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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
KEY3.1: Keynote Session
Friday, 27/Oct/2017:

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Progress in Canada: Toward an 'Internet of Skills'

Jeff Griffiths

Griffiths Sheppard Consulting Group Inc, Canada

Canada has a workforce development problem.

While we have one of the best credentialed adult populations on planet, we still have significant mismatches in the economy, resulting in “people without jobs, and jobs without people”. Recognizing learning that takes place outside of formal educational structures is virtually non-existent. For an individual, tracing a learning pathway from their current skills and competencies to economic opportunities (ie, jobs) is difficult if not impossible. While our country encourages immigration (targeted immigration levels are being raised to around 300,000 per year) – and yet we have over half a million immigrants in Canada who cannot work in their field because their credentials are not recognized.

The Open Recognition declaration and open badges are useful tools for workforce development, but in Canada there are noticeable and significant limitations. While there are currently over 10 million digital/open badges in existence around the world, but they are not linked to each other or to the economy in a cohesive and coherent manner, and as such recognition is haphazard, and they aren’t able to fulfill the promise of providing a passport to greater economic mobility for individuals, nor are they helping to streamline the recruiting and employee development practices for employers or guide curriculum development activities of educators and training providers.

The piece that seems to be missing, at least here in Canada, is a robust and comprehensive national skills/competency/qualification framework that would provide a mechanism for linking badges to the economy, as well as guiding the development of new badges and micro-credentialing. We believe there’s a real need to put the “voice of the customer” into the badging discussion by engaging industry/employers in creating the competency definitions that will guide development of badges in future.

Three research papers were published by the Canada West Foundation to explore these concepts: Competence is the Best Credential (April 2015) explored the need for Canada to do a better job of recognizing the things people can actually do rather than using formal education as a proxy for capability. Building Blocks (December 2015) explored the concept of modular, stackable, competency-based credentials for skilled trades, arguing that it had the potential to accelerate learning and provide greater worker mobility in a rapidly changing economy. Finally, Matchup (February 2017) presented a case for creating a comprehensive national competency framework for Canada.

Since then, the movement has built momentum, and efforts are underway to create the protocols that will govern the framework, with the belief that these protocols could be followed in an open source approach that would ultimately lead to an organic, self-populating, global, “internet of skills”. This presentation focuses on recent activities on the initiative, and invites a dialogue around these concepts.

Through an interactive process with delegates, we want to look at a number of questions:

  1. Is there value in creating a global protocol for the frameworks that need to inform the competencies represented by badging?
  2. Is there already work underway elsewhere that the Canadian initiative can link to?
  3. How are other jurisdictions getting the “voice of the economy” into the development of open badging, open credentialing and alternative credentialing practices?
  4. What are the advantages? Pitfalls? Roadblocks? Is there a “best place” (ie, industry, level, sector, type of competency, etc) to start the initiative?

The presentation will reveal the current state of developments in Canada, with specific details, recommendations and action plans that were developed during a number of forums, workshops and meetings held throughout 2017.

Study to support the revision of the Diploma Supplement and analyse the feasibility of its digitalisation at European level

Justina Vaikutyte-Paskauske, Simone Ravaioli, Rimantas Dumčius, Karolis Saduikis, Darius Buinauskas, Donatas Pocius

PPMI, Lithuania

The Study to support the revision of the Diploma Supplement and analyse the feasibility of its digitalisation at European level looks at the Diploma Supplement in an abstract sense, and elaborates on what it would mean to digitalise it. This custom-format study includes elements of status-quo mapping, an evaluative view on usefulness, and a feasibility analysis of future options for digitalisation of the DS at European level.

The report defines and describes four technical options for the digital development of the digital Diploma Supplement which could help solve the current implementation issues across the EHEA.

Since the focus of the study is the Diploma Supplement as a document or service issued together with a higher education diploma, we present the basic set of requirements for making a Diploma Supplement digital (Option 0). We then present a set of intermediary digitalisation approaches, which outline not only potential formats of the digital DS, but also student data exchange and interoperability solutions. Option 0 discusses the need for structured, machine readable data formats for compiling the Diploma Supplement and the meaningful exchange of student data. Options 1-3 discuss data output formats, and how to expand data exchange.

In this report we present Open Badges as one of the feasible Diploma Supplement digitalisation options that could be used to augment conventional education credentials. We conclude that even though the Open Badge option may not be readily transferable across the EHEA, it could be explored as a prospective solution in the context of emerging technology.

The open badge experiment in Dutch HE. Building a proof of concept for an open badge infrastructure.

Frans Ward, Ronald Ham

SURFnet, Netherlands, The

The open badge experiment in Dutch HE.
Building a proof of concept for an open badge infrastructure.

SURFnet, the National Research & Education Network (NREN) organization in The Netherlands, is building a pilot micro-credentialing system using the open source project Badgr, to allow institutions to experiment with creating and awarding open badges.

There is not much practical experience with open badges for micro-credentials in Dutch education. This is why experiments are indispensable. In 2017, we are creating a proof of concept for an open badge infrastructure, as well as investigating which technologies and standards are needed to be able to assign open badges. Additionally, we organise support for implementing micro-credentialing in higher education in the Netherlands.

Different scenarios
Higher education can become more experienced in dealing with the issues raised in the whitepaper[1] that SURFnet has written in 2016, through well-coordinated experiments.

The paper suggests three different scenarios for the use of badges in Dutch HE:

  1. Micro-credentials (accredited education, externally visible)
  2. Badges for extra-curricular (further) training
  3. Badges as a game element

These different scenarios provide different use cases for the use of open badges and the way in which they are accepted within the HE community. Currently most of the institutes are looking into open badges as an extra service on top of the current certificates or as an extra for proof of informal or exceptional learning within HE institutions.

The overall aim of the experiment
Together with 8 HE institutions we are looking into the added value of open badges for Dutch HE. This is done through experiments and workshops that are conducted on a centralized badging system which is developed and refactored based on the experiences and needs of these 8 institutions.

We seek to find answers at a practical and semantical level:

At a practical level: How can an institute or a teacher assert a badge? What is needed to implement a badge infrastructure for a HE institution or at a central NREN? What are best practices for asserting badges? At what level within the institution can badges be asserted? Can signing of badges add value to a badge and if so would this best be done by a NREN?

At a semantical level: Are badges course based or competency based or is there a better alternative? How can we make sure that badges within the HE sector are comparable and stackable, given the discussion between course or competency based badges? If badges are interoperable can students exchange an institute A econ101 badge for an institute B econ101 badge? How can badges best be displayed for minor exchanges? How can students create their own stack of badges and have them assessed as a whole study?

Our experiments are aimed to gain more insight into the process of using open badges within HE, the interoperability of badges within and between institutions for study programmes of students. In the workshops the institutes also work on finding the semantics for these badges by coupling the badges with earlier defined competency frameworks as well as predefined accreditation standards within Dutch HE. The frameworks and the data with regards to the values or scores on these frameworks is than mapped on the open badges specification. At the moment, there are not many available solutions that have alignments or other methods for linking badges with external validation methodologies available. Open source development and collaboration with suppliers is therefore needed.

We see promise in the use of open badges for Dutch Higher Education to enable micro credentialing and more flexibility and choice for students as well as better adapted education to meet the needs of employers who would like their staff to be certified.

[1] https://www.surf.nl/en/knowledge-base/2016/white-paper-on-open-badges-and-micro-credentials.html

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