2011.11 OERu Recommendations for inaugural credential

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Dunedin Group 1: Recommendations for the inaugural OERU credential

Does your group of OERu anchor partners endorse the recommendations of the SCoPE online seminar for the inaugural credential? Improvements? Alternatives?

  • Philosophical fit with open education - this needs to be added to the criteria.
  • The laws and regulations of the specific institution will have to be obeyed. For Empire State College this would include the cost of the last 32 credits coming as an out of state/international fee paying student. However, Athabasca can give a general degree without any of their courses being included in the programme. The example on the OERu site noted that student completed the degree in their home country.
  • The language in the recommendations is based on North America and the structures are different in India. E.g. Associate of Science would be welcome by Northtech if it really means science, but it does not here. This was even more problematic in the context of India.
  • The professional BEd and B.Nursing are tightly regulated by professional bodies and these qualifications are therefore too challenging, at least until this additional layers of complexity can be negotiated.
  • The only masters we are considering is MEd offered by university partners - may be possible and it could start with one or two courses with only. Athabasca plans to offer a MOOC in OER in 2012 that could be an early course. resources are developing with that and Athabasca is also looking at a PhD programme in OER with the Dutch OU and Athabasca PhDs are collecting all the research that can be found.

What courses might your institution be able to contribute to the OER Tertiary Education network (OERTen)? What is available?

  • Work on MEd for a year to see if this becomes possible.
  • Prefer to work on ladder or staircase: certificate, diploma, first degree.
  • Northtech can envisage offering some courses at the early steps of the ladder.
  • Athabasca could then take those similar to USQ first year being laddered. But also note that they are highly contextualised, particularly in the social sciences etc. So a student could gain a certificate, a diploma/associate degree, and a bachelor degree.
  • Peer support systems and advising will have to be built but this has yet to be designed.
  • If one one the OERu intitution would credential a Dip of Arts, then others could accept that as part of Y1 B Gen Studies
  • A collection of scholarships to test out the concept with a very able student who has English in developing countries, which could trial the concept and also market it.

What is your group's recommendation for the OERTen decision(s) on the inaugural credential including who and by when?

  • Each institution will need to state the conditions required for graduating with a particular qualification. Selective contributions. Recent changes in regulation at federal level in USA and public data in NZ on programme completions may be problematic.
  • Each institution would need to invest in the articulation of the chosen programmes to which they would offer through OERu.
  • This requires senior level commitment, particularly for the change in institutional culture.

Notes compiled by Niki Davis

Dunedin Group 2: Recommendations for the inaugural OERU credential

  • Concern over institutions without a General Studies degree – perhaps this is not vocational enough for regional markets? However while it may not be hugely popular in terms of traditional markets, it could be marketable to under-served communities / markets.
  • Recommendation: Perhaps start with a Diploma of Arts – laddering up to a Bachelor of General Studies degree.


  • Credit format in different countries may need work (120 credit model) and Levels? (not sure what this means in NZ/Australia)
  • Reciprocity across the consortium – if we are only using courses that come from individual (member) institutions then are we locked into their pedagogies and assessment formats?
  • (we’d have to) Guarantee cross-credit / reciprocity across institutions.
  • All partners offer at least one course?
  • Final qualification at the college that has the flexible degree.
  • SNHU Self-designed degree program planning.
  • Each member contributes courses and their assessment models
  • Content wedded to assessment / pedagogy per institution
  • Cultural questions – local flavours – a benefit (potentially)

What courses would you have available? – a range of courses possible.

  • Otago Polytechnic – Bachelor of Applied Management - sustainability / Design principles in the design degree / “Truckload of electives” – work-based learning
  • USQ – (BA degree) International relations in Asia – cultural sensitivities etc. / e-literacy in contemporary society – open pedagogy based on discovery / Organizational behavior – could be OER only (all first year courses)
  • Thompson Rivers – Tourism (6 courses) / Intro to Basic Economics / Human Services / Management Principles and Practices
  • Open Polytechnic – unsure – Question -
  • Wollongong – Community Empowerment and the Common good – social justice – guest speakers etc. / Social Marketing / Education and Health also possible.
  • SNHU – Gen Ed / lower level possibles.

Notes compiled by Kevin Bell

Remote participants: Recommendations for the OERu inaugural credential

Do virtual participants endorse the recommendations of the SCoPE online seminar for the inaugural credential? Improvements? Alternatives?

  • It would be great to have more credentials... but you have to start somewhere.
  • I am rather fond of the general studies bachelors
  • The diploma of Arts would be useful if Liberal Arts based
  • I agree at least in US first two years often liberal arts.
  • Interesting to see how nursing will be assessed - need for practicals (Gabi)
  • Empire State has been doing some online nursing work and may have some models for the practicals.
  • I think they use reflection on practice from nurses who are already working....that courld be done
  • We have developed protypes for doing practical trianing with medical personal such as nurses in virtual worlds, great scope for using this technology in training
  • Makes sense to include education. THere are a lot of OERs available in that area - probably because most of the OER projects have been led by people interested in education
  • It may also fit well in developing countries where the education demand is dramatically increasing.
  • Agreed but education has some of the same concerns as nursing...there would need to be a practice component atleast that is important in US...how about elsewhere?
  • I don't think either practice concern is insurmotable but something to think about
  • I agree re practice and reflection on practice for education.
  • What about lower level Qualifications?  (specifically?  and are there OER that can be used as a starting point?)
    • What do you meant by lower level...wouldn't the Diploma of Arts qualitfy?  I get confused because US terms are so differerent 
    • - yes I know / agree - :)     More like Vocational Quailifcations 
    • Preparitory courses or bridging courses for people who need some form of a bridge to tertiary ed.  Ithink ww*
    • Is everything going to be provided in English for the inaugural credential? 
    • (I think that in part is a matter of the current partners, which have English in common.)
    • Good question..If so.I think we may need EFL and also something in self-directed learning (or self-controlled learning as bridges.
    • English language courses could be a part of this too
  • A tertiary prep course should be added to teh potential list - these are available at no costs to the students already from some institutions
  • Can you help with some specific citations of available OER? 

Do we endorse the ScopE recommendations and if so in what order?

  • Perhaps it depends on what the OERten members are able to offer?  Or if anyone can suggest courses under free licenses that can be reusedI without necessarily being OERten generated.
  • We ESC are in the process of choosing OER's to develop...what the OERu needs will in part influence what we do.  Ellen and I co-chair that committee.  I don't know of things that are already developed.
  • Does the OERu need an in-principle decision about how/ whether to offer student support (things like EFL, soft skills etc)?Or should that be up to each participating institution?
  • I think the plan is to offer such support as a part of OER mission and, of course, the institution would do the same. 
  • It seems a bit like the pedagogy debate.
  • Not sure it is pedagogy.l..I think of it as ablend of pedagogy and student support. There are suggestions for student support in teh Network Plan - Academic Volunteers International 
  • Yes I like the idea but wonder how consistently support will be provided by volunteers. 
  • Today some of us were talking about perhaps building a not quite volunteer network of indigenous tutors who would be trained to give advice and make use of it as part of small businesses. 
  • Could be a win/win. 
  • I don't think a completely volunteer system will work.
  • Yes that makes sense.
  • I think a lot of entrepreneurial activity will spring up all around the world to support OERu students - some will be excellent and some will be questionable... but ultimately it will be good to leave this openfor students to decideC where to get support from, up to a point at least.
  • Could we offer some kind of credential for those wanting to do this support...wikieducator already as levels.
  • Thats a great idea* Jim Taylor has very strong ideas about this, and I think he will be presenting later in the meeting. Great - hoping to stay awake for a few more hours!
  • As I understand it there will be a system of volunteer mentorship from retired academicsI think there will have to be multiple models by the time I retire I expect to be half dead. :-Lol ;-)
  • (Where does in simple terms – a thing like a ‘list of evidence’ that can be used to = ‘something’ .. fit in all of this? 
  • Each of the OERten partners will be responsible for their own assessment... and so each will have its own policies around what background information goes into "assessment for prior learning" equivalent.
  • It is my understanding that each partner will evaluate the credential for credit...that is what ESC does for manythings  like military training, real estate licenses etc.  For us OER's credentials would probably be the same
  • I assume many of the other partners already have similar things in place.Pls remind us what ESC stands for?
  • Empire State College one of the Anchor Partners....US based part of the State University of New York...sorry I hate letters too Thanks :-)
  • Also in my mind I was thinking more like an Organisation could say or offer - …  IF you do ‘this’ – then we (the Org) can issue you with ‘THIS’ (ie this ‘Qualification”) I also think at this level that is important to get some input on the types of skills those organisations would value within their own workers and inbed this into the qualifications on offer. Particularly with regard to soft skills that can be imparted easily.
  • Sorry to be selfish / self focused .. but I am still also trying to see a way that more than the Big Orgs .. can be involved (it is just so exciting … I guess I don’t want to be left out …)  
  • Why not, the system will rely on active particpation from organisations at any level im sure. Big organisations may simply be easier to link to as there is something in it for them but if smaller organisations are willing to assist possibly in partnerships with others to form a consortium within a single area or field?What do you mean by organisations? 
  • The larger higher ed institutions or business interests?
  • I was under the impression buisness interests may be invovled in marking and providing accreditation
  • Another issue – Would anchor partners recognise Accreditations Issued by each other – IE if I had X  by Partner A ) (not in my country) – and took it to Partner B (in my country) … would they ‘give me credit for it’ ?  (copied to QA Etherpad)==

What existing OER courses do participants recommend anchor partners  consider using as part of the inaugural credential? What is available?

  • What is currently available as a full OER course - any one know?
  • Otago Polytechnic has a number of tourism, online facilitation, nursing/midwifery that I've seen in WikiEducator Thats's great!
  • I really don't  I know that MIT and some of the big ones have put courses out online but I don't know what they are.  Reposititories of courses are a piece of the puzzle that has to be dealt with
  • I get the impression that repositories aren't used to a great deal
  • Our designers say that existing ones like Merlot are confusing.  It actually takes less time to do it oursevles. Hopefupllly this will be solved
  • There is a course by South African Institute for Distance Ed and OERAfrica called "Supporting Distance Learners", aimed at tutors in distance ed institutions who are making the transition to online learning. It's a whole course  (as opposed to just a unit or two) but may need a bit of updating. www.oerafrica.org/supportinglearners 
  • OERAfrica also has health courses, may be applicable to nursing.
  • There are some MOOCs too...(Moo cows ? :)Massive Online Open Courses...They are crazy and hard to follow but interesting
  • THere is LOADS of stuff in Jorum Open and all the UK university repositories, but very little of that is whole courses. But plenty of stuff to work with if anyone has the time to piece together a course! 
  • I am going to try to encourage us (Empire State) to create all our courses from now on in open mode...Ellen and I are both on a committee to do this...I am hoping that she will come home with some specifics that OERU needs and we need too.
  • Should we try to state a consensus?  I am not sure of the timeline for this?

Draft decision(s)  for OERu Anchor partners to consider. 

  • I "heard...general courses and some support courses for self-direction and perhaps for tutors and volunteers...and a basic credinatial like the certificate...also nursing and education with provision for reflection.
  • What did the rest of you "hear" I heard that Yup :-)Did I leave anything important out?
  • I don't think anyone disagreed with what was in Paul's proposal. But I was under the impression they want us to prioritize....Hmmm, seems a bit academic doing that on the basis of this discussion, which is only one piece of the bigger picture...It is but it too is a piece.:-)
  • Well we would need some way of collating the open courses that already exist, we have some suggestions but its not an exhaustive list. then we need to figure out where these courses will come from. Or is that discussion for later?
  • I think for later...I think the intent of this is to identify the first (but certainly not the last) credential? 
  • Which would be easiest and most needed? Of Pauls'suggestions which came from a group like this last summer.I Can we get a link to this?
  • Is the idea to have all OERten members collaborating on offering a single programme after this?
  • I don't think so probably each will take a piece of a list of courses that equal a credential...so probably the certificate would be easiest.I think we are saying the same thing?...
  • Sorry if I'm getting the wrong end of the stick!  Oh I understand I think.
  • How do you understand the word credential?  I think it is a set of courses or at least demonstrated learning that build on one another that the partners agree to accept in transfer. Thanks.
  • Not sure what our group should do...I guess wait for Wayne...thanks everyone interesting ideas.Yes, enjoyed the discussion in the ether! Thanks all :-)

Rough consensus decision

  1. The OERTen network will prioritise the selection of first-year level courses during the foundation phase of the OERu which:
    • could carry credit for a "pre-degree" exit credential (for example the Diploma of Arts at the University of Southern Queensland); and/or
    • carry credit towards an existing credential "on the books" of the relevant anchor partner; and/or
    • ladder towards an Associate or Bachelor Degree of General Studies / Trans-disciplinary studies for those partner institutions who offer this type of credential.
    • Guiding principles
      • Anchor partners agree to select and contribute the assembly of courses using existing OER for the OERu network which maximize credit transfer and recognition of course credits among the anchor partners towards a local institution credential insofar as this is permitted by local policies and regulations including, for instance: Recognition of prior learning, articulation agreements among partners etc. (To maximise return on investment, OERu course resources could be reused and integrated for use "on-campus" with "mainstream" offerings.)
      • Anchor partners retain autonomy regarding local matriculation requirements (i.e. the maximum number of credits which can be transferred in towards a local institution credential) and local quality requirements for awarding the institutional credential.
      • Courses leading to professional qualifications which are regulated by professional bodies, eg Nursing, professional qualifications for school teachers etc will not be considered during the OERu foundation phases.
  2. The OERten network will consider collaboration on an elective for a Masters Degree, for example a course on open education (or similar) for a Masters of Education Technology (or similar degree) which could lay the foundations for future OERTen collaborations at postgraduate level.