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Certifications in Higher Education - Friend or Foe?
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Information Systems)
University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Information Systems)
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Information Systems)
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to investigate the uncritical approach among teachers and students of how certifications are used and applied within higher education. This paper offers a clearer image of how to use certification in a learning environment that support student learning and further developing the academia as a learning organisation.  In the last decade universities worldwide has started to adopt certifications offered by multinational corporations, such as Cisco and Microsoft. For example, Cisco’s curriculum is taught in over 10.000 academies such as universities to more than 1.000.000 students currently, which reveals the huge influences those certifications have for the organisation of courses and examination of academic skills.  Academy and industry needs to collaborate to offer students relevant tools and knowledge, but the lack of uncritical views based on scientific values and proven experience challenges teachers to explicit what knowledge have to be taught within academia to reach further academic goals.  The methods used are initially a literature study to identify positive aspects and challenges with integrated certifications. Based on these results, we have performed interviews with students, teachers and certified instructors with different backgrounds.  Literature describing information and communications technology (ICT) certifications mainly refer to positive aspects such as meeting job market needs, standardisation of courses, and decreased time for course development. Challenges identified raise several questions and call for further investigation. Among challenges identified were companies practically deciding examination criteria, student’s recall learnt material rather than understanding concepts, and the usage of non-academic material.  Interviews reveal that students are aware of many challenges, but still the benefits of achieving a certification outweighs. For instance, students rather accept a course with out-dated material and company decided examination criteria that result in a certification than taking a course based on research and examinations that foster creativity through reflection, analysing skills with no certification.  From a teacher and instructor perspective, the interviews reveal that there is awareness about the challenges of using certifications in higher education. One of the pedagogical issues we would like to present is how to create a learning environment with embedded certification in a course rather than basing courses on certifications alone.  This paper also open up for a discussion on how these results affect other areas than the ICT domain, but also on how the challenges can be tackled from a higher education perspective that rethink the academia as a learning organisation. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Certification, ICT development, higher education, learning organisation
National Category
Pedagogical Work Computer Science
Research subject
Humanities and Social sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-9976OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-9976DiVA: diva2:748109
NU2014, Lärande kulturer, 8-10 October, Umeå
Available from: 2014-09-18 Created: 2014-09-18 Last updated: 2014-09-19Bibliographically approved

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Bergström, ErikCarlén, UrbanLennerholt, Christian
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