2019-06-20 15.09.02

Bookmarked EduHack (EduHack)

Hacking Education with Digital Pedagogies

EduHack is a capacity-building programme for university educators who wish to learn how to produce digitally-supported learning experiences, experimenting with innovative approaches and tools

2019-06-17 10.28.01

Liked Learning Our ABCs: Project Update by Clare GormleyClare Gormley (NIDL Blog)

It seems safe to state that there are challenges in learning design that almost all institutions face: limited staff time, a modular focus, and a tendency towards ‘lone ranger’ thinking to name just some of the potential barriers to successful course design. These types of challenges have significantly influenced the team-based ABC methodology developed originally by Clive Young and Nataša Perović of University College London (UCL) which continues to grow in popular use worldwide as a model for blended learning design.

Dublin City University’s (DCU) Teaching Enhancement Unit is currently engaged in the ABC to VLE Erasmus+ funded project to further develop the ABC Learning Design methodology. As relative newcomers to ABC (DCU first experienced it in 2017), this project has been a great opportunity to apply the approach and benefit from the experience of UCL and the 11 other European partners involved. For those not familiar with the format, ABC offers a rapid-fire, hands-on workshop approach where in just 90 minutes academic teams work together to design or redesign modules and programmes.

2019-05-08 11.04.20

Read Read “What I learned about online teamwork” by Rebecca J. Hogue (Rebecca J. Hogue)

I have been teaching online teamwork for years. I know that my students were not taught how to work together in an 100% online format. For many of my students, this is the first time they have been asked to work in an online team. It means I need to teach them how to work in an online team – by teach I mean provide them with some tools that will help their work go smoother.

I’ve also had issues over the years. No matter how much I “teach” them about learning online, I end up with at least one group, per semester that doesn’t work well together – that runs into conflict where I am left backchanneling with the different members of the team, which is not ideal.

This semester I saw a change. I know that when online teams work well, they become a highlight of the students experience. They learn to love doing online teamwork (yes, it is true, it does happen!).

I’ve been asked to share some of the things I do to help support online learners, learn how to do teamwork online.

📜 Read “What I learned about online teamwork”

by Rebecca J. Hogue

2019-05-03 09.23.57

Read Read by Tony Bates (tonybates.ca)

This series is turning out to be longer than I initially anticipated. In the first three posts I looked at the following possible reasons for online learning:

– Ontario’s strategy to use online learning to ease pressure on high schools
– using online learning to reduce the cost of higher education
– using online education to support disadvantaged students: no online learner left behind.

In this post I want to look at a fourth justification: developing the skills that students will need in a digital society.

📜 Read “Rethinking the purpose of online learning: 4. Developing skills for a digital society”

by Tony Bates

2019-05-02 15.19.42

Read Read “Rethinking the purpose of online learning: 3. Supporting disadvantaged learners” by Tony Bates (tonybates.ca)

This is the third post in a series on rethinking the purpose of online learning. In the first post, I discussed Ontario’s strategy of making it mandatory to take four high school courses/credits online. In the second, I examined Kevin Carey’s claim that online learning could radically reduce the cost of higher education (at least in the USA).

In this post, I want to look at which students do best or worse in online learning, and whether we could be doing a better job supporting ‘weak’ or struggling students.

📜 Read “Rethinking the purpose of online learning: 3. Supporting disadvantaged learners”

by Tony Bates

2019-05-02 14.24.48

Read Read “Rethinking the purpose of online learning: 2. Using online learning to reduce the costs of higher education” by Tony Bates (tonybates.ca)

This is the second of three posts examining the purpose of online and digital learning. In the first post I looked at the government of Ontario’s strategy to require high school students to take four of their 30 credits online.

In this post I examine Kevin Carey’s claim in the Huffington Post that online learning could dramatically reduce the cost of higher education but hasn’t done so yet because of the commercialization of online learning.

📜 Read “Rethinking the purpose of online learning: 2. Using online learning to reduce the costs of higher education”

by Tony Bates

2019-05-02 09.38.23

Read Read by Tony Bates (tonybates.ca)

What is the purpose of online learning?

Online learning has been hitting the headlines recently:
– the Ontario government requiring every high school student to take four online courses out of the 30 high school credits required for an Ontario high school diploma;
– claims that online learning is not appropriate for low income and under-represented minorities
– Kevin Carey’s rant about OPMs and the creeping capitalist takeover of (American) higher education

I have found myself being asked by the media to comment on all these, but underlying each of my responses has been my considerable unease about the gap between some of the claims and the reality on the ground, and above all not knowing the possible motives behind some of the developments we have been seeing. Each of these developments raises questions about the perceived purpose of online or digital learning.

I examine this through three blog posts:
– mandatory online courses in Ontario high schools: good or bad strategy?
– can online learning dramatically reduce the costs of higher education and reduce inequalities in the system?
– beyond access: rethinking the purpose of online learning

📜 Read “Rethinking the purpose of online learning: 1. Ontario’s k-12 initiative”

by Tony Bates

2019-04-05 09.09.22

Bookmarked Bookmarked Padlet wall “Recognition of open online learning – the story so far” (Padlet – Gabi Witthaus)

Padlet wall “Recognition of open online learning – the story so far” by Gabi Witthaus for Nuffic e-Valuate Work Conference Den Haag, 28 March 2019

🔖 Padlet wall “Recognition of open online learning – the story so far”

by Gabi Witthaus for Nuffic e-Valuate Work Conference Den Haag, 28 March 2019

2019-04-05 09.04.47

Bookmarked Bookmarked “Recognition of open online learning: the story so far” (Gabi Witthaus – Google Docs)

“Recognition of open online learning: the story so far” Presentation by Gabi Witthaus. Nuffic e-Valuate Work Conference Den Haag, 28 March 2019

🔖 “Recognition of open online learning: the story so far”

Presentation slides by Gabi Witthaus for Nuffic e-Valuate Work Conference Den Haag, 28 March 2019

2019-04-04 08.28.55

Read Read “4 Lessons From Moving a Face-to-Face Course Online” (The Chronicle of Higher Education – Kevin Gannon)

Online courses were once well outside the higher-education mainstream, derided as glorified distance-education or trumped-up correspondence courses by those who saw them as the opposite of what a college experience should be. In the last 10 to 15 years, however, spiraling enrollment pressures and a brutal fiscal environment have pushed many colleges and universities into an online presence they might never have anticipated a few planning cycles ago.

📜 Read “4 Lessons From Moving a Face-to-Face Course Online”

by Kevin Gannon for The Chronicle of Higher Education

2019-04-04 08.13.49

Liked Glucksman Library on Twitter (Twitter)

“Library team taking an hour out for some #CPD this afternoon with @pmrdms #blendedlearning #onlinelearning Learning from our @ResearchArtsUL colleague and library friend Dr. Darina Slattery.”

e-VALUATE Project

This blog post will provide a brief introduction and overview of the European e-VALUATE project as it currently stands and will provide a snapshot of its primary aim to further the recognition, validation and accreditation of new forms of open online learning.

Tomorrow, as part of the European e-VALUATE project, I attend the e-VALUATE Work Conference in Humanity House, The Hague, Netherlands, where I represent my university, the University of Limerick, as the Irish higher education institution (HEI) resonance group representative, along with Quality & Qualifications (QQI) NARIC Ireland, the Irish project team member led by Angela Lambkin.

Gabi Witthaus will keynote the Work Conference building upon some of her previous expertise in this area.


One of the great hopes for online learning lies in its capability to open up new learning possibilities to those who traditionally have had little access to higher education. For this to be realised, certificates etc. awarded to students for undertaking online learning on whatever platform, will need to become greater recognised as a means to progress onto further study (via RPL, exemptions, and other methods) and to employment.

Outcomes of these ‘alternative’ learning experiences aren’t always captured and can go unnoticed within current HEI recognition practices which focus primarily on assessing prospective student’s qualifications obtained through formal or more ‘traditional’ forms of education. In tandem with improved recognition practice comes a need to quality assure the online learning being recognised so that evaluators and institutions can safely stand over the certificates being awarded as a means for awardees to gain entry onto their institutional programmes of study. The e-VALUATE project is looking to expand upon this to provide further clarity and guidance in the area of recognition of non-standard standalone e-learning.

e-VALUATE is an Erasmus+ project co-funded by the European Commission. The project consortium comprises representatives from the ENIC-NARIC network (ENIC = European Network of Information Centres, NARIC = National Academic Recognition Information Centres):
NARIC The Netherlands (Project Coordinator), NARIC Denmark, NARIC Lithuania, NARIC Norway, NARIC Ireland, and UK NARIC. Other partners involved are the Vice-President of the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee, the European Consortium for Accreditation in higher education (ECA) and Kiron, the non-governmental organisation enabling access to higher education and learning for refugees through digital solutions.

To ensure that the representative views and experiences of European HEIs are taken on board, a resonance group was formed comprising HEI representatives from each of the project team nations involved. My University received correspondence from QQI NARIC Ireland via the Irish Universities Association (IUA) and I was fortunate to be invited to be the representative Irish HEI resonance group member, which I accepted.

Aims and Outputs

e-VALUATE aims to offer evaluators handling applications some practical, accessible information and guidance on academic recognition, validation and accreditation of new forms of open online learning – MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), SPOCs (Small Personal/Private Online Courses), and other forms of standalone online learning, etc. The target groups for the project are HEIs, ENIC-NARIC centres, students, online education providers, policymakers, and refugee organisations such as Kiron.

The project proposes to produce two main outputs: a Position paper and an Online Learning Information Tool for HEIs.

The position paper will aim to provide clarity and raise awareness about what is needed to ensure online learning is recognised for admission to a HEI or for exemption from parts of a formal programme of study. It’s aimed at policy makers and educational staff involved in online learning provision at HEIs, online learning platforms (MOOCs etc.), and other stakeholders such as government bodies, quality assurance organisations and university umbrella organisations.

The Online Learning Information Tool will offer practical and easily accessible information for the purpose of academic recognition of MOOCs, SPOCs, and other forms of standalone online learning. The tool will be geared towards use by practitioners in the field of recognition. Depending on the context and purpose of its use, this tool will be useful to a diverse range of stakeholders including:

  • University admissions office staff
  • University access office staff
  • Faculty course directors
  • Boards of examiners
  • Credential evaluators at ENIC-NARIC’s
  • Others
Quality assurance of open online learning

In a previous publication entitled ‘Oops a MOOC!‘  – a paper produced as part of the New Paradigms in Recognition (PARADIGMS) project – the e-VALUATE project coordinator, NARIC Netherlands, led a project aimed at developing minimum standards that MOOCs and in-company training programmes should meet for the purpose of recognition. The findings presented in the paper are also relevant for HEIs.

The paper proposed 7 Criteria for assessment, including descriptions and indicators, against which open online learning could be recognised by a credential evaluator:
1. Quality of the study programme
2. Verification of the certificate
3. Level of the study programme
4. Learning outcomes
5. Workload
6. The way study results are tested
7. Identification of the participant

As a subsequent second step, the paper proposed use of the traffic light model as described in the JRC Science for Policy Report (p.6). Each of the 7 criteria above can be strongly present (green), present to some extent (orange) or not present at all (red). It’s also possible that no information is available on specific criteria (no info). Therefore, by using this traffic light model in conjunction with the 7 criteria for assessment, it’s possible to begin to evaluate whether a particular form of standalone e-learning is more or less suitable for recognition.

e-VALUATE_traffic lights

Proposed Traffic Light Model Measuring the Level of Robustness of each of the 7 Criteria for Assessment. https://www.nuffic.nl/en/subjects/e-valuate/

If HEIs begin to openly adhere to these criteria for acceptance onto their study programmes then it further becomes beholden on e-learning providers who are interested in ensuring that students who receive further academic recognition from their e-learning courses, HEIs themselves included, to bear in mind these criteria and the presence of them when designing and developing their offerings so that they can ensure adequate and appropriate academic recognition for the awardees of their certificates.

I understand that the Online Learning Information Tool aims to build upon this previous work to be a practical, easy-to-use, interactive object, helping practitioners in the field of recognition to assess all forms of open online learning that they might encounter during applications admissions processes.

I’m looking forward to delving a little deeper into this at tomorrow’s work conference.