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Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
Friday, 28/Oct/2016:

Location: Main salon

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CUoB: Investigating Opening up Badges in Coventry

Jacqui Speculand, Gemma Tombs

DMLL, Coventry University, United Kingdom

Open Badges are in their infancy and there are many issues, questions and obstacles to their adoption. However, we perceived them to be a valuable tool for students, tutors and employers and have developed an extensive pilot project across the University to explore their use and value.

The DMLL is a pedagogy innovation unit within Coventry University: we are running a staged pilot study of Open Badges as a mechanism for recognizing the achievements and experiences, skills and learning developed by students outside of the curriculum.

Feedback from students in the initial phase indicated that they would adopt and use Open Badges if they perceived that there was a value to them; specifically, if employers recognised them and if they were University branded (in the first phase, the badges were branded by the DMLL).

In Phase 2 we engaged with employers who have a relationship with the university to involve them in the project. The employers have, on the whole, embraced the concept and some have begun to develop Open Badges in conjunction with the University.

To increase the perceived value, we moved the branding of the Open Badges from the DMLL to the University so that all our badges are now branded as Coventry University.

The other main issue that arose in the initial phase, was the value and rigour of the badge system. To address this issue we have developed a framework for badge development, applied a template for design and manage all Open Badges issued by the University centrally until the project is embedded. We have also retained control of the badge system to ensure that value and rigour are consistently applied.

We are working with local and national charities and education organisations to increase awareness of Open Badges beyond the University and into the local community and primary and secondary education systems.

We work closely with an emerging badge issuing company with ties to the school and business communities to create wider networks and develop links across the education levels. This platform enables the students to access their badges and share them on all social media and online platforms. It also promotes and supports the use of endorsements as a means of adding value.

The third phase of the project is a University-wide initiative working with a range of academic and professional staff. We have projects with employability and careers units, global engagement units, Erasmus programmes, faculty-based projects at course and department level, Library and Information Services and IT. There are 18 sub-projects in total across the University, including two with local charities and cultural organisations.

In this phase, we will evaluate how students can create and determine their own badges to recognise their independent learning.

An essential element in our work is the evaluation and research to support (or disprove) our work. We have completed evaluation of the initial phase, are evaluating the second phase and will shortly begin evaluation of the third, and latest phase.

This evidence-based approach to our work will frame and contextualize the Open Badges project within the University and in the wider community. If the outcomes are favourable, the scheme will be adopted in the University and integrated in the education experience of students. This would be supported by a parallel programme of work with industry partners, and with secondary schools to create momentum from school, through Higher Education and into employment.

We are working together with other Higher Education Institutions in the UK and beyond to share our work and to collaborate where possible on initiatives, development and implementation of Open Badges. In this way we can promote the use of Open Badges and determine standards that can and should be adopted for their implementation.

In this presentation, we will summarise the project so far and discuss the third phase which takes the project across the university and into the community. We will examine local and national collaborations and discuss the potential for working with employers to create the value that students are seeking in an extra-curricular credential system.

Cambridge English Open Badges - pilots for change

Sarah Ellis1, Marica Franchi2

1Cambridge English, Southern Europe, Italy; 2CINECA

Cambridge English Language Assessment is part of the University of Cambridge and offers the most valuable range of qualifications for learners and teachers of English in the world with over 5 million people in 130 countries taking Cambridge English exams every year.

In moving towards becoming a more digital learning and assessment organization, Cambridge English is now exploring the potential of using Open Badges to recognize learning and achievement in language education and teacher development. Open badges will enable the qualification, skills and learning achievements to be shareable via online media and importantly, make them more immediately verifiable.

The first Badges created by Cambridge English were developed for teacher development(TD), designed to recognise participation at professional development events . The badges were awarded by the Open Badge Academy (OBA). Teachers attending Cambridge Day events in Italy, Bulgaria and Serbia were offered the chance to claim an open badge to demonstrate their participation at the training event. Teachers are usually required to be able to demonstrate their professional development activities and for those attending Cambridge English events for teachers, they would normally receive an attendance certificate via email. The Cambridge English TD open badges issued for the Cambridge Day events linked back to details of specific the Cambridge English Professional Development event and were only issued to those registering their attendance for the full training event. The open badge gave teachers the option to share this achievement online with their institutions and professional network.

In a new pilot project, Cambridge English will be issuing badges to recognise the language competence attained in the following Cambridge English exams: Cambridge English: Preliminary (B1), Cambridge English: First (B2) and Cambridge English: Advanced (C1). Cambridge English exams are aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) – the international standard for describing language ability and the Cambridge English open badges will provide candidates with digital evidence of their performance.

For this pilot project, Cambridge English is working in collaboration with the Italian platform, Bestr. which offers badge creation and issuing services. Bestr.will allow Italian universities the possibility to verify the language skills achieved by the students for CFU credits. In a pilot phase, a potential 500 open badges will be issued to students who attain the above certification through selected Cambridge English preparation centres.

Cambridge English provides the world’s leading range of English language qualifications. They are backed by outstanding support for learners and teachers and by world-class research, consultancy and quality management. Over 5 million Cambridge English exams are taken each year in 130 countries. Around the world, more than 20,000 universities, employers, government ministries and other organisations rely on Cambridge English qualifications as proof of English language ability.

Cambridge English Language Assessment is a not-for-profit part of the University of Cambridge and a division of the Cambridge Assessment group

A Mechanism for Capturing Skills Development: Linking ePortfolios and Professional Skills Building to Badges in the Sciences @ UNSW Australia

Patsie Polly

School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Australia, Australia

During their course of study, undergraduate students are generally unaware that they are developing professional skills related to graduate capabilities. Development of co-curricular professional skills and capabilities by undergraduates that are linked to formal academic, curricular learning is difficult to capture at the institutional level. Interestingly, at a program level the institution finds it difficult to track the development of these capabilities. This presentation will discuss work that is progressing within a UNSW Teaching Fellowship at UNSW Australia. The issue that the fellowship had been addressing is: ‘how do professional skills that underlie graduate capabilities get captured, tracked and recognised for future employability in a research-intensive university?’ Use of standards-based, aligned assessment of academic achievement that underpin graduate capabilities has been tracked longitudinally across three science-based degree programs within medicine and science faculties at UNSW Australia. Complimentary to this, a system of professional skills recognition has been developed that can be translated into a simple open badging ecosystem. The research aims of the UNSW Teaching Fellowship have been to: 1. Design, develop and implement an ePortfolio template that supports the development of graduate capabilities that are aligned with learning outcomes across programs at UNSW, 2. Design, develop a badging system to recognise and capture professional skills, 3. Engage and inspire colleagues at UNSW to implement ePortfolio pedagogy across context and discipline to facilitate self-directed student learning and reflection.

As the 2016 UNSW Teaching Fellow, I will take the opportunity in this session to share my cross-disciplinary process on how I engaged, motivated and inspired colleagues to adopt my ‘skills capture’ strategy using ‘ePortfolio blogging’ in the Bachelor degree programs for Medical Science (BMedSci), Exercise Physiology (BExPhys) and Optometry/Bachelor of Science (BOptom/BSc). The BMedSci represents a non-clinical, ‘pre-professional’ degree program that can prepare medical science undergraduates for many pathways including postgraduate studies in medicine, dentistry and research based masters and PhD programs. In contrast BExPhys and BOptom/BSc degree programs are clinically based, externally accredited and professional in their own right with an obvious pathway to future employability. These programs were deliberately chosen as they can be compared and contrasted for effects, including identity development, across diverse science student cohorts.

The ePortfolio platform, pedagogy and implementation strategies will be discussed. The journey began in the medical sciences at UNSW by integrating ePortfolio pedagogy with research-based authentic assessment tasks. This method facilitates close coupling of academic/curricular knowledge and professional/co-curricular skills development with a focus on reflective practice to explicitly link learning outcomes as part of how students prepare for meeting graduate employability standards.

The journey for both learners and teachers transitioned through an institution-wide pilot of Mahara ePortolio via Moodle, then into a self-directed program specific implementation using WordPress which brought the implementation back to the Open Universities (OU) Blog tool within Moodle at UNSW. Reflective practice was also being developed within the reflective OU blog with a focus on raising awareness of co-curricular skills that underpin graduate capabilities at UNSW. This has also had the effect on infusing folio pedagogy, habit of mind and thinking across context and discipline to facilitate self-directed student learning and reflection of skills development. Skills development will be recognised in ePortfolios with evidence of learning linked to a badging system. These badges of achievement are not necessarily discipline content based, but complement the discipline.

The fellowship has developed and implemented a rubric system as a mechanism for capturing and extracting data in order to quantify skills development that link back to student reflections on learning within ePortfolios. This rubric system is applied to assessment tasks that have been aligned with graduate capabilities and reflective practice. Program-wide tracking of student achievement in professional skills such as teamwork, research communication, critical thinking and knowledge acquisition has been addressed across BMedSci, BExPhys and BOptom/BSc as anecdotal evidence from colleagues and students suggested that these graduate capabilities are highly sought after by stakeholders such as future employers. While this fellowship is presently progressing through UNSW, there is scope to implement this mechanism for extracting data across any ePortfolio platform for application as metadata that sits behind badges of skills recognition. The mechanism of capturing and quantifying and recognising these skills in the sciences at UNSW Australia and beyond will be discussed.

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