Posts made by Irwin DeVries

Greetings and welcome to our next topic: Micro-credentials. Several micro-courses have already been prototyped in the OERu. These consist of a subcomponent of a regular postsecondary course, for example 1 of 3 credits in the North American system, 4 of 20 credits in the UK system, or 5 of 15 credits in the New Zealand system. Three or four micro-courses would be the equivalent of one postsecondary course in terms of workload (depending on the international region).

A micro-credential, for example an assessed "Certificate of Achievement" consisting of one credit, would be available for successful completion of a micro-course. For learners who take series of micro-courses, these could add up over time to full course equivalents. There are other options to consider, for example certifications for participation based on minimum participation metrics, such as a digital badge and /or certificate of participation.  

An advantage of micro-courses could be to allow for a more flexible study approach, and they may well have appeal for those who are working their way back into a more formal study groove. Having participated in one myself (Scenario Planning for Educators), I was impressed with the amount of ground covered, and a serious project for summative assessment could be completed in a few weeks. It felt like a credible and solid chunk of learning, but without the duration and time commitment that a full course represents. The micro-course was not overly burdensome in terms of my day to day life.

Of course, if I had been seeking credit for completing the micro-course, I would have wanted to know that it was available, and that there was a way of assembling micro-credits into a coherent package that would lead to recognized credit from a receiving institution over time.

Perhaps the huge attrition rates typical of xMOOCs would be less of an issue in micro-courses, but of course that would need to be tested. From a curriculum planning perspective, series of micro-courses would need to be carefully structured with the bigger picture of credentials such as diplomas and degrees in mind.

Looking at this from an organizational perspective we should also consider whether the development of micro-courses lowers the barriers of entry to assembling OERu courses. 

Here are a few questions to start the conversation. Please feel free to add more.

  • What are micro-credentials in the OERu context?
  • What are the barriers and opportunities for implementing micro-credentials for the OERu?
  • Are micro-credentials an effective way to individualize or customize the curriculum?
  • What will they look like and how will they work?

Over to you!

Wikis are great for collaborative development of content but less so for promoting collaboration among learners, and the latter point is a limitation felt by WikiEducators who want to design more open-ended and interactive learning experiences. That said, WE software engineer Jim Tittsler has done a brilliant job of aggregating feeds from multiple sources as we can see in the present session, and I think this is the type of work that needs to continue. While it’s not that difficult to pull content from WE into Moodle or other LMSs (again something that we see in the present session), it would be good to be able to include platforms such as WordPress or other blogs in the mix, for starters, to avoid over-reliance on the use of LMS silos. 

Then again, a cautionary note: WE is a community of volunteers, including independent and community educators, and people employed elsewhere in education who either volunteer their own time or are volunteered by their employers. It may take a wider collaboration to help move forward. I think Stephen Downes raised an excellent point earlier when he suggested that “Maybe cMOOC people and OERu people should talk more.” That sounds like at least one place to start.

The topic of credentialing is a big one and has been directly or indirectly referenced several times already in this forum. From early on, the intent of OERu has been to address the growing need, particularly among underserved populations, for access to both the learning opportunities and the credentials provided by higher education institutions. I suspect most if not all of us in this forum, and in the wider field of education, are well supplied with academic credentials that allowed us through the door to work in our field. Of course there are many learners who wish to take their own path and learn as they will, without a need for (further) credentials, and the opportunities in this regard are bountiful, including in the OERu.

On a more strategic level, i.e. institutional transformation, the OERu provides a catalyst for institutional partners to think about alternative ways of assessing and credentialing learning in new and creative ways, as well as new ways of engaging more widely with the world of open.

David I see one further and finer distinction: not only is the service potentially provided in a more tailored manner, but also users can take a self service approach based on the 4 Rs of openness evident in the OERu model to roll their own courses, i.e. ability to reuse, redistribute, reuse, remix.

In this I'm thinking of users in a broader sense to include educators, who can "4R" these courses  to fit their needs. That in part is why so much work goes into ensuring that every piece of every course is developed or contributed under open licenses.

Hi Rory,

OK I'll take a nibble at this, just for fun.You must have seen this sign when exiting the airport in Denpasar, Bali for the OCWC 13 conference. I couldn't resist taking a picture! So:  I'd suggest that one of the distinctives of the OERu is that it's open for all to use and adapt to their own needs and cultures rather than presenting a standardized product.

Attachment Whopper.JPG