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What do we consider “credentials” in 2015? What will we consider “credentials” in 5, 10, or 15 years?


Next week at SXSWedu, edX’s Vice President of Product Beth Porter will discuss this important and relevant topic, and how social professional networks (such as LinkedIn), could be a major part of normalizing these new credential types on the panel entitled “Socializing Credential Innovation.” Beth will be joined by Associate Editor atEdSurge Mary Jo Madda, CEO and Co-Founder of General Assembly Jake Schwartz, and Parchment Inc. CEO Matthew Pittinsky. The panel will take place Tuesday, March 10th from 10:30am to 11:30am at the Hilton Downtown Austin.

A credential is defined as “a qualification, achievement, personal quality, or aspect of a person’s background, typically when used to indicate that they are suitable for something.” To take this definition a step further, credentials may also refer to “a document or certificate proving a person’s identity or qualifications.”

So, is a credential a qualification, or a piece of paper referencing your qualification or competency? This is a hot topic in education today as new types of credentials such as competences, badges, micro-credentials, and online certificates become increasingly popular and recognized by universities, employers, and peers.

With an increasing number of credential types appearing, there has also been rising skepticism and concern relating to these less traditional ways of deeming someone as “qualified.” This skepticism is coupled with a growing concern over whether online credentials are worthwhile investments, as not all employers or universities see new types of credentialing the same way.

For new credentials to gain wide spread acceptance, there must be a market demand and general employer acceptance of these new qualifications. The panel will answer the following questions:

  • Why does bringing credentials online matter in today’s workforce?
  • How can professional platforms and communities help legitimize exisiting and new kinds of credentials and competenies?
  • What kinds of credentials exist today, how are they awarded, and what do they mean to employers?

Join this engaging discussion on how, or if, the social Internet can accelerate the future of credentialing at SXSWedu!