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UC Irvine Extension Tries Project-Based Learning in Certificate Program

A new online leadership certificate program at University of California Irvine's Extension will use direct assessment rather than classroom hours to measure student success. Strategic Leadership Development is intended for executives, managers and others in team lead roles to develop their leadership qualities.

Rather than working through course activities with a cohort of fellow students, those who pursue this certificate complete projects in five areas:

  • Principles of leadership;
  • Creating the strategic vision;
  • Influencing others and effective communication;
  • Leading others; and
  • Delivering results.

Each project will involve developing a case study — either one assigned or chosen from the student's own work experiences — and answering essential questions. For each topic students will be given videos, lectures and readings from multiple sources to study on their own. They can interact with other students in the program through online discussion forums. And "mentors" will be available for individual discussion through online office hours.

The certificate is awarded to those who complete all five projects with a grade of C or better. Students must finish their first project within 90 days of enrollment; they'll have up to five years to complete all five. However, noted Tom Pokladowski, director of law & finance programs at UC Irvine Extension, participants will also have the ability to earn a certificate "in as little as one quarter." Calling the program "unique," he added that it was developed "for those who want to learn new leadership skills and those who want credit for demonstrating competency at leadership skills they've already acquired."

The program is open for enrollment now.

A video about the program is available on YouTube.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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