How can higher ed bring transparency to the alternative credential marketplace?

Alternative credentials continue to grow in popularity, though issues remain with transparency around their quality, higher education experts said during a panel on Tuesday at the Education Writers Association's annual conference, held in Baltimore.The exact number of credentials offered in the U.S. is unknown, but there are some recent estimates, noted Martin Kurzweil, a director at Ithaka S+R. In 2015, institutions that received Title IV funds awarded roughly 1 million certificates, and there were 500,000 registered apprenticeships. And in 2016, 18,000 students completed a coding boot camp, and 35 million enrolled in a MOOC, though only about 6% finished a course. As the number of credentials grows, so do efforts to help prospective students navigate the sprawling market."There are some big dark spaces in the landscape that we just don’t know very much about," Kurzweil said. "Quality assurance for these programs … is really patchy."

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