As part of Continuing Education’s regular program revamp, the Project Management Certificate Program was recently redesigned. After surveying a focus group of local employers about the ideal skill set they’d like to see in a project manager, the program’s advisory board set to work to take the program to the next level in maximizing its ability to meet evolving employer needs. Once we identified the changes needed, a team of instructors and instructional designers met in the Fall of 2012 to begin redesigning the program.
One key element of the redesign was the addition of skills checks to every course. These exercises provide an objective measurement to ensure that students have fulfilled all course objectives upon completion of each course. Along with the addition of skills checks, all course content has been updated, and the number of hours earned from courses has changed. Previously, most courses counted for 15 hours toward the completion of a Project Management Certificate. Now, courses have been weighted to provide more or fewer hours based on the amount of material they cover.
In addition, the redesign team used student feedback to redesign elective offerings to better meet student’s needs. As a result, the list of elective courses was shortened, and the remaining elective courses were separated into two sets. Now, one set of elective courses covers technical skills, and the other covers soft skills such as giving presentations or building teams. Project managers need to plan, develop, guide, report, and present, and the newly redesigned program aims to help students develop this diverse skill set.
According to Program Manager Robin Ballard, the newly redesigned Project Management Certificate Program has received very complimentary evaluations from students, who have remarked that the redesign encourages greater student engagement. Students have also praised the addition of skill checks to every course. These changes among others have made a big difference in student preparedness and satisfaction, Ballard noted.