October 18, 2013

Open Badges MOOC - Challenge 4 - Validation

Layered Validation System for Open Badges

After the badge has been design the first level of validation would be Peer review. Organisations in the same industry would agree on all the parts of the badge. Badge image, name, description, criteria, issuer, evidence, standards and tags. Refer to badge anatomy for details required.
The second level would be existing standards organisations review. This would be at two different levels, technical level (eg: Australian Teacher Registration Board) and pay level (Government Department of Education).

This would ensure that the Open Badge had credibility, value and a tool for the individual to further career prospects. While the validation system ensures it meets standards it then becomes an “Australian Badge” if verified by Australian Standards Organisations.

The Open Badge Onion

Two Examples Using this Validation System

Example 1: Open Badges in a developing country context
Skill: IT Skills
Industry: Department of Health
Country: Vanuatu, South Pacific
Validation of Badges:
Badge Designed: Vanuatu Government
Peer Reviewed: Solomons Island Department of Health
Standards Organisations: Australian Department of Health, World Health Organisation and Australian Computer Society

Example 2: Open Badges for Professional Development for Academics and Teachers
Skill: teaching online
Industry: Online Learning Management Systems in the HE Education system
Country: Australian University
Badge Designed: Charles Darwin University
Peer Reviewed: Curtin University or Charles Sturt University
Standards Organisations: Australian E-standards Expert Group, Australian Computer Society

Standards Organisations in Australia that could be used to validate open Badges
Australian E-standards Expert Group

The E-standards Expert Group (EEG) is the vocational education and training (VET) sector's national forum for collaboratively reviewing and recommending technical standards to support e-learning. The group comprises representatives appointed by each State and Territory, as well as a number of observers from key stakeholder organisations. Members represent the relevant national projects and functions, each state and territory jurisdiction, and cross-sectoral bodies with complementary roles. They will also consider any e-standards proposals in the context of the plans of their jurisdictions and can present outcomes of research conducted locally.
Australian Computer Society
Skills Framework
Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership

Badges in the area of HE PD should align with and be validated by Standard 6: Professional Engagement. The badge design could be constructed for the four levels and have metadata to support the attainment level (eg: Graduate, Proficient, Highly Accomplished or Lead)

Background Information in relation to this Challenge

1.      Traditional accreditation – I think a modification of this system would work well with badges. However the badges are more likely to be skilled based. Validation would benefit the badge system to make it open and recognisable across state and country border.
2.      Existing standards bodies can definitely work together to provide the review of the list of competencies required. In the technology field, validation is a particular problem and has lead to a system of proprietary accreditation. So if you have a Cisco qualification, it comes from that organisation and everyone will accept that it is a Cisco qualification. However I have a qualification called A+ provided by CompTIA. Some people in the industry might recognise this qualification but it is an attempt at having and open standard that is non-proprietary. This is what we need for Learning Management Systems and online learning. Rather than getting a Blackboard qualification you need generic competencies that show the skill but can be validated in either Blackboard or Moodle systems.
3.      The reputation frameworks are clear: Blackboard, Moodle and the Higher Education and Vocational Education systems. The reputation of the University also comes into play. If the university is well known internationally, for its online coursework then it will have its own sets of competencies. These are not necessarily peer reviewed by other universities because of the ‘protect the IP’ kind of mentality that is still very strong in the Education sector.
4.      Institutional goal for badge system – easier way to assess employees for pay rise, possibly one way to increase their reputation in the education field (like getting the MOOCs up and running). Also a way to work towards a high standard of student outcomes. My ensuring that all staff have the right skills for the job (eg: tutoring and marking) then the students will get a better experience.
5.      Individual goal for badge system...can be transported across to the next job. Allows for clearly evidence of experience rather than paid-for accredited courses. A move away from expensive technological accredited courses or the requirement to “have a Masters”...allows the individual to have a well rounded and complete CV. Allows for better career planning as matching badge requirements for future positions clearly show what skills need to be obtained for the dream job.

After Badge Stories

Learning Provider : Aleeda

Aleeda is the Higher Education Developer and Trainer for the University in our Ecosystem. Going from Example 2 shown above, Aleeda will benefit from this validation system. Firstly it helps her build an assessment framework for new staff joining the organisation. She can have clear guidelines on what skills the staff should have. If the person joining the organisation already has badges, then she can quickly appraise their value because they have been validated by organisations that she is familiar with. They are not just badges that have been allocated by one University or within a single, proprietary system. According to her framework, Aleeda can then develop a clear professional development pathway for the staff to obtain the required skills. For example; a lot of staff are employed sessionally for Tutor or Marker roles. These staff do not need a full capacity of developing material online but they need to know how to use the Gradebook within the Learning Management System. They also need to understand the Universities cultural context in giving feedback to students and preferred methods of contact and terminology. Aleeda can quickly outline the online or face-2-face training that these staff require to obtain the “Tutor Badge” and then the Head of School and Theme Leaders are automatically notified that these staff have the required skill.

The results are in: Received the badge 13/15 for this Challenge! (updated 21/10/13)

October 14, 2013

Open Badges MOOC - Challenge 3 - adding the Assessor and Standards Organisation

Open Badges MOOC - Challenge 3

1. Outline of the badge system for this Learning Ecosystem:
a.    Standards Organisation – this is a combination of features from the existing Standards organisations (Higher Education Academics and one for the Learning management sytem (eg: Blackboard)). This organisation would impact the careers of:
                                                    i.     Ted – determines the competencies he needs to have to teach online (see after badge story below)
                                                   ii.     Aleeda – gives her the list of competencies to match and assess new staff to the organisation
                                                  iii.     Wally – an tech/education industry agreed list of competencies that he needs in his work to do technology support and staff support that would be internationally recognised. (see after badge story below)
b.    Open Badge system would be embedded into the Learning Management System in the organisation. The badges are open and have clear and concise metadata attached to them that would allow them to be exported to a platform like Mozilla Backpack.
c.    Badge system would benefit all employment agencies in the HE and Vocational Education sector as they look for staff that have demonstrated experience in the online space.
d.    Badge system would also benefit all staff as it would be linked to their remuneration. This would also be linked to the Government Enterprise Agreement. Internally to the University this means that the Badge system would be clearly linked to the Performance Development Review System (PDRS) so that badges would be able to show the required evidence to move from one pay scale to another.

UPDATE: Learning/Badge Ecosystem adding the Assessor and Standards Organisation


After Badges: Wally was employed at a Higher Education Worker level 5. However since being in the position for 12 months he not only has real experience under his belt, he has been able to complete his accredited qualification of Certificate IV in Training and Assessing (national qualification) and obtain his Blackboard Product Specialist qualification (international technical qualification). He can now get an open badge for his combine experience. At the annual review of his performance he has both the accredited course that has a transcript attached but he has a badge that links to various items within the LMS to show his experience. The Blackboard certificate also comes with a badge to indicate the level of this particular study. This is then a clear path to a pay rise for Wally.

After badges:  Ted has been through two semesters of teaching in the Uni now. He is applying for another contract teaching role with an overseas university in the same discipline. He now has a open badge that is linked to his on the job training in the Uni for both skills in the Learning Management System and the evidence of the four units he taught over the two semesters. He has a badge from the Uni Office of Learning and Teaching that shows that one of his online units has been reviewed and matched with Student Feedback data and he reached an exemplary level. This metadata attached to the badge allows him to communicate his skills for the new contract so that they know he will be up and running quickly in the new teaching period in the new cultural environment. It also allows the new employer to quickly design the gap training that he might need for different versions of the Learning Management System, different features available and organisational specific context that are different to his current role.

October 8, 2013

Open Badges MOOC - Badges and metadata

I have completed Challenge 1 and 2 in this MOOC.

Got the badge to prove it!  Well nearly....

I have 3 badges now in the course but have these issues:
a) The first badge has little value to me now or later (participation by joining a group)
b) The next two badges have no direct evidence as part of their metadata
c) The "Publish to Mozilla" button is not working and I can't get them in my backpack. However with no link to the evidence then I'm not sure I even want all the Challenge badges in there.

What has been my extrinsic reward for doing this work?

I value the 10/15 higher than a non functional badge.

What has been my motivation to continue?

Intrinsically I enjoy learning this new stuff. I'm also using it as a valuable, real task at my workplace which will lead me into new areas of the organisation and new conversations across the organisation.

What metadata did I expect?

I first tried to submit this work through a link to my blog but was told I had to paste the text in. I assumed that this would be used as part of the metadata. I expected that the Criteria metadata would include a description of the challenge and the Evidence metadata would include my submitted work.

October 5, 2013

Open Badges MOOC - Challenge 2

CHALLENGE 2 - the bases of this challenge is to add the Assessor into the story.
Another member of the team:
Assessor: Aleeda is an Education Developer. Well versed in the pedagogy of various faculties in the University. There is a form that Alison currently uses to analyse online units, however this is only used in an ad-hoc manner and more for audit purposes. Aleeda is part of a team that conducts f2f  inductions into the Learning Management System. After this interview she has some idea of the staff competency in using and working in the online environment. However this is not documented or matched to any standards and the only outcome of this induction is a further recommendations for the staff member on PD in this area. There is a process for Aleeda to tell Wally and his team that the staff member can now have access to teaching units but this information sometimes does not get through. This would be an excellent forum to conduct an assessment of the competency of the incoming staff to the Uni, assign gap training if required and allocate the first Badge for Online Training which could then be referenced by other teams in the Uni.
Ted’s Badge story developing: When Ted started teaching at the Uni he was required to facilitate an online lecture in the first week. The process to get access to the teaching unit was quite involved and he only had access 2 hours before his first lecture. He could have f2f meeting, get assessed against competencies, get badges against his name in the LMS, this is then flagged to Wally’s team that then allows them to register him in the Intro units, create a practise unit and allocate the required teaching units. Notification of the badges could also be sent to the HoS as record of the new teacher starting to train online. The future competencies are shown to Ted and the relevant badges are outlined in the process of further PD and improvement of his online teaching skills. Once the badges are in his Mozilla backpack...he can share this online (LinkedIn) which will easily match up with future contracts in this area.
The Story of Competencies (or lack thereof):
Competencies defined. The competencies that are currently defined in the Uni are related to the an identified six key Principles of Online Learning.  (refer: http://www.cdu.edu.au/olt/principles.html) Unable to find any competencies for the lecturer or trainer in the area of online learning. The units themselves are evaluated against principles of teaching but this does not measure the competencies of the lecturer. Each unit is also checked against a technology list of areas which are then mapped back to 4 areas discussed in the document above.
The existing learning frameworks that exist in the Uni are in a number of formats. There are professional development, self-paced online units in a number of areas. PD sessions are regularly held in some Faculties that have a focus on teaching in the online environment. There are weekly open lab sessions for staff that wish to attend. There is also a peer learning network setup on one campus to encourage learning across the faculties.

Learners complete an online unit to show competence at the basic level. In theory this is supposed to be completed by all new staff before gaining access to teaching units, even for casual marking staff. However in reality Wally’s team does not actually know when staff complete this so they see an enrolment as sufficient evidence.
Learners competence are only recorded by their enrolment into online units and teaching units. Their ‘success’ may be recognised by a Certificate of Completion. Head of School’s or Theme Leaders would look at competence records in this area.
Shortcomings in this ecosystem: there is no competencies defined that directly relate to Staff teaching online. There is a lot of assumptions about the ability of staff to teach both in the classroom and online. There is no defined learning path for staff that might be required to develop units compared to casual marking/tutoring staff. There is little currency placed on PD to lead to better skills in this area and staff feel it is a bonus rather than a necessity to turn up to focused PD sessions in this area.

Strengths: this system would suit a badge system that could compliment the current system and also have open benefits to the staff during their career in this Uni and further down the track. 

October 3, 2013

Open Badges MOOC - Process of assessment - my challenge.

Sometimes we learn things in the most unexpected areas! I'm up to my third attempt for Challenge 1!! Thank goodness for multiple attempts. The feedback to my post that you can see further down this blog was "too abstract, try again". Well this threw me back to my Uni days when I received a 0 (yep, zero) for a first year marketing assignment. That still smarts to this day! There was no options for resubmission and I have been steering clear of all things marketing since!

Well I'm hoping that this process will be a bit better. The feedback was clear and allows for another attempt. Of course I could just pull the plug on the whole MOOC and say "stuff you, I'll do it my own way"....but there is rules to follow and at the end of the day you have to get somebody to understand your ideas if they are going to get off the ground. Or maybe it's getting the ideas out of the clouds and into the system!!

I'll post the modified version here when I receive my badge! You can then give me some peer feedback on which version you would award the badge for!