University of Nebraska Medical Center


What is noncredit learning?

Microcredential or noncredit learning is smaller, shorter programs of study that are narrowly focused, so the learner can gain specific skills. The courses will vary in length, usage of multimedia, teaching resources and types of assessment. While many noncredit courses are geared toward busy professionals looking for personal enrichment or professional development, the classes can be designed for all age levels.

Individuals who enroll in noncredit classes are NOT formally admitted to UNMC as a degree or non-degree student, nor do they earn continuing education credits or certification. Instead, noncredit courses offer individuals the opportunity to learn, grow and improve professionally without receiving academic credit or a final grade.

How does noncredit learning work at UNMC?

Noncredit courses are administered by the Office of Noncredit Learning. Courses are housed in NU Advance, which allows internal and external audiences to search for and enroll in professional development courses. 

After faculty identify a need and topic for noncredit learning, they submit their application. The application includes information on the course, instructors, audience, financial details and more. You will also be required to upload all planning documents directly into the application and indicate whether you are requesting grant funding. If approved, faculty are provided next steps on how to set up their course. 

What topic can my course cover?

The topic depends solely on the need your course is addressing. The key thing is to keep noncredit courses focused to just once topic that is broken up into small chunks. Popular noncredit courses generally focus on topics that enhance professional knowledge or skills, enhance personal life skills, or improve hobbies or leisure activities.

To be considered for approval, your course must address a specific need to strengthen professional development and positively impact today's workforce. View current course topics on NU Advance to make sure a similar course doesn't already exist.

How does course design for noncredit classes compare to credit classes?

Credit courses are normally very extensive and focus on all areas of a topic. They tend to include multiple learning objectives and assessment models.

Noncredit courses tend to involve one small aspect of learning with only a few learning objectives. That's because the audience for noncredit and credit courses are vastly different. Busy professionals may not have time for theory, history or excessive background information. Instead, they prefer focused and relevant information they can learn in a short amount of time and immediately apply.

Who develops the course?

If your application is approved, you will receive a course shell in NU Advance where you can start developing your course. You and your team are responsible for building the course and ensuring all content is accurate and follows best practices.

If you have questions regarding multimedia development or instructional technology, email the Office of Noncredit Learning.

Do noncredit courses need to be accessible?

Like credit courses, noncredit and microcredential courses need to be designed to accommodate students with disabilities. View five tips for ADA-compliant inclusive design.

Is funding available to help develop the course?

Internal grants are available from the Office of Noncredit Learning to support course development in 2022 – 2023. Approval is based on merit of the proposal, market impact, number of learners, income generation and budget justification.

There are three award levels based on what stage of development your course is currently in. The grant funding provides a one-time initial award amount, as well as funding to cover the fee to set up the course in NU Advance. View the grant award levels.

What is NU Advance?

NU Advance is the University of Nebraska's course delivery platform for online non-credit and professional development offerings. Learners do not have to be NU for-credit students in order to take courses through NU Advance. 

NU Advance is an easy, cost-efficient way to reach interest groups and organizations. It provides users with a searchable course index, course descriptions, registration, payment and consistent participant experience.

What are the different types of noncredit learning offered by NU Advance?

NU Advance offers three types of noncredit learning:

  1. Bootcamps and academies, which provide depth of knowledge in a specific, skill-based topic. They help individuals understand something new, build a skill, develop a competency and demonstrate new knowledge via a deliverable.
  2. Credentials are offerings that feature a broad range of topics for specific audiences and industries ranging from K-12 to lifelong learners. These courses help individuals learn something new around a specific area of focus.
  3. Masterclasses are led by experts in their field, and are similar to attending a conference. They help individuals build topical awareness and enrichment; connect directly with an expert; interact and engage with fellow participants; and network, reflect and apply the topic to their career and life. 
What are digital badges?

Learners earn a badge that can be displayed on LinkedIn, a digital portfolio, or a digital resume. Badges are a visual representation of the skill they’ve learned. The digital badge is specific to the course, though not all courses will include digital badges.

Who do I contact for more information?

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Office of Noncredit Learning. They can also direct you to resources to help with multimedia design.