Open Learning News

With only nine days to go until the chapter submission deadline, we thought we’d highlight some of the more innovative and monumental goings on in the world of higher education over the last few weeks. We watch with interest to see if any or all of the developments noted below include explicit creation of learning pathways for informal learning. Will learners drawn into open learning developments at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (USA), The Open University of Nairobi, and HASTAC, be given additional opportunities for credit?

Last week the world’s largest provider of online public health education, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (USA), celebrated its one year partnership with Coursera by announcing the introduction of 8 new courses to its current thriving bank of 113 for-credit online courses.

East Africa has also seen massive growth with the creation of open and distance learning courses at the University of Nairobi. Professor George Magoha told University World News “Open and distance learning has great potential as an effective tool for provision of education in developing countries because of its flexibility”.

The Open University of Tanzania has been the only stand-alone distance education institution in the area since 1992, offering a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees across a range of specialties.

HASTAC have also created a system to assist budding badge developers with an all you need to know Q&A database on the creation of a new badge. ‘Project Q&A Interviews’ was developed with the winners of the 30 Badges for Lifelong Learning competition. HASTAC states:

“Thirty rich, thorough surveys convey the variety of experiences and insights of badge development and institutional adoption, offering all of us real-life examples of how to build badge system for a wide range of audiences and purposes: higher ed, professional development, museum programs, schools, veterans, workforce development, and anywhere, anytime learning environments”.

For more info in the lead up to the book, be sure to follow us on Twitter, and if you’re feeling up to it, why not submit a chapter?

*Image courtesy of Dave King

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Open Learning News

Open Learning

There’s still 3 weeks to go before chapter submissions for the Open Learning and Formal Credentialing Book are due, and the open learning and lifelong credentials debates have only just begun! Make sure you follow us on Twitter for reports and updates!

When this book proposal was first submitted to IGI, conversations about credentialing were only just emerging, and it’s incredible to see how these dialogues have come to the forefront of the higher education world over a few short months.

In the race to keep up with the ever changing digital climate, Universities and learning organisations are constantly altering their systems to accommodate for this popularity surge in open learning.

@OpenExpl reported on an Open Learning innovation contest where innovators with ideas on connected learning are invited to submit their stories, ideas and experiences for consideration by a series of industry professionals and professors.

Inside Higher Ed has reported Deakin University (Melbourne) has launched its first MOOCs on humanitarian emergencies. Students have the option of studying for free, or for a fee of $495 allowing the assessment and awarding of credit towards a postgraduate qualification.

Similarly, La Trobe University (Melbourne) said it would capitalize on its hugely successful free iTunes course on ancient Rome by offering students the option of completing assignments for credit for a first-year subject, priced at $816. (Although one has to ask if this is much of an innovation given it might cost this to do a subject through traditional enrolment).

Not only was Melbourne the first University in Australia to offer a MOOC when it signed up to U.S agency Coursera in 2012, but the decision to use these courses as credit towards a formal degree is monumental and displays real progress in the way of recognition of prior learning. (One wonders why the provision of credit for a MOOC attracts a charge, when credit for prior formal learning within the AQF – for example via TAFE – is typically free?).

The New York Times has reported the MacArthur Foundation and Mozilla have announced they have been working with former U.S president, Bill Clinton, to expand the use of Open Badges, which will greatly enhance general awareness of both Open Badges and the call for recognition of lifelong learning. These innovations are, at least at this stage, free and open.

@OpenBadges drew attention via Twitter at the end of June to commentary by @FrankCatalano concerning the link between badges and professional credentials. Mr Catalano outlines the challenges and benefits of embracing Open Badges, stating: “Embedded in their (badges) small size may lie part of the future of credentialing, building in digital bits upon the best practices of the past.”

In addition, Mozilla have announced their collaboration with the city of Chicago to create the City of Chicago Summer Of Learning. Mozilla Open Badges reported: “Kids can explore, play and learn with hundreds of organizations and earn badges along the way. They can unlock exploratory challenges and make their own projects to add to their skills. They’ll showcase their work at an end of summer event in Chicago, into the next school year and beyond.” We encourage practitioners and scholars involved in these developments to submit a chapter proposal!

*Image courtesy of Giulia Forsythe