-credentials across the academy and how schools of continuing education are positioned to lead the way.

LeBlanc, S. (2021). How continuing education can facilitate the adoption of microcredentials. The EvoLLLution.

In this 20-minute podcast, Kristine Collins, assistant dean of academic programs in the school of continuing studies at University of Toronto, explains the scope of work of schools of continuing education and how their expertise contributes to the delivery of work-aligned adult education such as micro-credentials.

Collins, K. (2021). Creating a constellation of offerings with microcredentials and continuing education. Modern Campus.

Collins, K. (2021). Episode 14: Creating a constellation of offerings with microcredentials and continuing education [Podcast]. Modern Campus

This article summarizes the 2023 State of Continuing Education Report and highlights key findings such as how most schools of continuing education operate, their involvement in micro-credentials, and some of their challenges.

Donadel, A. (2023). Despite high interest, continuing education programs are sputtering. University Business.

How can non-credit continuing education programs help adult learners ladder into academic programs? This article explains some of the challenges and possible solutions for working across campus to develop solutions for adult learners.

Richardson, D. (2018). Working cross-campus to build a flexible and responsive educational ecosystem. The EvoLLLution.

This article explains how continuing education programs serve adult learners for whom an institution’s traditional suite of offering may not be accessible. For this reason, the author argues for the development of pathways from continuing education programs into the institution’s academic programs.

Kunkel, E. (2022). Leveraging continuing education programming in conjunction with traditional degree programs. The EvoLLLution.

In this article, the author explains how schools of continuing education can work in partnership with credit-based faculty in their institutions to offer work-aligned programs for adult learners.

Infanzon, E. (2022). The long-lasting value of workforce and continuing education. The EvoLLLution.

Project Charter

The following examples of project charters were created for a range of educational projects. While capturing information that is similar to what is collected in Cormier’s (2022) template, the documents vary in their details. They are provided to inspire the development of your own document.

In addition, the University of British Columbia’s operational excellence project provides free templates for a variety of project management tools geared toward campus collaborations, including a project charter, a project governance and team structure template, and project plans.

Works Cited

Cormier, D. (2022). Microcredential project charter.

(Note: This is Cormier’s original document, not the version provided in this Toolkit which was modified from the original source.)

Government of British Columbia. (2021, February 8). Micro credentials fast track to high-demand jobs [press release]. Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills

McGowan, K. (2016). Creating a project charter for your eLearning project. LinkedIn.

Modern Campus. (2023). State of Continuing Education 2023.

Stein, J. (n.d.). Using the stages of team development. MIT Human Resources.

Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63(6), 384–399. PMID 14314073.


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BCcampus Micro-credential Toolkit for B.C. Copyright © by Annie Prud'homme-Généreux is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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