Credentialing

Colorado State Adds Milestone Recognition on Route to Degree

Colorado State University is adding awards of completion to its academic programs to keep people motivated as they work towards undergraduate and master's degrees. The university's Global Campus, which delivers instruction online, has introduced the "Degree Optimization" program.

The new awards will be issued when a student finishes between three and five courses that are tied to a specific workplace skill. For example, the undergraduate degree in information technology has two such milestone markers. "IS Management and Architecture" requires passing four courses, including accounting, introduction to computer-based systems, introduction to networks and IT project management. A "Network and Information Security Analysis" award will be given to people who make it through five courses, from basic programming through network enterprise solutions.

"Our degree programs are designed specifically for working adults," explained Global Campus President Becky Takeda-Tinker in a press release. "Beyond the flexibility of online courses that fit with career and family responsibilities, our focused approach created for adult learners means that our students often begin applying what they learn to their jobs the very next day. The degree optimization program helps strengthen the link between academic performance and tangible, shareable, on-the-job relevance that is much needed for today's modern learners."

She added, "The value of completing a degree is not to be understated, but students should not have to wait until the very end of their program to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to their professional development."

The university will track the recognitions presented to each student in its student portal and will allow students to add those to resumes and LinkedIn profiles and use them as talking points in job interviews.

Every degree in the online institution will offer a set of endorsements and awards. Those were developed by degree program coordinators, faculty and program advisory boards, which have industry experts and hiring managers on them. The university expects to adapt the new awards to keep them updated with workplace criteria and needs.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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