Ohio University

Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains Frequently Asked Questions regarding Professional Development at Ohio University. Please email uhr@ohio.edu if you have a question that is not addressed below.

Click the question to reveal the answer below.

What is Professional Development Pathways?

Professional Development Pathways is a comprehensive professional development program that provides tools, guidance, and learning opportunities for employees and supervisors to invest in talent development and career growth. The program focuses on the following:

  • identifying competencies (knowledge, skills, and behaviors) required for success in current and future positions

  • using training and certificate programs to develop competencies and add excitement to the development journey

  • providing tools and guidelines to encourage “on-the-job” learning opportunities and development discussions

  • leveraging technology to encourage recognition, provide access to training materials and resources, and to help employees keep track of their learning experiences

Why was Professional Development Pathways created?

To fully support the University’s vision of being “the nation’s best transformative learning community where students realize their potential, faculty advance knowledge, staff achieve excellence, and alumni become global leaders,” each employee should have access to tools, resources, and guidance to support them in their professional development efforts. Professional Development Pathways provides structured learning experiences that are mutually beneficial for a large number of employees, departments, and the university. It also defines critical behaviors, creating a picture of what it looks like for employees to be successful in different types of positions at the University. This opens the door for self-reflection and constructive conversations to help employees be more productive in current positions and prepare for future positions. 

What are badges?

“Badges” refer to special icons or virtual representations of educational achievements. Badges are earned by completing eligible learning experiences in the Professional Development Pathways program. Upon completing an e-learning course, or within one week following a classroom session, a badge will be issued within our Learning Management System to document the completion of the learning experience. A collection of badges in one area of study can lead to a certificate.

What are certificates?

“Certificates” are designed to provide employees with a robust, well-rounded understanding of a particular topic or area of work that is relevant to many University employees in a variety of planning units, functions and departments. Certificates are earned by completing a specified collection of learning experiences within the Professional Development Pathways program. Each learning experience is represented by a badge, and a certificate is earned when an employee has collected all required badges as outlined in the certificate requirements.

What certificates are available?

Two certificates, “Purchasing” and “Accounting”, are now offered through the Professional Development Pathways program.  These certificates provide a robust, well-rounded understanding of purchasing and accounting functions at Ohio University.  Any full-time or part-time regular employee of the university who works with purchasing or accounting related processes or information, or would like to prepare for future opportunities that require expertise in these areas, are encouraged to participate in one or both of these certificate programs.

Who can participate?

All full-time and part-time regular employees of Ohio University are welcome and encouraged to participate in the Professional Development Pathways program. Although student employees and temporary employees are welcome to use our competency model and development planning tools to assist in their career development, they do not have access to our Learning Management System and are not able to participate in Professional Development Pathways courses and certificates.

Can I participate in a certificate program if my current job is not directly related to the certificate?

In some situations, courses or certificate programs may be limited to employees working in specific roles or positions. However, generally speaking, employees may participate in courses or certificates within the Professional Development Pathways Program as long as they satisfy prerequisite requirements where applicable, are able to complete assigned pre-work and homework assignments, and the course or certificate program is aligned with job requirements or professional development goals.

Does my supervisor need to approve my participation?

Although a written sign-off by the supervisor is not required to register for classes, participants must still discuss participation in the program with their supervisors ahead of time to get their support. Participation in the program generally requires time away from work which must be approved by the supervisor. Also, depending on the nature of an employee’s job and the learning experiences, there could be great opportunities to apply new skills and learning to the employee’s current job. Application of new skills is very beneficial for the employee and the department, so ongoing discussion about progress in the program is encouraged.

Can I take courses outside of work, on my own time?

Professional Development Pathways courses are designed to provide direct benefits for employees, their departments and the University. Since participants are regular employees of the University and are expected to transfer knowledge and skills from the courses to current or future jobs at the University, all courses are considered to be “University-sponsored” training, and participation should be worked into an employee’s work schedule. This requires employees to coordinate participation with their supervisors. Although supervisors are encouraged to offer reasonable flexibility to accommodate reasonable participation in University-sponsored training activities, employee performance or department operations should not be negatively impacted as a result of an employee’s participation in these activities.

Can I take just one or two courses in a certificate, or do I need to complete the entire certificate program?

Completion of courses and certificates are voluntary. As long as prerequisites and other participation requirements are met, employees can participate in one or more courses in a certificate program without completing the remaining courses.

Are these new certificates going to become requirements for certain jobs?

The Professional Development Pathways program is focused on providing professional development opportunities for regular full-time and part-time employees. The establishment of job requirements is handled outside of this program. However, since Professional Development Pathways certificates are designed to provide employees with a robust, well-rounded understanding of a particular topic or area of work, it is possible for certificates to be identified as “preferred requirements” for certain positions where the knowledge and skills obtained through the certificate program are frequently used in that position. In these situations, the certificate would represent a significant accomplishment, but it would only be one consideration among many others in the selection process.

Should completion of a certificate be included as a performance goal on my performance evaluation?

Performance goals should represent 3-5 of the most important things you will do during the year to successfully execute the responsibilities of your position. In situations where completion of a certificate is intended to significantly increase your knowledge and/or skills in a way that has a significant impact on the performance of the primary duties of your job, it might be appropriate to include this as one of your goals. If so, the impact of having the certificate (i.e. what you will do with the enhanced knowledge and/or skills) should also be stated in your performance goal. If completion of a certificate is mostly for development purposes and not significantly related to your primary job duties, it may be better to include goals that are more directly related to successful completion of your job.

Will this program be tied to my pay?

Not directly. Professional development and merit-based compensation are separate programs that focus on different things. In cases where development activities, or lack thereof, significantly affect an employee’s performance, the resulting performance rating may have an impact on merit-based increases. However, compensation in a pay for performance environment is not directly impacted by the completion of badges or certificates.

Is there a cost associated with this program?

Generally, there is no cost to participate in a certificate program unless the university must pay for materials or services from an outside vendor or internal planning unit or college. In these situations, the cost of the materials and/or services will be specified upfront and passed along to the planning unit at the time of registration.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the Professional Development Pathways Program?

Employees are encouraged to check out the “Professional Development” pages on the HR website to get information about Professional Development Pathways. The website includes the most current information on available certificates and courses, access to our competency model and Learning Management System, links to additional development resources, and a list of frequently asked questions. For non-technical questions that are not answered by visiting the website, please contact the HR Employee Service Center or your HR Liaison. You can also email questions to uhr@ohio.edu.  For questions about the Blackboard Learning Management System, contact the OIT Help Desk at 740-593-1222 or servicedesk@ohio.edu.

Will I get a badge for recent training experiences that were offered through the University?

Recent participants in learning experiences that lead to badges in our new Professional Development Pathways program will get credit for their participation as long as participation was tracked, the training occurred during 2017, and the training itself qualifies for a badge. For instance, participation was tracked for the Financial Systems Enhancements training sessions.  If one or more of these courses are included in the new “Accounting” or “Purchasing” certificates, and an employee participated in this training in 2017 or 2018, the employee will automatically receive the appropriate badge(s).

I'm signed up for training as part of another program; will it be included in Professional Development Pathways?

There are many types of training and sources for professional development available to University employees; however, we do not have one centralized system to track and coordinate all this activity. If a learning experience or training activity is not identified as part of the Professional Development Pathways Program, it will not be tracked in the Learning Management System or count towards certificate requirements. 

Will I get college credit for participating in a certificate program?

Courses and certificate programs within Professional Development Pathways are designed to provide practical, hands-on skills employees can use right away in current or future positions. Although these learning experiences are designed to provide significant professional development opportunities, they are not intended to replace college courses and have not been evaluated for college credit.

If I am already an “expert” on the subject contained in a course or certificate program, can I get credit for that?

Some general knowledge or skills courses may offer a “test-out” option to allow employees with a high level of skill to get credit for a course without completing the full course. This is more difficult in classroom experiences or courses that are related to university-specific processes, systems, or compliance requirements. Because certificates are made up of several learning experiences, it is unlikely that someone could test-out of all courses associated with a certificate. Even when an employee has the knowledge/skill required to test out of a course, participation is still encouraged since the course might serve as a good “refresher” and since participants often benefit from each other’s perspectives.

Will professional licenses and certificates awarded outside the University be tracked and credited in this new system?

No. At least initially, our focus is on creating internal programs that are designed to meet specific needs of the University and a broad section of our employees. Professional certifications and licenses are very important, and in some cases required, for certain positions. However, the Professional Development Pathways Program is an internal program that is not part of that structure.

If I take a course that is listed as a requirement for multiple certificates, will my participation in that course count towards the requirements for the other certificates, or do I need to re-take the course multiple times?

Successful completion of a course can count towards requirements for multiple certificates. Keep in mind, though, that course content may change over time which could result in a need to retake the course in order to remain current.

Do certificates or courses expire? If so, what happens then?

All courses and certificate programs will be reviewed annually to ensure that Professional Development Pathways content is up-to-date and relevant. In situations where a course requires significant updates, participants may be required to re-take the revised course within a specified period of time. If the revised course is not completed in the specified time frame, the employee will no longer have credit for that course, which could result in deactivation of the certificate until the missing courses are taken.

I completed the “Introduction to Blackboard” course. Is that part of a Professional Development Pathways certificate?

No. The Introduction to Blackboard course is an introduction to the Blackboard Learning Management System and does not count toward any of the Professional Development Pathways certificates. However, a badge is awarded upon completion as a way of welcoming employees to the program.

I heard that I can post badges to LinkedIn and other social media sites. How do I do that?

Badges awarded in Blackboard will show up in the “My Achievements” section.  These badges can be posted to social media, but this is not a primary feature of our program so technical support is not available from OIT or the Employee Service Center.  For more information, access the Mozilla Backpack FAQ (WORD).

How can I enroll for a course or a certificate?

To enroll in a Professional Development Pathways Course, go to the HR/Professional Development Website and select the “Courses” option. If you would like to register for one of the courses, click the “register” option and follow the enrollment instructions.  Please allow at least one week for your enrollment request to be processed.  You may also need to allow one additional week for classroom or instructor-led sessions to complete required pre-work, if applicable. You will receive a confirmation notice via university email once your registration request has been processed.  If the course is part of a certificate program at the time of your enrollment, you will be automatically enrolled in the certificate program as well.

I registered for a class but didn’t get a confirmation (or accidentally deleted it), what should I do?

Please allow up to one week for enrollment requests to be processed, and check junk and clutter folders to see if your confirmation was diverted to another box in your email. Confirmation notices are automatically sent to employees’ Ohio University email accounts when the enrollment is processed by the Professional Development Pathways enrollment administrator. If you are sure that you registered for a course and you do not receive a confirmation notice within a week, or if you accidentally deleted your notice, contact Melissa Weaver at  weaverm1@ohio.edu.

I registered for a class, but I can no longer attend. Should I notify someone so another person can take my place?

In many cases, seating is limited for classroom, or “instructor-led”, sessions.  If you are enrolled and no longer able to attend an “instructor-led” course please contact Melissa Weaver at weaverm1@ohio.edu and provide the date, time, location and name of the course you are not able to attend. If enough notice is provided, this might allow another person to attend the training. It is not necessary to do this for e-learning or “on-line” courses.

I am unable to register for the class. I am getting an error when I try to access the registration form. What should I do?

Please contact Melissa Weaver at weaverm1@ohio.edu with enrollment related issues.

I am enrolled in a course, but I can’t find it in Blackboard. All I see is a certificate name. How do I find my course?

If a course is part of a certificate in the Professional Development Pathways program, you were automatically enrolled in that certificate, and your course will be located inside either the Core or Electives folder inside the Certificate folder. You are not obligated to take the other courses within that certificate, this is just how Blackboard is set up.  Your confirmation email should tell you exactly where to find your course.

I registered for an instructor-led training session, but I do not see any pre-work listed for this course when I log into Blackboard. What should I do?

Some instructor-led courses may not include pre-work or supplemental materials. If the course does not contain a folder titled “Pre-work and Supplemental Material,” the course probably does not require pre-work.

If I begin an e-learning course, than have to stop for some reason, will I need to start over?

No. When you go back into the course, you will be asked if you wish to continue from where you left off.  Click OK to proceed from where you left off.

I completed a course that was offered through Professional Development Pathways, but I do not see a badge for it in the My Achievements section when I login to Blackboard.

Please allow up to one week following the completion of instructor-led courses for the badge to show up in Blackboard. Badges for e-learning courses should appear within a day. If you have completed a Professional Development Pathways course and did not receive a badge within one week of completing the course, you can contact Melissa Weaver at weaverm1@ohio.edu so the issue can be investigated.

I completed an e-learning course, but my badge is showing up as “unearned.” What should I do?

If you are sure you completed the course, allow a day for the badge status to update.  If the badge is not awarded after that, please contact the IT Service Desk at (740) 593-1222 or servicedesk@ohio.edu.

Who do I contact if I am having trouble navigating in Blackboard, or if Blackboard is not functioning properly?

Be sure to take the “Introduction to Blackboard” course by logging in to Blackboard using your OHIO ID and password, then clicking on “{Planning Unit Name} – Introduction to Blackboard” under My Organizations.  If you have already taken this course and are still experiencing problems, please contact the IT Service Desk at (740) 593-1222 or servicedesk@ohio.edu.

What is Skillport?

Skillport is OHIO University’s new eLearning Portal, which hosts over 6000 eLearning courses, books and videos.

Who can use Skillport?

Skillport is available for OHIO University’s regular staff and faculty members.

How do I log in?

Skillport uses OHIO’s Single Sign-on System—simply use your OHIO ID and Password to log in and start learning.

How do I find learning materials on Skillport?

There are a few ways to find ways to learn on Skllport:

  1. Click on Browse Library at the top—the Drop-Down Menu has several options available
    a. On the left, you’ll find some categories provided by Skillport’s own library
    b. In the middle, you’ll find some categories specific to OHIO University
     
  2. You can use the Search Content box at the top—simply enter some search terms and begin browsing (for example: searching for “google docs” will bring up several courses on how to use Google Docs)
What’s a Learning Plan?

A Learning Plan is a way to curate and save your eLearning materials.  For more information on how to set this up, please visit the Skillport Learner Knowledge Base page.

What’s “My eLearning History"?

This is a complete history of your progress within Skillport.  You can use this section to track your progress and find past courses you have taken for future reference.

Can I change my profile information?

You can contact the Skillport Site Admin at mgreene@ohio.edu.