Before I respond to this request, I must apologise in advance for not having the time to read all existing documentation and for any comments I make that might not be accurate or relevant because of that.
In addition my views are based on the more immediate challenges we see in front of us.
1. We are of the opinion that "Transnational qualifications and course articulation" may be the most important goal. (Anything that makes it easier for us to accept credits from elsewhere or to have credits we award accepted elsewhere)
2. We believe that international "Identity Verification" is a serious issue and one that we need to deal with. We are concerned about controlling the cost of reliable remote examinations whether through the use of traditional written examinations in physical exam centres or using remote proctoring technologies (possibly including biometric identification). To some extent we are concerned about cheating during examinations but we are more worried about personation. We are not sure that this needs to be addressed by the OERu but we feel that if this is not addressed by someone it might undermine the credibility of major awards that are granted based on several years' work from several institutions.
I would appreciate others' opinions on this as I may be overestimating the importance of this issue or I may have missed some developments in the area.
3. I agree that we should be working towards a complete programme of study. However, I worry that "General Studies" may not be attractive to many particularly in developing countries. I would suggest that we need to be driven by demand rather than the courses we feel we can supply. Would it be possible to determine what areas are in demand in the developing world? (eg Health) We in IT Sligo are. For the moment, concentrating on developing courses towards an Associate degree (Higher Certificate)in Electronic Engineering (Embedded Systems). However, this is also supply driven insofar as we have academics here who wish to do this. It might be worth identifying a programme of study that would be of great value and ask members to find courses in their institutes that they can contribute towards this. We may have to set up, what we call in our institution, a "Programme Board" that defines firstly what is needed, and secondly, what courses are acceptable. I think we should be able to do both a "General Studies" programme and one targeted programme.
Appreciate your feedback. This provides additional validation and affirmation of a number of the operational priorities we've identified so far.
- The mechanisms for credit transfer and course articulation have been identified as a priority 1 item. Having operational guidelines for credit transfer and course articulation mapped to the TQF is a necessary infrastructure component to inform design of courses and options for implementation.
- The issue of identity validation is not overstated. The Credit transfer and course articulation working group have this on their agenda. For different types of assessment, we will need to identify what the network will consider as acceptable forms of identity validation taking into account that we will work with what is practically implementable at this point in time.
- You point about a Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) not being attractive to many learners is well made and a number of OERu partners have discussed these challenges (see for example). The selection of the BGS is a starting point and incremental step to ensure that we have at least one credential as we move forward with developing product. That said, there is no limitation or restriction on the OERu to restrict the number of credentials and we would welcome more career oriented credentials in the network. Your suggestion for a "Programme Board" or "Academic Board" is well received, and was also suggested at the 2nd meeting of OERu partners. This recommendation will be incorporated by the Course approval and quality working group. For now, we are dealing with a chicken and egg scenario to bootstrap sufficient numbers of initial product while simultaneously configuring meaningful streams of study.
Your feedback affirms that our thinking is on the right track -- thanks for that!
I hope my submission is better late than never!!
I too wondered about the wording in goals 2 and 4. I am happy with how you tweaked them from Mark and Mica's comments, Wayne.
When I first read the goals I felt 'student recruitment/marketing' was missing. I wasn't sure if we needed another goal per se at the time of if we could just add another objective in goal # 1. However, after reading the discussion I see that we are attending to marketing.
I am happy to see evaluation in goal 2. I wonder if we might consider another platform for sharing and inquiring into our experiences collectively and at our respective Colleges as we move forward. I believe that creating a such a space will build relationships that will serve us well in ways that we cannot yet imagine. I also believe that creating a space to inquire into the messiness of the work we have before us will help us to make sense of your conundrum with General Studies, over time, Brian? As I suggest that we create a space for sharing and inquiring I wonder who the 'we' is on one hand and imagine that perhaps over time the 'we' will evolve as participants and students begin to conduct their own research around their experiences in OERu.
You have a time zone advantage and I figure that your submission was received well on time :-). Of course, as an open wiki environment we welcome ongoing contributions.
We are attending to marketing and recruitment through the Marketing, recruitment and communication working group - but I think you're right - this needs higher prominence in the strategic plan. I think we need to include the marketing dimension as an additional strategic objective under Goal 1 of the draft plan.
What platforms did you have in mind for sharing? The OER Foundation is very supportive of building relationships that will serve us in ways we cannot imagine. We already have a number of spaces for sharing - the e-mail lists the wiki which documents all our planning since the inception of the OERu - few projects can compare to the openness and transparency of the OERu collaboration. As long as we're using free software platforms - we welcome any solutions which can improve communication. I do wonder if we are dealing with a cultural transformation from sharing to LEARN --> LEARNING to share insofar as technologies are concerned?
Great contributions -- I will note this in the summary recommendations.