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Rutgers Offers ‘Micro-Courses’ to Upskill Tech Professionals

The university will offer training certifications, or “stackable credits,” for students to learn technical skills in subjects like blockchain, cybersecurity or data analytics without attending a full degree program.

Rutgers Business School
Rutgers University’s Business School recently introduced a set of certification courses known as “micro-courses” to train students for work in tech-related industries and digitized workplaces, an announcement from the university said.

According to a news release, the new Rutgers Stackable Business Innovation Program, or rSBI, will feature courses for graduate students to learn more about contemporary business topics such as auditing and forensic accounting, data analytics and machine learning, supply chain management, marketing analytics, and managing in the global business environment.

The announcement said the program gives students more flexibility to choose courses as they go, as well as the freedom to go at their own pace. The program also allows students to combine course credits and apply them toward non-degree certificates, or “stackable credentials,” without the need to obtain a master’s degree.

“We are leading the way into the future with new curriculum options that answer the demands of students who want to learn with greater flexibility,” said Business School Dean Lei Lei in a public statement. “Our new programs are designed to allow students to study the topics they choose, linking together classes to build job skills needed for future work in a digital era.”

According to the news release, the goal of the program is to prepare students for a rapidly changing landscape of jobs. It said the new courses reflect emerging trends in higher education to meet growing demand for flexible technical training during COVID-19.

“Stackable programs fulfill the educational mission of lifelong learning for lifelong employability that is geared toward students who want to upskill to stay technically current and relevant in their professions without having to commit the time and money required for a degree program,” Program Director Benjamin Melamed said in a statement.

In a pilot program for undergraduates last year, Rutgers officials tested a set of weeklong modules in one-credit online courses, according to the news release. The content touched upon topics such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies and visualization.

The announcement said students have since enrolled in BYOC (Build Your Own Course) programs, like “Blockchain, Crypto and Cybersecurity,” featuring modules such as “Introduction to Cryptocurrencies,” “Basics of Cybersecurity,” “Cryptocurrency Markets and Ecosystem,” “Fair Value Measure of Cryptocurrency” and “Information Risk Management.”

The idea is to allow students to customize their education for technical training, according to Assistant Professor Hussein Issa.

“A lot of students have heard about blockchain, and they want to learn how it works,” he said. “Think of BYOC as an appetizer. They can take a taste and if they want more, they can take a whole course.”