What is the University Learning Store?
The University Learning Store represents an important evolution in higher education. Designed for working adults who seek to increase their employability and advance their careers, the online University Learning Store offers a faster, more convenient, and affordable way to learn new skills and earn meaningful credentials from some of the nation’s top universities.
Whether you wish to gain new skills or simply get credentialed for skills you already have, online courses and credentials from the University Learning Store can give you a competitive advantage at every stage of your career, from entry-level employee to experienced professional.
For more about the University Learning Store and why there is a need for this new kind of credential, please see the About page.
Who are the universities that partnered to create the University Learning Store?
The partnering institutions that comprise the University Learning Store are leading global universities that excel in education and research. Their faculties’ knowledge, skills, and teaching acumen are unmatched—no other provider of skills-focused credentials can compare. The partner universities are:
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- University of California Davis
- University of California Irvine
- University of Washington
- University of Wisconsin Extension
What needs or problems does the University Learning Store solve?
The University Learning Store addresses several challenges facing the workforce today:
- The rapid pace of technology now means that working adults must update and upgrade their skills continually throughout their careers.
- Employers are finding it increasingly difficult to attract job applicants who have the technical and “soft” skills they need.
- Traditional credentials such as degrees and certificates can be costly and time consuming, taking months and years to complete.
- Standard assessments are poor measurements of what a person knows and is able to do. Students’ understanding is not verified because their ability to apply knowledge in practice is never tested.
- Today’s transcripts are not adequate indicators of the credential holder’s skills and abilities.
The University Learning Store addresses these challenges by offering online, skills-focused courses and credentials that can be completed quickly and affordably; that assess understanding through rigorous, hands-on demonstrations; that tell employers clearly what job seekers know and can do; and that carry the name recognition and reputation of top universities.
How is the University Learning Store different from other online, skills-based course providers?
The University Learning Store is unique in several ways:
- It is a partnership of respected, nonprofit universities. The University Learning Store is the first skills-focused training platform offered by top universities. The pedigrees and reputations of these institutions give University Learning Store credentials instant credibility with employers.
- Its competency-based education format focuses on what you know, and what you need to learn. If you are already proficient in a competency (skills) area, you can skip the course content and go directly to the assessments. As soon as you pass the assessments, you can move on to the next skill area.
- Authentic assessments are more than simple true/false and multiple-choice tests. These hands-on demonstrations are true tests of your competency. Upon passing an assessment, you and your potential employers can be confident in your ability to perform on the job.
- Verified credentials provide genuine proof of your proficiency in specific skill areas. Clearly worded records tell employers precisely what you have achieved and how you were assessed. All University Learning Store credentials bear the name of the granting institution.
Who can benefit from the University Learning Store?
Individuals at any stage of their career or academic path can benefit from the University Learning Store:
- The entry-level employee who would like to build her skills in business writing
- The experienced professional who wants to learn new skills in leadership or project management
- The aspiring promotion-seeker who wants a credential simply to certify skills he already has
Wherever you are in your career, a University Learning Store credential gives you a trusted way to learn and document your skills so employers will understand exactly what you know and can do.
How can employers benefit from the University Learning Store?
The University Learning Store provides employers with a clear record of specific competencies their current or prospective employees have demonstrated by taking authentic assessments. In addition, by offering an expanding catalog of practical and professional skills, the University Learning Store gives employers an easy and inexpensive way to keep employees up to date and performing at their best. Sign up individual employees or whole teams to promote teamwork and efficiency throughout the workplace.
Are all University Learning Store credentials earned online?
Yes, all courses, learning materials, and assessments are offered completely online. All content is currently hosted on the Canvas Network, an open platform for online courses, and will be through early 2017. A simple Web interface makes it easy for you to access courses, take assessments, and get support when you need it. Look for an update on this site in early 2017 to learn about the future of the University Learning Store, and how we’re moving to a new online. platform to provide a better experience.
What kinds of skills can I learn at the University Learning Store?
The University Learning Store specializes in the skill areas that employers say their employees and job applicants are missing—skills today’s professional workplaces demand.
University Learning Store courses and assessments are organized into three categories:
- Power skills such as communication, teamwork and collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving.
- Technical skills such as those required in business, information technology, agriculture, health care, and sustainability.
- Career-advancement skills such as leadership, public speaking, management, and negotiation.
See the Course Catalog for titles and descriptions of current offerings. Many more courses and credentials are in development and will be available soon.
What kinds of credentials can I earn from the University Learning Store?
The University Learning Store offers two kinds of credentials: verified competencies (a micro-credential earned for completing individual courses) and skills certifications (awarded for completing a series of courses that comprise certifications).
All credentials can be accessed in both digital and printable formats, and bear the name of the granting institution. Credentials are accompanied by clearly worded records that tell employers exactly what you have achieved and how you were assessed. University Learning Store credentials can be both printed and shared with prospective employers electronically, as in a digital portfolio.
How are University Learning Store courses developed?
All course content is developed by subject matter experts affiliated with partnering universities and verified by employers and industry experts to ensure that you learn the competencies (skills and knowledge) required in today’s workplaces. Hands-on, skills-based assessments prove your ability to apply your knowledge in practice, giving employers confidence in what you have learned and what you can accomplish.
What role do employers play in developing coursework and assessments?
Employers and other industry experts review and verify University Learning Store course content to make sure it is representative of the skills and knowledge they require.
What is an “authentic” assessment?
Authentic assessments are tests that resemble real-life situations in workplace settings. For example, an authentic assessment of a student’s ability to develop a business plan would be for that student to write a real business plan for an actual business. Many University Learning Store assessments are hands-on, skills-based demonstrations such as this.
What is competency-based education?
Competency-based education is an approach to teaching and learning that measures student progress based on the learner’s mastery of competencies—the skills, abilities, and knowledge required in an area of study. University Learning Store courses and credentials are based on the competency-based model of education. Courses include authentic assessments that allow learners to advance as soon as they have demonstrated the ability to apply their knowledge in practice.
Do I need to complete assignments to receive a credential?
The only assignments you need to complete to earn a verified competency or skills certification are the assessments associated with each verified competency. There are no required learning activities, and there is no busy work in a University Learning Store course. If you already have the skills you need to demonstrate your proficiency in a skill area, you can skip the course content and move directly to the assessments. University Learning Store course content is simply there to teach you the skills you need to pass the assessments, should you need to learn them.
Do University Learning Store courses award college credit?
Not at this time. We are currently exploring options through which we can offer specific sets of University Learning Store courses for credit.
How can I help improve the University Learning Store during this limited early preview?
The early-access preview offers you a small selection of University Learning Store courses at half off the regular price. During this time, we invite you to take one or more courses—gain new skills and new credentials—and tell us what you think. We will use your feedback to guide future development and course offerings.
How do I enroll?
Enrolling is fast and easy. There is no application to complete and no need to send transcripts. For details on how to enroll, see the How It Works page.
When can I enroll?
The “on-demand” nature of University Learning Store courses means you can enroll anytime, any day of the week, and start your courses immediately.
How long does it take to complete a course?
In keeping with our philosophy of “just-in-time” learning, we aim to keep most courses to one or two weeks in length. Courses may be as short as four hours; others may take 10 to 15 hours to complete. Each course description includes a completion-time estimate to help you plan. If you come to a course with significant experience in a skill area, you may find that you are able to move quickly through the material and earn your credential sooner.
How long do I have to complete a course?
Once enrolled in a course, you will have through March 2017 to complete it.
Can I access my courses from a mobile device?
Yes, you can access all courses (currently hosted by Canvas Network) on your mobile device through any mobile browser. However, we recommend using Canvas mobile applications for an improved user experience. See the Canvas.net Technology Requirements page for recommended system specifications.
Do courses have prerequisites?
Since you can register for any University Learning Store course at will, no courses technically have prerequisites. However, you will notice that in the course description some courses may list a prerequisite. If you see a prerequisite listed, we strongly encourage you to take these courses in the recommended sequence. In addition, some courses may be very difficult to complete without prior knowledge. For example, a course on creating effective business letters and reports may require you to be proficient in English.
What happens if I do not pass the assessments for a course on my first try?
University Learning Store courses include practice assessments and graded assessments. Practice assessments are auto-graded, and you can take them as many times as you need to in order to pass the them. Graded assessments are authentic assessments which generally take the form of an assessor-graded project. For authentic assessments, you will have one attempt to pass. The mastery-level requirement for passing is 80 percent.
Should you fail to pass an authentic assessment, you are free to re-enroll in the course and try again. Standard enrollment fees apply.
What if I do not agree with my final assessment grade?
A student who wishes to appeal a final grade must submit a written grade appeal to ULS@uwex.edu, addressed to the dean. All appeals must detail the basis for the appeal and include any documentation that supports the student’s case. Appeals must be received within 30 days of the date the grade was issued. The dean will investigate the facts of the case and reply with a written decision within seven days of receiving the appeal.
How will I receive my credentials?
Upon earning each micro-credential and certification, you will receive access to both a printable certificate and a digital badge. The printable certificate can be displayed in your office or saved in your human resources file as proof of what you can accomplish. Digital badges are images linked to criteria information meant for display on your LinkedIn page, your own website, and anyplace else they may benefit you.
All credentials bear the name of the granting institution and are accompanied by clearly worded records that tell employers exactly what you have achieved and how you were assessed.
How much do University Learning Store credentials cost?
The first courses offered by the University Learning Store include course content, learning materials, and authentic assessments, and range in price from $50 to $150 each. All University Learning Store courses are available at half price during the initial pilot. Take one or more courses to gain new credentials in specific skill areas, or take all of the courses in a skills track to earn a certification.
Please note that payments made through Canvas Network require you to have a PayPal account.
What payment methods do you accept?
Payments through the Canvas Network (the online platform that hosts University Learning Store courses) are made through PayPal to ensure your purchases are fast, safe, and secure.
Is financial aid available?
Financial aid is not available for University Learning Store courses at this time. A key goal of the University Learning Store is to offer low-cost courses and credentials that are easily affordable for most students without the need for financial aid. With course prices ranging from $50 to $150 each, acquiring new skills and credentials at the University Learning Store costs far less than traditional degree or certificate programs.
What are the technology requirements for using the University Learning Store?
University Learning Store course content and assessments are hosted by Canvas Network and accessible on most mobile devices through your mobile browser. See the Canvas.net Technology Requirements page for more information on recommended specifications. Additionally, you can use our Technical Support page to check whether or not your setup meets the technical requirements for accessing all features in University Learning Store courses.
The Canvas Network supports the last two versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers. For more information about browser support, see Which browsers does Canvas support?.
Who do I contact if I encounter technical problems?
If you need technical support while taking a course, please contact Canvas Network support at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-203-6755.
What is the University Learning Store cancellation and refund policy?
The University Learning Store recognizes and upholds the same cancellation and refund policy as the Canvas Network and is as follows:
Canvas Network Refunds:
For paid registrations in a Canvas Network course, users have up to 14 days after the payment or 14 days after the course(s) starts (whichever comes later). In order to qualify for a refund, users must not have completed more than 50 percent of the course modules or content in a single course. Users may drop the course by going to the Catalog Dashboard. Qualified refund requests may take up to 30 days to process. Users must complete this form to request a refund.