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Challenge UPCEA Challenge:  Creating a Common Currency for Alternative Credentials
UPCEA Challenge:  Creating a Common Currency for Alternative Credentials
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 353
Posted: Jan 04 2016
Challenge ID: 9933506
Team Project Rooms are available on this Challenge. Team Share Challenge Share

Credentials are used by employers to determine whether a job seeker has the relevant skills and knowledge to contribute successfully within an organization. With the growth of online education courses and hands-on learning opportunities, it is possible to acquire certifications and other credentials outside of a credit-based degree program. It is important to be able to understand the values of these credentials and to compare them in relation to each other. UPCEA believes that it is time to develop a new system of alternative credentials, especially focusing on skills valued by employers, such as an individual’s ability to communicate effectively. 

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.


It is now widely understood that the United States cannot reach its degree attainment goals using only traditional milestones such as associate, baccalaureate or graduate degrees. This problem has profound implications for national competitiveness and a democratic society. 

While it is true that there has been a recent proliferation of alternative credentials such as certificates, badges, and endorsements, the transformative potential of this development has been severely limited by the absence of a common ”currency” that is recognized by employers, academics, and students alike as having value. 

UPCEA seeks proposals for a prototype of a credential that signals to employers in clear, verifiable ways that an individual  can communicate effectively. 

This is a special Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The awards will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $10,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,000. 

  • At the discretion of UPCEA, the winning Solver(s) of this Challenge may be given a unique opportunity to attend and present their ideas to a distinguished panel at either the UPCEA Annual Conference in San Diego (April 7-9, 2016) or the Summit for Online Leadership in Washington, DC (June 27-29, 2016)

  • Submission forwarding occurs during the Challenge.  Since submissions will be forwarded to the Seeker throughout the Challenge, please make sure you upload only a finished proposal. You can submit an updated version of your proposal only as a new submission. If you submit an updated version of your proposal, please clearly indicate the new items and/or edits compared to your previous submission. This will allow the Seeker to quickly find the new information and determine how it improves your submission. 

  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on February 18, 2016. 

Late submissions will not be considered. 

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the finalists. All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided


The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA now serves more than 400 institutions, including most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. For 100 years, the association has served its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA also builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners and public policy issues.

What is InnoCentive?
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge?

An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.

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