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The development of micro-credentials in higher education at the forefront during CIVIS Madrid Staff Week

11 julio 2023
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Last month (26-30 June 2023), the CIVIS staff week coordinated by Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, member of the CIVIS Alliance, took place in the city of Madrid. The opening event of the staff week was held in the heart of the city, where participants were welcomed by the Vice-rector of Internationalisation, Irene Martín, and the Director of the Centre for Life-long Learning, Luis Unceta, who opened the event and underlined the relevance of micro-credentials in higher education institutions. During the CIVIS Staff Week in Madrid, several topics around micro-credentials were mainly tackled.  

The first day, the emphasis of the discussions among others, was given on:

- The relevance of micro-credentials for higher education institutions in order to leverage their educational offer

-The Director of Institutional Development of the European University Association, Maria Kelo, presented the EU context regarding micro-credentials and provided a comprehensive picture of the current development at the European level

- The role of the micro-credentials in the new educational philosophy was introduced by Romita Iucu, the President of the Board of Trustees of the University of Bucharest and Co-Chair of FOR-EU Subgroup on European Degrees / CIVIS, and Alexandru Cartis, Head of CIVIS Education Unit, University of Bucharest

- The role of the micro-credentials in relation to digital credentials

The forementioned were complemented by an industry perspective provided by Kate Fleming, Global Marketer Skills Training at Google, who provided an industry perspective on how training takes place in Google and how micro-credentials can be useful when it comes to skilling the workforce. Moreover, using a hands-on approach, participants discussed the challenges of implementing micro-credentials, and came up with different solutions to overcome those barriers. It is also noteworthy to refer that participants were also able during the discussion to learn more about the technical perspective of micro-credentials thanks to the IT experts, Antonio Ruiz (Universidad de Murcia) and Iván Builes (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid / CIVIS), who presented the Spain-based project CertiDigital and elaborated on the role of micro-credentials in relation to digital credentials. The session included a practical workshop where participants became familiar with the Europass tool and were able to explore some of the technicalities of micro-credentials from two Spanish universities. 

The second day, the focus of the roundtable discussions was given to civic engagement, where the 2030 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by all United Nations (UN) Member States were underscored. Participants also learned about UNITA Alliance and how they are approaching micro-credentials for multilinguism, as a good practice case study-example. In addition, challenge-based learning was presented, and participants had a workshop to discuss what challenges they would approach in their institutions using this methodology. 

The third day, was partly devoted to teamwork, combining with two interesting theoretical and practical sessions on how to approach assessment when it comes to competences and on how to design a student-centred micro-credential.  

The last day, the event closed with participants as protagonists, presenting the results of their teamwork: their own micro-credential on topics such as marketing or civic engagement. Participants ended the staff week with a presentation focusing on what they learned. At the end, they received their certificates and all had the chance to mingle during the farewell cocktail! 

In a nutshell, the whole experience of the CIVIS Madrid Staff Week was really fruitful according to the participants, in the framework of exchanging knowledge and sharing experiences.

Dr. Georg Hauzenberger from Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, highlights the importance of the event:

I would like to add my sincere thanks for an absolutely lovely, intense and highly informative week in Madrid. It was spectacular! I, for one, took with me much to think about and to carry back into my own team and university. Thank you so much for the great hospitality and the awesome organisation. It was a great opportunity to meet and discuss in depth, a format that has been sorely missed these past few years… Also, of course, thank you for the lovely photo documentation, even including certain supplications to the gods of video conference technology!

Also, thanks to all the colleagues and presenters/trainers who took the time to participate, making this a well-rounded event full of great ideas for a sustainable development of micro-credentials within and outside of CIVIS”.