OERu assessment, credit-transfer, credentialing and course reuse scenarios

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Summary of outputs



Contents

Initial consultation on credit-transfer and course articulation



Instructions and consultation schedule

  • Phase 1: Initial consultation and feedback: OERu anchor partners are invited to study this page carefully and provide feedback on any issues and considerations required for successful implementation of each scenario on this wiki page by the close of business on 30 November 2012. (This feedback will be used to design and develop a survey instrument to gauge the "implementability" of the scenarios at OERu anchor partner institutions and identification of relevant planning information. We are aiming to make the survey available by 7 December 2012).
  • Phase 2: Second consultation: Completion of the survey instrument by all anchor partners by close of business on 14 December 2012




Key points

  • OERu partners retain decision-making autonomy regarding all aspects associated with credit transfer, credentialing services and adoption of OERu courses for local teaching in accordance with local institutional policies.
  • The OERu does not confer credentials -- anchor partners award credentials for approved qualifications on their books.
  • The unbundling of services associated with course design, tutorial support, formative and summative assessment enabled by the OERu model generates a number of possibilities for OERu partner engagement in the model.
  • We recognise that OERu partners may not all have policies for recognising prior learning and assessment and where these are in place, they may differ across institutions.




Aims

The purpose of this activity of the OERu logic model is to use the AST1000 prototype course as a situated case study to:
  • Develop a high-level framework to assist OERu partners with the selection, design and implementation of OERu courses to maximise credit transfer and cost-effective provision of credentialing services within the OERu network.
  • Document the scenarios relating to assessment, credit-transfer and credentialing services for implementation by OERu anchor partners.
  • Identify corresponding prerequisites and requirements for maximising successful adoption across the OERu network.




Case Study

Regional relations in Asia and the Pacific (AST1000)

AST1000 is the first OERu prototype course developed by USQ and now available for delivery. The course provides an authentic test case to explore implementation scenarios for assessment, credit-transfer and course reuse among OERu anchor partners. The course is based on the pedagogy of discovery which illustrates how OER can support cost-effective design while enabling students to pursue their own learning interests within the context of a first-year, university-level course. As such, AST1000 provides a unique exemplar for the OERu to interrogate assessment and credentialing scenarios.

OERu anchor partners should review the following before proceeding with the scenarios:



Definition of concepts

To facilitate cross-border comparisons and discussions within the OERu network, the following terminology will be used for this activity:

  • OERu learners are individuals who register to participate in OERu courses hosted on the OER Foundation websites for free on a "AS-IS" and "AS-AVAILABLE" basis without any guarantee or warranty for fitness of any purpose of the free services. Thus there is no contractual relationship between the learner and OERu partner institution. OERu learners may include academic volunteers, learners participating informally out of personal interest and learners intending to enrol for formal assessment and credentialing services at one of the OERTen partner institutions.
  • Course refers to the component units which make up a credential (degree or diploma), for example: a 3 credit course within the North American System, a 15 credit course in New Zealand or 1 unit at the University of Southern Queensland. Typically a course would entail 100 to 150 notional learning hours depending on the region and is sometimes called a semester course.
  • OERu assessor institution is the anchor partner providing formal assessment and credentialing services on a fee for service basis.
  • OERu assessment applicant is a learner who decides to formally enrol and pay assessment fees for the agreed credentialing services for an OERu course at one of the OERTen partner institutions.
  • Parallel delivery mode refers to an OERu anchor partner who offers an OERu course in parallel with OERu learners for full-tuition students enrolled at the respective institution towards a local credential.
  • Target course refers to the OERU course for which credits are sought at the respective anchor partner
  • Source course refers to the course which the OERu learner holds credit, either from an OERu anchor partner or 3rd party institution.
  • Credit transfer is where the credits earned at an accredited institution are recognised towards credits for a local credential at the conferring OERu partner where the learning outcomes of the source and target course are equivalent.
  • Cross credit refers to situations where the target and source courses are not the same entity. However the material covered is deemed equivalent. For cross credit, the learning outcomes in the target course must have been adequately covered in one or more source courses.
  • Credit bank refers to an option for OERTen partners to pre-assess OERu courses and corresponding summative assessment practices for the purposes of supporting credit transfer and / or cross credit through articulation agreements among the partner institutions.
  • Block credit transfer similar to the credit bank option, OERu partners may establish articulation agreements for the transfer of a block of credit rather than on a course-by-course basis.
  • Unspecified elective credit refers to credentials which enable unspecified course electives to be applied for recognition towards the credential.
  • Home institution refers to the OERu partner providing credentialing services and recording course credits on the OERu assessment applicant's transcript.
  • Receiving institution refers to the OERu partner recognising credits from the home institution towards a local credential of the receiving institution.
  • Conferring institution refers to the OERu partner who awards the credential (Certificate, Diploma or Degree)
  • OERu credit transfer guide refers to a document which the partners will develop to list all courses and program transfer agreements among the OERu institutions.
  • Matriculation requirement refers to the minimum number of credits which must be earned at the conferring institution in order for the learner to matriculate for a recognised credential at the respective OERu partner institution.
  • Challenge exam refers to a proctored examination which an OERu learner can sit to challenge for course credit towards a credential at the conferring institution.
  • Course assessment package refers to the collection of summative assignments used for the formal assessment of learning outcomes and may be submitted individually or collectively as an "e-portfolio".
  • Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) refers to the systems and processes institutions may have in place to provide learners with the opportunity to have learning acquired outside of the formal post secondary sector,for instance, knowledge gained through learning experiences such as industry-based training, professional development workshops and seminars, private study and paid and/or volunteer work experience, recognized in the form of academic credit toward the requirements of an OERu partner programme or credential.
  • Portfolio assessment (in the context of PLAR) refers to a process of assessment that shows how your learning matches a set of general competencies or outcomes required either for your chosen program of study or for a particular course (course-based portfolio) within a program of study. Outcomes and assessment protocols are determined by the conferring institution.
  • OERuP1 notion used to different "OERu Partner 1" from OERuP2, OERuP3 etc.

Questions the case study aims to explore

  • Do credentials which cater for unspecified elective credits facilitate greater reuse scenarios of OERu courses and corresponding assessments developed by the contributing partner? That is lower policy barriers for providing local assessment services for externally developed courses?
  • Does the ability to develop local assessment enable greater alignment with local course outcomes without making the source course materials redundant?
  • Can the OERu model diversify local curriculum offerings in a cost-effective way based on the assumption that a partner institution does not need to incur course development costs (but may need to seek local course approvals)?

Overview of potential OERu implementation scenarios

Potential scenarios involve the interaction among:

  1. Options for providing assessment services and reuse alternatives
  2. Processes associated with national, regional and cross-border credit transfer and cross credit options
  3. Types of formal assessment
  4. Flexibility of credentials with regard to unspecified elective credits versus approved courses

Options for assessment services and reuse alternatives for courses and assessments

  1. OERu partner offers assessment services for OERu learners and develops own assessment
  2. OERu partner offers assessment services for OERu learners and reuses (adapts) the assessment from the original developer for OERu assessment applicants on a fee for service basis.
  3. OERu partner offers an OERu course for full tuition and develops own assessment (articulation within the network would be through credit transfer.)
  4. OERu partner offers an OERu course for full tuition and reuses / adapts the assessment from the original developer.

Processes for national and cross-border credit transfer

  1. In house review of course, outcomes and assessments (For example: Office for the Assessment of Professional and Workplace Learning at TESC, Capable NZ at Otago Polytechnic.)
  2. Third party review of course, outcomes and assessments (For example: International qualifications assessment by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, American Council on Education, and transcript reviews from non profits like World Education Services.
  3. Inter OERu partner articulation agreements which may require an audit to ensures that assessment practices meets local quality criteria as well as existing provincial credit transfer guides which list existing program transfer agreements among post-secondary institutions.

Types of formal assessment for OERu credentialing services

Assessment approach Considerations and issues
Course assessment package comprising assignments to be submitted individually or as a single "e-portfolio"
  • Acceptable processes for identity validation (that is confirming that the assessment artefacts were produced by the student applying for course credit.)
Challenge examination
  • Host institution must have processes, infrastructure and policies to support credit by examination models
  • What are the opportunities for existing OERu partners who have the capabilities for challenge exams to provide these services for the network?
Portfolio assessment (PLAR)
  • Provides a policy precedent for assessing OERu courses
  • Presumes host OERu institution has PLAR systems / policies in place
  • How scalable and cost-effective are customised portfolio assessments for the OERu model?

Combinations of the above assessment approaches are possible, but will be treated as discrete alternatives for the first iteration of scenarios.

Flexibility of credentials

There are two options for accrediting OERu courses towards local credentials:

  1. Unspecified elective credits -- more flexible
  2. Existing or new courses with equivalent outcomes to the OERu courses -- implies local course approval.

Scenarios for considering local implementation potential of the AST1000 course

Cross-border assessment and articulation of OER learning is complex. When traditional university services are disaggregated, as in the case of the OERu model, the number of possible scenario configurations increase. The following scenarios suggest a number of possible configurations and implementations for formal assessment and credentialing of OERu learning. Using AST1000 as a situated case study provides a realistic context to identify potential issues, but may not be generalisable beyond the context of this course. However, this is a first step to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and barriers for how the OERu network may operate in the future.

Scenario 1: Own course, own course assessment package, for own credential

OERu partner accredits its own course contribution

Reference OERu course developed by Learner requests assessment services from Assessment developed by Assessment administered by Assessment type Learner uses credit at Credentialing mechanism
Scenario 1 OERuP1
(Lead course developer. In this case study, AST1000 from USQ
OERuP1 OERuP1 OERuP1 Course assessment package OERuP1 OERuP1
Home institution assessment for own qualification

Comments, issues and institutional requirements for successful implementation

  • This is the baseline expectation from OERu partners, namely that they will accredit their own OER course contribution towards a local credential --Mackiwg 04:30, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
  • The network value of this scenario is relatively low, unless reuse components are increased across the network. --Mackiwg 04:14, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
  • University of Wollongong: the value in this scenario is great for us if we can reach more students in our regional areas by teaching in the open, and via successful completion of the OERU offering entice students to enroll in one of our Education Centres - and using the OERu course for credit for a core or elective, depending on the relationship of the OERU course and the enrolled course.
  • University of Glamorgan: All of the courses we develop for OERU will be approved through our quality assurance procedures. So this is easy to secure, but other than its openness and visibility through the partnership adds little additional value as we could already do this without being part of OERU.

Scenario 2: Partner course, own course assessment package, for unspecified credits towards own credential

OERu partner develops its own course assessment package to offer assessment services for an OERu course developed by another partner for unspecified elective credits.

Reference OERu course developed by Learner requests assessment services from Assessment developed by Assessment administered by Assessment type Learner uses credit at Credentialing mechanism
Scenario 2 OERuP1
(Lead course developer. In this case study, AST1000 from USQ
OERuP2
(Partner institution)
OERuP2 OERuP2 Course assessment package OERuP2 OERuP2
Home institution assessment using own assignments for unspecified elective credit for own qualification

Comments, issues and institutional requirements for successful implementation

  • Relatively low inertia threshold for local adoption within credentials that accommodate unspecified elective credits because of own assessment meeting local policy requirements --Mackiwg 04:41, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Presumption, there is a credential which can accommodate the AST1000 learning outcomes as unspecified elective credits.
  • OERuP2 (credentialing institution) saves capital cost for course development and cost-effective vehicle for diversifying curriculum for local students. --Mackiwg 04:41, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Using unspecified elective credits, no need for new local credential approvals --Mackiwg 04:44, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
  • OERuP2 (credentialing institution) manages risks associated with identity validation. --Mackiwg 04:43, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
  • University of Wollongong: does this scenario mean that we could ask the student to sit a Challenge exam or face-to-face presentation and justification of portfolio of OURU assessment package to meet our local subject requirements to provide credit at our institution? If so, this would only be helpful if we had a course that was close to the original offering. IN the case of AST1000, our Arts Faculty might consider a student who has completed AST1000 to pay for assessment for credit for HIST201 (An Ocean of History: An Introduction to the Pacific World), HIST202 (Slavery in the Asia Pacific) or HIST255 (Australia and Asia: Connections and Comparisons).
Hi Sarah, no I don't see that this scenario would necessarily involve a challenge examination (although it could) . The assessing institution would in theory be able to apply any assessment approach, and we could perhaps extend this scenario to include alternative assessment options. Many institutions have optional electives within the structure of their degrees (unspecified credits) which presumably provide more scope and flexibility to accommodate "external" courses rather than trying to map the existing AST1000 to a specified degree course. So in this context - -does the Arts Faculty at Wollongong have "open electives" (unspecified credits) that could potentially fit the AST1000 outcomes? If not - -that's fine. In short there are two questions this scenario asks: (1) Does setting your own assessment make it easier to recognise credits at your institution and (2) Does the open elective option make it easier to recognise OERu course credits? Just thinking about ways in which we can take stock of the range of options within the network. --Mackiwg 03:15, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • University of Glamorgan - Responsive, flexible assessment fits within our Learning and Teaching strategy, however there are questions of scalability. Developing an assessment for one student, even building on existing open assessments, would need to map the associated learning outcomes with the Credit and Qualifications Framework Wales (CQFW). Worthwhile, and easy within our quality framework, for a group of students in the 20+ range but not for a single individual opting to do a single open course.

Scenario 3: Partner course, own course-based portfolio process (PLAR), for unspecified credits towards own credential

OERu partner uses portfolio assessment to show how learning matches a set of general competencies or outcomes required for a unspecified elective credit course (PLAR course-based portfolio) within a program of study.

Reference OERu course developed by Learner requests assessment services from Assessment developed by Assessment administered by Assessment type Learner uses credit at Credentialing mechanism
Scenario 3 OERuP1
(Lead course developer. In this case study, AST1000 from USQ
OERuP2
(Partner institution)
OERuP2 OERuP2 Course-based portfolio (PLAR) OERuP2 OERuP2
Using PLAR assessment processes for unspecified elective credit for own qualification

Comments, issues and institutional requirements for successful implementation

  • From my perspective, the PLAR methodology is more scalable when assessing a set of general competencies or outcomes at the program level, rather than individual courses. However, many PLAR models cater for course-level assessment and therefore a viable option to be considered by OERu partners and worth comparing against a course assessment package approach. --Mackiwg 04:04, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
  • University of Wollongong: I am struggling to see how this is different from Scenario 2, in that the assessment of portfolio is still controlled by the accrediting institution. See my comments above, which identify portfolio assessment as a likely component that our Arts Faculty might want to use in seeking evidence of learning outcomes as a basis for providing credit.
Hi Sarah -- thanks for this post. This scenario is intended to distinguish the PLAR portfolio method (which is distinct from and e-learning portfolio in the traditional learning design sense) for institutions who have existing PLAR policies. --Mackiwg 04:32, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • University of Glamorgan: This is the most attractive scenario for us. We already have an approved framework for accrediting employer developed learning via portfolio, this sounds like PLAR (though that acronym is not one I've seen before), this can be re-purposed to allow portfolio assessment based on open learning sources. Our existing framework allows accreditation from 10 credits (100 learning hours) to a full undergraduate degree, so in the long-term this flexible approach is how we expect to be doing most of the accreditation of OERU provision that students request of us.

Scenario 4: Partner course, reuse partner's assessment package, for unspecified credits towards own credential

OERu conferring institution reuses the course assessment package developed by another anchor partner to offer own assessment services for a course developed by another partner for unspecified elective credits.

Reference OERu course developed by Learner requests assessment services from Assessment developed by Assessment administered by Assessment type Learner uses credit at Credentialing mechanism
Scenario 4 OERuP1
(In this case study, AST1000 from USQ
OERuP2
(Partner institution)
OERuP1 OERuP2 Course assessment package OERuP2 OERuP2
Home institution assessment reusing assessment package developed by OERu partner for unspecified elective credit towards own qualification

Comments, issues and institutional requirements for successful implementation

  • OERuP2 saves cost associated with developing assignment package. --Mackiwg 02:37, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
  • University of Wollongong: If learning outcomes are deemed similar enough to be happy to provide credit, then this would be attractive/efficient/easy for Faculty staff to administer if the assessment rubrics are well developed (such as they are for AST1000)
  • University of Glamorgan: As highlighted in scenario 2, a mapping exercise would need to take place to the Credit Framework both of level and amount of learning, so if the assessment was mapped this would be easy, but experience of mapping across the European Union leads me to think that direct mapping, though appealing, is not always as easy as it might look given the different educational frameworks we work within. It is hard enough in the EU with a 'supposedly' common European Framework, so I suspect it may also be an issue with a wider range of partners.

Scenario 5: Credit transfer of OERu source course for own target course for unspecified credits towards own credential

OERu conferring institution transfers or cross credits an OERu partner source course towards own target course for unspecified elective credits.

Reference OERu course developed by Learner requests assessment services from Assessment developed by Assessment administered by Assessment type Learner uses credit at Credentialing mechanism
Scenario 5 OERuP1
(In this case study, AST1000 from USQ
OERuP1
(Partner institution)
OERuP1 OERuP1 Course assessment package OERuP2 OERuP2
Credt transfer or cross credit of OERuP1 source course for own target course for unspecified elective credit towards own qualification

Comments, issues and institutional requirements for successful implementation

  • The receiving institution may require proctored identity validation from the home institution before accepting credit transfer --Mackiwg 03:29, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
  • University of Wollongong: our administration would also need to have the identity of the person who had done the assessment validated - tricky.
  • University of Glamorgan: This scenario fits within our existing accreditation of prior learning provision, but the prior learning between OERU partners would not be advanced over people bringing learning credits from other international or national institutions.

Scenario 6: OERu partner course, offered locally in parallel mode, using own course assessment package, for credits towards own credential

OERu partner uses the course for both OERu learners and full-tuition students, but develops its own course assessment package for credits towards own credential

  • This model presumes that an equivalent course exists on the books of the home institution
  • Course resources hosted on WikiEducator are integrated into the local learning management system for local full-tuition students (free learners are hosted using the OER Foundation infrastructure and the cohort's "connect" via social media and aggregated feeds.
  • OERu learners can apply for assessment services using the same assessment for full tuition students
  • Could be used to introduce new local courses to diversify curriculum, but would imply local course approval processes
  • Could provide a solution where local academic prefers closed-course resources, but the open OERu version covers equivalent learning outcomes
Reference OERu course developed by Learner requests assessment services from Assessment developed by Assessment administered by Assessment type Learner uses credit at Credentialing mechanism
Scenario 6 OERuP1
(Lead course developer. In this case study, AST1000 from USQ
OERuP2
(Partner institution)
OERuP2 OERuP2 Course assessment package OERuP2 OERuP2
Home institution assessment using own assignments for credits towards course in own qualification.

Comments, issues and institutional requirements for successful implementation

  • University of Wollongong: I'm wondering in what situation it would be attractive for us to go to the trouble of creating our own assignments to allow this to happen - i guess if there was strong demand by potential students?
That's a valid point, the scenario may not be a good fit for Wollongong. Hypothetically, it may not be cost-effective to develop an entire new online course if prospective "on-campus" enrolment were to be low. However, the Wollongong graduate profile may require emphasis on particular aspects not covered by assessment of the original developing partner, but could be addressed by using the same course materials, but with a different emphasis on the local Wollongong graduate profile in the assessment package. The issue is you would be getting a full course at virtually no cost. Investing a few hours in the assessment could provide a solution to diversify the curriculum. The model becomes more attractive when a course is likely to attract a large number of local students. --Mackiwg 04:27, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • University of Glamorgan: Like colleagues in Wollongong I'm not clear about the benefit of this scenario to our institution. We would be more likely to invest in developing our own course - though like all our courses we would be open to using open source material in the development - but we would be unlikely to map that course exactly to a existing OERU course but look for some local element of additionality.

Scenario 7: OERu partner course, offered in parallel mode, reusing course assessment package, for credits towards own credential

OERu partner uses the course for both OERu learners and full-tuition students, and reuses the original course assessment package for credits towards own credential

Reference OERu course developed by Learner requests assessment services from Assessment developed by Assessment administered by Assessment type Learner uses credit at Credentialing mechanism
Scenario 7 OERuP1
(In this case study, AST1000 from USQ
OERuP2
(Partner institution)
OERuP1 OERuP2 Course assessment package OERuP2 OERuP2
Home institution assessment reusing original course assessment package for credits towards course in own qualification.

Comments, issues and institutional requirements for successful implementation

  • University of Wollongong: easier for us than the scenario above
  • University of Glamorgan: Possible approach, but again we would be more likely to tweak an existing course for both distance and on-campus provision rather than focussing on developing on-campus provision based on OERU content. I guess if it was an area where we had assessment competence, but not discipline delivery competence (not a regular occurrence) this would be feasible. But I wouldn't think it was likely.

Notes to the scenarios

  • It is possible to generate a number of scenario configurations which are not covered above. For example, where OERuP1 develops a course, OERuP2 develops assessment, OERuP3 provides the assessment services reusing the assessment package from OERuP3 or any method of assessment and the OERu learner applies the credit towards a credential at OERuP4. For the purposes of this exercise, we have limited the number of scenario configurations. We believe the current scenarios are sufficient to identify any substantive policy and or operational barriers as well as the opportunities for successful implementation in the future.

Credit transfer

  • Many institutions have local mechanisms and processes to manage credit transfer from other institutions (Robin Day)
  • Would it be feasible for the OERu to promote agreement on credit transfer. ie get partners to agree to recognise the credit of each other insofar as local regulations permit? (Robin Day) - University of Glamorgan: Getting common credit transfer agreed at a national level has proven hard enough even in a small country like Wales. We are working at a common understanding at an EU level, it will be even more of a challenge world-wide. But would we be part of OERU if we didn't relish the potential to challenge existing models?? So perhaps we should give it a try.

General comments

  • This is potentially very complex, but I suggest that each partner adopts the path of least resistance within the context of existing local institutional policies:in the case of USQ, a combination of Scenario 1 and Scenario 5. (Comment by Jim Taylor)
This is good advice. My suspicion is that most partners would be able to accommodate one (or more) scenarios using the path of least resistance based on existing policies. I figure that if we know what the paths of least resistance are within the network -- we can achieve a better fit to maximise the benefits of OERu model for our partners through the design and development process. Moreover, be seeing what other partners are doing -- we may generate ideas for creative solutions for local adoption. -Mackiwg 03:36, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • The comments above noted as University of Glamorgan are contributed by Haydn Blackey, Head of Learning and Teaching at the institution and the lead contact between Glamorgan and OERU.

Resources and acknowledgements

This page was generated with the help of the following resources:

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