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About the UNE Academy of Digital Sciences
The UNE Academy of Digital Sciences was a series of innovative, blended (online and offline) learning courses designed to give learners at all levels the professional and digital skills that are most in-demand by local and national employers. Our collaborators were some of Maine’s best known businesses, including Idexx, Unum, FieldStack, Tyler Technologies and L.L. Bean. Learners who completed a course received a certificate of course completion and had the opportunity to meet with area employers.
The course fee for one (1) 8-week Academy program was $1,450. This course fee included instruction, mentoring, and support as defined in the Academy Guidelines for Learners.
Learners who withdrew during the first week of the course received a refund for 40% of their payment. Learners who withdrew during the second week of the course received a refund for 20% of their payment. Refunds were not available after the second week of the course.
Courses were offered in eight-week sessions. However, within the eight-week window, the courses were designed so that learners could advance through more than half of the course elements at their own pace. All the learning material, assessments and projects for each course were accessible from the first day of each session. Learners set their own pace for learning and engagement, while receiving course support from the Academy. Courses were designed so that learners could complete each one in about 80 hours, or about 10 hours a week.
Each UNE Academy course was similar in length to a college course, and targeted closely to the needs of the profession. Two of our Fundamentals courses provided as much career-relevant experience as a typical first-year college student would receive in the first two courses in their major.
UNE Academy prerequisites
There were no pre-requisites for Academy courses, however, learners had to commit to our learner expectations before registering.
We recommended starting with our “Digital Sciences Essentials” course, which required only curiosity about digital science and digital learning.
The four subsequent “Fundamentals” courses covered more advanced curricula, so we recommended that prospective learners complete our "Find Your Fit" survey and speak with a UNE Academy specialist before registering.
Was the UNE Academy for undergraduates preparing to enter the workforce or people who are already working?
The UNE Academy was designed to support the success of learners at all levels, including students and professionals looking for change or advancement, such as a brush-up or refresher course. The “Essentials” course was general enough to help anyone use digital tools and techniques to solve problems in more complex and effective ways, while the “Fundamentals” courses allowed interested learners to dive deeper into particular areas of focus and learn professional skills.
The “Essentials” course provided an overview of the UNE Academy’s four main career development areas, and more in-depth “Fundamentals” courses were offered in each of these areas:
- Development and Programming
- Interaction and Interface
- Analysis and Data
- Project Management
The “Essentials” overview was designed to provide a brief introduction to the subject matter. For beginners especially, it gave an excellent opportunity to explore and assess interests in the digital professions before making a larger investment of time and money.
Each “Fundamentals” course was a deeper dive, designed to give learners employer-ready, professional-level skills in that area.
In addition to engaging online learning modules from world-class instructors, learners took on a workplace-relevant project cycle with each course, supported by mentors who are accomplished local professionals.
Through the project component of each course, we ensured that learners were able to apply their learning to real-world activities relevant to the workplaces of leading Maine businesses. Mentors guided learners through work to make sure it was up-to-date and applicable to what’s going on in today’s business world.
Learners also had the opportunity to meet professionals at regularly scheduled events and meetings, both in person on UNE's Portland campus and virtually online.
Find more information about Course Elements, Competencies, Support Resources, and Computer Proficiency, Hardware, and Software Requirements in our Academy Guidelines for Learners.