Preparing Career Aware Graduates by applying an ISA Model and Integrative Career Development Learning in Science Courses at UNSW Sydney
1Prince of Wales Clinical School, UNSW Sydney; 2School of Medical Sciences, UUNSW Sydney
The success of student employability post-graduation is not solely determined by obtaining an academic qualification. Other qualities are also important including: graduate attributes, professional skills and the ability for students to properly package and present their credentials and capabilities. The ISA - Image of potential own career, Self-directed life-long and life-wide learning as well as Assessment and adjustment model was implemented in senior third year science courses at UNSW using ePortfolio pedagogy to raise awareness and develop career relevant skills for undergraduates. The idea was to engage students recognizing their emerging identity and their images of own potential career, carry out a self-directed learning journey to understand and pursue their career goals, and take assessment and adjustment of their studies and get the most from them. We were the first to deliver integrated career development learning (ICDL) in a learner centred ePortfolio (a teaching ePortfolio in Moodle plus student ePortfolios in Mahara) utilising emerging technologies. We have used the internationally recognized assessment tool: Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy (CDMSE) Scale, which seeks to measure the confidence of a student in pursuing their career goals and assess the longitudinal impact of interventions in career development education. We have proposed an ISA model to deliver integrative career development learning (ICDL) in our teaching and research project approaches. The pilot application of ICDL in a cancer sciences course showed that students became significantly more confident in career associated self-efficacy, which formed the basis of the present study which delivered ICDL to students in four 3rd year senior science courses versus a control class across disciplines within the School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Sydney. The goal of our study was to evaluate effects of the ICDL on career associated self-efficacy of students from career-intervention classes that raise student awareness of potential career paths available to them, as well as whether there were observable effects between female and male students in each course, using an international standard career decision making and self-efficacy (CDMSE) score. Study outcomes indicated a significant improvement in the CDMSE scales pre- and post-course within four courses that received ICDL intervention individually or as an intervention group, but not in the control course. The improvement was noticed in either females or males pre- and post-ICDL intervention when analysed in single gender. Males showed slightly better improvement than females at the end of the ICDL intervention. The introduction of this pedagogy and model has proven t be successful in evidencing graduate learning outcomes for improving student confidence in CDMSE. Reflective practice that was integrated with career learning was a key aspect to this approach and facilitated student awareness of their emerging identities as scientists-in-the making. Implementation of ePortfolios to build student identity in the sciences supports them in developing reflective practice, metacognition, digital literacy, career awareness, knowledge of graduate employability and professional identity. Importantly, ePortfolios assist students in higher education to ultimately develop evaluative thinking allowing them to make sense of their learning. Students can then become owners of their professional identity and navigate their way towards future employment.
OpenAgri: New Skills for new Jobs in Peri-urban Agriculture: Using Open Badges for Urban Innovation
1Cineca, Italy; 2Municipality of Milan
In the public agenda, food is no more considered just as a commodity or as a nutritional necessity; it is an emerging multidimensional policy challenge, which crosses ecological, social, economic and spatial dimensions. A sustainable and integrated urban approach is needed to deal with the main issues that must be addressed: an inclusive, coherent and reflexive urban-rural food governance system; a more solid social and physical infrastructure to reduce the distance between producers and consumers, and to promote circular economy; reliable markets for quality food producers, resulting in new opportunities for SMEs development; the need for experimenting new forms of entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector, and for creating new jobs and skills.
OpenAgri is an EU-funded project under the Urban Initiative Actions umbrella, lead by the City of Milan and gathering over 16 partners, from start-up incubators to social enterprises, from agriculture and food innovation experts to universities and technology providers.
At the core of the project there is an “Open Innovation Hub on Peri-Urban Agriculture”. The Hub will be a physical place, Cascina Nosedo, at the southern border of the city of Milan: with its buildings to be restored and opened to the public, and some acres available for cultivations projects and the like. But the Hub is also an integrated strategy to deliver innovation in existing and newly created nodes of the agri-food value chain, focusing on new skills, training, pilot projects for SMEs and startups ideas.
The project aims at improving interactions between traditional knowledge holders and other more innovative actors, between local and city-wide realities engaged in product, services or process innovation. It is also expected to foster cross-sector linkages and hybridization between different fields (agriculture, food industry, culture, education…) and actors (SMEs, NGO, PA) with the ultimate aim of testing an innovation-driven inclusive growth model.
How shall we highlight all the knowledge, skills, competencies that already are within the local territory and its actors, and those who will be created through the virtuous interactions activated by the Innovation Hub? How do we map all this value and make it readable as OpenAgri’s value while giving proper credit to the multiple actors who are cultivating, assessing and endorsing skills? How do we provide lifelong learners who will be engaged in the Hub’s activities with something tangible as a result of their path, of their willingness to get involved and share?
These needs lead to the engagement in the project of Cineca and its Open Badge platform Bestr. For OpenAgri the Open Badges features on Bestr will be expanded to include Learning Pathways: a learning pathway can be made up of many Badges by different issuers and may or may not lead to a macro-Badge identifying a professional profile or a specialization related to urban and peri-urban agriculture and the agri-food sector in general. The various skills and competencies growing in and around Cascina Nosedo will be mapped, as will be the different – possibly alternative to each other – ways to develop and assess them.
In this way the different training opportunities, that will arise in OpenAgri, will be matched to Badges and interconnected to form learning pathways that the learners involved in the project will experience, demonstrate and share.
The main challenge will be the mapping itself: we will deal with competencies varying from soft skills to entrepreneurial skills to very specific domain skills; competencies for which the partners are Learning Providers or Assessment Providers, and competencies still unknown to the partners, which will be brought to the table by the candidates for new projects to be realized at the Hub and for which Learning and Assessment opportunities will have to be found or created.
We will need a way to master the complexity while letting it express its potential. We’ll need to set boundaries related to the granularity level to which Badges may be meaningful (not too detailed, but not too broad nonetheless), and we need to define processes to let all actors interact fruitfully while maintaining a clear readable and valuable result in the eyes of learners and of the general public.
The presentation will detail the broader purpose of the project, the challenges expected in the implementation of the project’s competency system through Open Badges and the value that we expect this system will bring to the overall project and the territory.
Analysis of proposed expansion of TESOL Arabia’s open badge system from simple recognition of participation at face-to-face events to online evidence-based recognition of activities and artefacts that demonstrate application of professional practice
TESOL Arabia, Oman
Introduction to general context
The “open badge” project to be presented is in the context of supporting the mission of the Non profit organisation (NPO) - TESOL Arabia (TA) and addressing recent challenges that impact on TA’s programming efforts. TA is an organisation whose mission is to address the professional development (PD) needs of its members, namely EFL teachers, most of whom are based in the UAE but who are also growing numbers in other parts of the Arab Gulf region. It is run by volunteers elected from its membership and is financed by both membership subscriptions and proceeds from its annual international conference and exhibition .
Impact of change
TA is facing at least two major challenges - a change in membership profile, and a change in UAE Ministry of Education policy. Both have significant implications for TA programming and by extension, the organization’s badge ecosystem. Membership statistics over recent years reveal a decline in its traditional membership base, UAE teachers, while membership from outside the UAE is trending upwards. The result is that membership growth has plateaued. Yet the bulk of the Organization’s programming efforts - face to face events - remain largely focused on serving the needs of only UAE teachers and participation rates at these events are on the decline, with only one exception - the annual TESOL Arabia conference - where members throughout the Gulf region bolster numbers. Part of the reason for this decline appears to lie in policy changes at the Ministries of Education level in the UAE and other countries in the Gulf region. Up until recently, Ministries of Education had a largely decentralized approach to promoting teacher PD. TA programming helped address much of what was then UAE teacher driven demand for PD programming, and UAE Ministries at least, formally expressed their support for such programming by promoting teacher attendance at TA events and taking a highly visible sponsorship role at the annual conference. At the advice of international organizations, such Ministries are now focusing on improving graduate education results. As a result, Ministries are now taking a more centralized approach to promoting teacher PD which has led to more funding being directed at organizing such PD with higher quality and in-house. These changes have precipitated a rethink of TA’s programming efforts. It is now apparent that they not only meet the PD needs of UAE based TA members but also those in other parts of the Arab Gulf. They also need to be more closely aligned with the new centralized PD programming efforts at the ministry level if TA wishes to garner the same or even greater Ministry of Education support.
Response to change
Online instruction strategies are now being pursued by TA as a means of addressing these challenges and “open digital badges” are seen as playing an important role in supporting this initiative. Since their introduction in 2014, “open digital badges” have been used by TA to recognize volunteer participation in TA events, especially the annual TESOL Arabia Conference. Proposed now is expansion of the existing badge ecosystem to include “evidence” based badges that recognize membership engagement in activities that demonstrate application of professional practice. This is more closely aligned with both TA’s fundamental mission and the Ministry of Education policy push to promote higher quality PD. Currently being entertained is the use by members of a basic professional practices framework to document and share their engagement in PD as criteria for earning such badges.
Challenges in design
A number of key challenges to realizing this initiative have been identified. Foremost is how to increase the likelihood of its successful implementation. The presentation seeks to evaluate the current plan in terms of recognising/ characteristics common to successful badge programs elsewhere ; reviewing how many of these already exist within TA’s current badge ecosystem; and identifying which characteristics if any should be included in the proposed plan. Equally important is conducting careful review of whether badge criteria should be compliance based (addressing a checklist of preconditions) or competency based (meeting clearly defined standards) or a combination of both. Identified here is a tension between realizing practical badge administration and realizing possible badge endorsement from Ministries of Education in the region.
Promoting inclusion in the design process
The presentation also proposes the use of “design thinking” practices as another means to increasing the likelihood of the successful adoption and sustainment of the plan. Such practise invites input from members during the design and implementation stages. This is done with the intent of not only improving the quality of the design, but increasing its ownership and subsequent dissemination.
Presentation will offer detail on the rationale for the current badge system changes and will welcome discussion on the planned badge initiative, its challenges, and its methods for promoting greater membership inclusion.
Open Badges in the Higher Education student lifecycle
Open Badges represent the competencies and results achieved by a person, but their nature of digital objects conforming to a standard and objects that can travel over internet makes them not only a “message” but also an “instrument”.
They are, in reality, an easily adopted instrument, one that is simple and reliable and enables interoperability and integration between platforms and therefore between organisations and heterogeneous contexts.
Open Badges represent the standard for Open Recognition of learning achievements, enabling the creation of an Open Recognition ecosystem.
Cineca supports the Italian universities in digitalising their processes and is providing technological solutions to manage the organisation overall, from internal administrative processes to those of management of Research and Teaching, as well as all the processes regarding the student. Cineca is, therefore, one of the stakeholders who are called upon “to establish a trustworthy system of human and machine verifiable learning credentials and to adopt open standards facilitating the comparability and transferability of learning credentials” (Open Recognition Declaration, second action).
In 2015 Cineca set up Bestr, the first Italian digital platform to exploit Open Badges for enhancing lifelong and lifewide learning. Over the two years since then, Cineca has published more than 450 Badge Classes from more than 70 organisations and set up various scenarios and use cases typical of the university world. These use cases have led to an organic view of the Bestr platform and the Open Badges relative to university processes and their implementation has been based on the integration of different systems (LMS, SIS and others) through the use of open standards for the exchange of events and data.
In 2018 Cineca and the Universities in a consortium decided to focus development of the Bestr platform on the life cycle of the university student and identify the six core stages that make it up: Orientation, Admission and enrolment, Exams, Acquisition and recognition of study credits, Conferral of the degree, Alumni.
This operation will have two aims. The first concerns the students directly and is that of exploiting Open Badges at every single step in the life of the university student, to increase the value of the competencies and results achieved. The second concerns the University and is that of exploiting Open Badges to digitalise or improve internal processes.
The first use case allowing us to focus on the student life cycle concerned the stage of acquisition and recognition of study credits. Since the end of 2016 Bestr allows the consortium universities to exploit Open Badges as an instrument for recognising competencies and results achieved by students in formal credits: extracurricular activities, language certificates, periods of external mobility, activities carried out with companies and external organisations or on-line activities supplied by other organisations can be automatically converted - “monetarised” by a University, making use of endorsing and the capability of the Student Information System to handle Open Badges and attribute a value to each Open Badge in terms of formal credits.
In 2017, the University of Milan Bicocca proposed a second use case connected with the process of “Degree Conferral”. In this case the Open Badges have been exploited to represent and certify automatically (thanks to integration with SIS) Open Badges representing a university study certificate. In this accomplishment, as well as the Open Badge standard, the xAPI standard was also exploited, to enable the SIS to transmit to Bestr the event of conferral of the degree and a set of outcomes (for example, grades, date) and evidence (for example, title of thesis, abstract of thesis) that give better communication of the value of the Open Badge conferred.
To deal with new use cases regarding the other stages of the student life cycle, Cineca has defined a series of further new scenarios and identified actors, aims solutions that look on Open Badges as a key instrument for digitalisation or improvement of university processes and for implementing new forms of Open Recognition.
These scenarios have been shared with the Universities in the consortium, so that they can used them as a tool for exploring and understanding the specific real needs of each University and then pass on to an implementation stage.
The paper will describe the scenarios already implemented and those proposed by the Italian universities, providing an example of a possible application for these.