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.