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A Typology of Institutional Practices for the Recognition of Open Learning in Europe: Some Findings from the OpenCred Study

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1. A Typology of Institutional Practices for the Recognition of Open Learning in Europe: Some Findings from the OpenCred Study By Gabi Witthaus (ILI, University of…
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  • 1. A Typology of Institutional Practices for the Recognition of Open Learning in Europe: Some Findings from the OpenCred Study By Gabi Witthaus (ILI, University of Leicester) and Andreia Inamorato dos Santos (European Commission, JRC IPTS ) OER15, 14-15 April 2015: Cardiff, Wales
  • 2. OpenCred Study • Aim: to support European policy development • May to November 2014 • University of Leicester and European Commission (JRC IPTS) • Investigated institutional strategies to recognise non-formal, open learning
  • 3. OpenCred methodology • Desk research – MOOC portals, journals, e-mails to colleagues across EU • Six interviews: – 2 MOOC teachers – 2 MOOC learners – 2 employers/employer bodies • Analysis – Identification of key factors that influence recognition – Development of diamond model – Analysis of cases using diamond model
  • 4. First key finding: There are degrees of formality of recognition
  • 5. Formality of recognition Level Descriptors 0 No recognition 1 Completion certificate/badge 2 Certificate/badge with online identity verification (e.g. Signature Track, Accredible) 3 - Exemption from entrance exam - Certificate conferring up to 4 ECTS credits 4 - Certificate conferring a minimum of 5 ECTS credits - Exemption from a course at issuing institution - ‘Gold standard’ certificate (information, ID verification, supervision) - Continuing professional development (CPD) credits
  • 6. ‘Gold standard’ certificates Certificate from an accredited institution which: a) ‘formally and clearly states on whose authority it was issued, provides information on the content, level and study load, states that the holder has achieved the desired learning objectives, provides information on the testing methods employed and lists the credits obtained, according to a standard international system or in some other acceptable format b) is demonstrably and clearly based on authentication [i.e. student’s identity is verified] and c) states that the examinations have been administered under supervision and specifies the nature of this supervision.’ (NVAO 2014, p.9)
  • 7. Second key finding Factors that have the greatest impact on formality of recognition are: 1. Robustness of assessment 2. Affordability of assessment for learners 3. Learners’ eligibility for assessment
  • 8. Robustness of assessment Level Descriptors 0 No assessment 1 - Record of completion of activities - Self-assessment - Automated checking, e.g. MCQs (No ID verification) - Peer assessment (No ID verification) 2 Online exam with ID verification but no real-time supervision (e.g. Signature Track, Accredible) 3 - Submission of coursework where student is personally known to examiner (f2f or online) - Online exam with ID verification and real-time proctoring (e.g. ProctorU, Proctor2Me, Remote Proctor) 4 - On-site exam (including ‘challenge exams’) - RPL conducted by recognised experts
  • 9. Affordability for learners (cost of assessment/ certificate) Level Descriptors 0 150 EUR or more 1 81 to 149 EUR 2 20 to 80 EUR 3 1 to 19 EUR 4 No cost to learners
  • 10. Eligibility for assessment/recognition Level Descriptors 0 No assessment 1 Only members of a specified group/ profession are eligible for completion certificates or badges (CPD) 2 Credit-bearing exams only for registered students 3 Exam available to all, but only students enrolled on programme are eligible for academic credit 4 Everyone is eligible for assessment and recognition
  • 11. OpenCred Diamond 0 1 2 3 4 Formality of recognition Affordability for learner Robustness of assessment Eligibility for assessment/recogniti on
  • 12. Third key finding Several different diamond-shaped models emerged, representing different types of open courses
  • 13. Examples of recognition models 1. Typical MOOC with little or no recognition 2. Freemium MOOC: learner pays for assessment 3. MOOC with recognition for enrolled students
  • 14. 1. Typical MOOC (little/no recognition) E.g. CARNET (Croatia) MOOC on Developing Courses in Moodle 0 1 2 3 4 Formality of recognition Affordability for learner Robustness of assessment Eligibility for assessment/recogniti on
  • 15. 2. Freemium-model MOOC E.g. University of Osnabrueck MOOC on Data Structures & Algorithms 0 1 2 3 4 Formality of recognition Affordability for learner Robustness of assessment Eligibility for assessment/recogniti on
  • 16. 3. MOOC with recognition for enrolled students E.g. University of Nicosia MOOC on Digital Currencies 0 1 2 3 4 Formality of recognition Affordability for learner Robustness of assessment Eligibility for assessment/recogniti on
  • 17. Conclusions • Robust assessment is central to recognition – Institutions either pass on the cost to learners or restrict eligibility. • Recognition only partial – no whole degrees yet • Online education and assessment still seen by many as less rigorous • On-site exams with identity validation and real- time supervision are seen as being most robust form of assessment • ECTS credits are not yet a widely accepted currency for recognition of open learning
  • 18. Recommendations to HEIs • Give clear info to learners on open course portals about assessment and recognition • Give comprehensive info about assessment on certificates/ badges • OpenCred framework – a tool for analysing your institution’s recognition model • Collaboration between institutions (e.g. VMPass, OERu) can help learners reap benefits of open learning
  • 19. Key OpenCred References Andrade, A., Ehlers, U., Caine, A., Carneiro, R., Conole, G. & Kairamo, A. (2011) Beyond OER: Shifting Focus to Open Educational Practices, OPAL Report 2011. Link Camilleri, A.F. & Tannhäuser, A.C. (2013) ‘Chapter 4: Assessment and Recognition of Open Learning’, in L. Squires and A. Meiszner (eds) Openness and Education. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.85-118. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2013) Maturing of the MOOC; BIS Research Paper 130, September 2013. Link European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (2014). Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Access, Retention and Employability 2014. Eurydice Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union Eurotech Universities (2014) EuroTech Universities session animates debate on MOOCs and future of education at ESOF2014, 7 July 2014. Link Gaebel, M. (2014) MOOCs: Massive Open Online Course, EUA occasional papers. Link Khalil, H. & Ebner, M., 2014. MOOCs Completion Rates and Possible Methods to Improve Retention - A Literature Review. In World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications. Tampere: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA, pp. 1305–1313. Link NVAO (2014) MOOCs and Online HE: A Survey, The Hague: Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders Link Open Education Special Interest Group (2014) Open Education Trend Report, SURF, Netherlands. Link Verstelle, M., Schreuder, M. & Jelgerhuis, H., 2014. Recognition of MOOCs in the Education Sector. 2014 Open Education Trend Report, (March), pp.24–25. Link
  • 20. For further info Witthaus, G., Childs, M., Nkuyubwatsi, B., Conole, G., Inamorato Dos Santos, A. & Punie, Y., 2015. An Assessment-Recognition Matrix for Analysing Institutional Practices in the Recognition of Open Learning. eLearning Papers, January (40), pp.32–42. Link
  • 21. Disclaimer: The views expressed here are purely those of the authors and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission. Thank you!
  • 22. And finally… © G. Witthaus on Flickr CC-BY
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