SCoPE seminar members have suggested that a qualification like a Bachelor of General Studies would be a good candidate for the inaugural qualification. There is also the suggestion for planning exit point credentials along the pathway to achieving a Bachelor's degree.
This is well aligned with early thinking and discussions among some of the anchor partners. The ideas and context posted here are largely based on the thoughts and summary posted by Professor Jim Taylor AM from the University of Southern Queensland on the main OERu list on google groups. (Jim is away travelling at the moment - -and I've taken the liberty to repost his ideas here.)
Diploma of Arts -- A prototype credential for OERu
Potential anchor partners are naturally interested in how each institution might best contribute specific courses to the OERu initiative. In preliminary discussion among existing partners we have used the Australian context of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Diploma of Arts (DART) as a potentially useful starting point.
A dIploma means different things in different countries -- but in this context it is a credential which is the equivalent of the first year of study (Freshman year) of a Bachelor of Arts Degree.
The DART program aims to provide students with an introduction to study in Arts disciplines and programs, and to provide a basic qualification for credit transfer/exemption in other programs.
In effect, the Diploma of Arts is available as an entry point for most USQ programs not subject to auditions and interview requirements. This program should appeal to those students who want to sample a range of university subjects before embarking on a more specialised degree program. The program offers substantial choice and flexibility, allowing entry to a wide range of career and study options, including transfer to other degree programs. For example, the DART provides articulation into the following USQ undergraduate programs: Bachelor of Arts; Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business; Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science ; Bachelor of Creative Arts; Bachelor of International Studies; Bachelor of Communication; Bachelor of Social Science.
In many respects, it could be regarded as a step towards a transdisciplinary foundation year. To explore the current range of courses from which students may choose at USQ, please review the program structure.
Anchor partner participation scenario
The OERu concept is to assemble courses based largely from existing OERs. The idea is to integrate and use a "pedagogy of discovery" using e-tivities now possible with digital and networked learning (We'll start a new thread to share ideas about pedagogical approaches for the OERu - -so this post is restricted to thinking about the appropriateness of the credential and how the curriculum collaboration might work.)
In the broader context of OERu, in the first instance anchor partners in the OER Tertiary Education Network (OERTen) could contribute to assembling a small number of OER courses at the foundation level.
For example, with just 6 partners providing support to assemble 3 courses each, there would be a total of 18 courses with students able to select 8 from 18 options to gain a Diploma of Arts, equivalent to the first year of a Bachelor’s degree. (The credits and number of courses may differ slightly internationally -- but the network will fund solutions to resolve cross-border study load / credit differences. Think of this credential as the equivalent of 33% of a Bachelors degree.)
With more anchor partners it would of course be possible to extend the range of courses and choices offered across disciplines to extend the transdisciplinary nature of the Diploma. Again using the Australian context as a reference point, with 10 institutions assembling just 3 courses, students could have a choice of studying 24 from 30 courses for the equivalent of a a full three year Bachelor’s degree in transdisciplinary studies. The structure of the open curriculum will be discussed in detail at the forthcoming Anchor Partners Meeting in November in New Zealand. Associated issues of guaranteed cross credit between anchor partner institutions, and relevant national qualifications frameworks will also be on the agenda.
- More flexibility for participating institutions to choose what courses they could contribute.
- Many institutions already have a Bachelor of General studies or similar on their books.
- Attraction of transdisiplinary studies with more flexibility to suite individual needs.
- The prototype credential could be operational within a reasonable time frame - -eg one year.