Presentation to Digital Futures in Higher Education conference November 2012


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Dr Merilyn Childs A/Prof of Higher Education, Acting Director of the Flexible Learning Institute, Charles Sturt University, talks about recognition in HE in the digital age, at Digital Futures In HE: Aligning institutional strategy with pedagogical innovation
13th & 14th November 2012, Citigate Central, Sydney
(Note speech bubbles have been added as the slides themselves do not convey the argument.)

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Presentation to Digital Futures in Higher Education conference November 2012

  1. 1. Not business as usual?: MOOCs, Badges,OERs & global personal learning activismDr Merilyn Childs, Associate Professor of Higher Education, Acting Director ofthe Flexible Learning Institute, Charles Sturt University. Presentation at theDigital Futures in Higher Education, Aligning institutional strategy withpedagogical innovation, 13 & 14 November 2012, Citigate Central, Sydney. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  2. 2. Not business as usual? Overview Assumed knowledge – your badges •The business of institutional learning •A snapshot – what we know about the Australian University Sector’s relationship to learning outside the academy •The false promise of open learning •The “oranges and oranges” problem •The “not manufactured here” phenomenon •Evidence •Global activism and re-activism •Are we in a pickle? •The promise of open learning DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  3. 3. On this slide I was indicating that I wasn’toffering anyone the “sky is falling” badge. Permission pending DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  4. 4. Have you seen a MOOC? This is what one looks like, although this view does not show the connectivism that underpins the MOOC. My presentation is not about MOOCs as such, but about global activism in relationship to demands for HE to recognise open learning – and the difficulty this poses for Australian HE institutions because of the poor history of RPL in Australia DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  5. 5. The business of institutional learning On the next few slides I shared my thinking about the business of institutional learning, drawing from my time at the University of Newcastle., although I have never owned a handbag like the one shown. The Auchmuty Library, University of Newcastle, NSW late 1960s, Used with permission. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  6. 6. The business of institutional learning Inside the Auchmuty Library Foyer, the University of Newcastle, Australia - 1980s, Used with permission DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  7. 7. Learning outside the institution did not count. We know from research that the history of the business of institutional learning in Australian HE has been characterised by resistance to the inclusion of learning achieved outside the institution. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  8. 8. A snapshot – what we know about the Australian University Sector’s relationship to ‘learning outside’•Poor models and processes exist to conduct RPL infaculties of Education (Taylor & Clemans 2000)•Online information provided to potential studentsabout credit or RPL in universities is poor (Childs et al2002)•RPL should be seen as a learning process as well asa credentialing process. A national framework isneeded. Funding disincentives are substantial, overly-beaurocratic processes are in place (Wheelahan et al2002)•“Why is it so difficult to accredit learning that hasoccurred outside the academy towards the award of a On this slide and the next Iqualification?” (Wheelahan, Miller & Newton 2003) summarised the research that has been done that•RPL fails to act as a mechanism for social inclusion indicates the slow change in Australia in terms of(Cameron & Miller 2004, Cameron 2006) forming institutional relationships to learning outside. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  9. 9. A snapshot – what we know about the Australian University Sector’s relationship to ‘learning outside’ (continued)•Australian universities need to establish RPL practicesthat are transparent and consistent (Fox 2009)•Universities have ‘erected barriers to limit thedevelopment of RPL’ and the incorporation of lifelonglearning into university study remains ‘patchy at best’(Pitman, 2009, Pittman & Broomhall 2009)•Inthe vocational sector, unease about RPL means it isused conservatively (Smith, 2011)•Cameron (2012) advocates RPL in the context of ePs The research hasand WPL consistently show that Australian HE has struggled to value•Universities tend to see RPL as a quality discourse rather learning outside the institution. I remainthan a social inclusion one & no common consensus or unconvinced thatapproach exists (Pitman & Vidovic 2012) implementation via the revised AQF will make a difference to this history. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  10. 10. The false promiseof open learning Changes in HE need to do substantially more than introducing ICT-enabled learning inside the institution, without changing the institutions way of thinking about learning outside. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  11. 11. The oranges and oranges problem Grown outside Grown inside The distinctions that have been used to differentiate learning developed “inside” or “outside” the institution can no longer be relied upon as the point of difference. s/z/in/photostream/ DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  12. 12. The “not manufactured here” phenomenon The belief remains that learning “manufactured” within the institution is automatically better, more critical, or evidence-based than learning “outside” by citizen’s in their own learning journey. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  13. 13. Evidence 1 Inside, manufactured here Lifewide, not manufactured hereUNSW graduates are Global Citizenswho are:•capable of applying their discipline inlocal, national and international contexts•culturallyaware and capable ofrespecting diversity and acting insocially just/responsible ways•capable of environmental responsibility HE institutions talk about graduate attributes – but we need fresh eyes to be able to value and interpret the ways in which citizen’s participate in the world, and sometimes become enrolled students – and to recognise and value a citizen’s graduate attributes., or at the very least, learning Protest rally, December 14th 2009, Copenhagen Used with permission  outcomes DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  14. 14. Evidence 2Inside, manufactured here Lifewide, not manufactured hereUNSW Graduate AttributesUNSW graduates are GlobalCitizens who are:Professionals who are:•capable of independent, self-directed practice•capable of lifelong learning•capable of operating within anagreed Code of Practice This slide continues the discussion from the Used with permission previous slide. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  15. 15. EvidenceBack Me Up website Vimeo creativity NetworkcampaignBack Me Up Video What if a citizen produced these artefacts? Then enrol in a related formal program of study. How can we justify asking them to re-study what they have clearly demonstrated “outside”? Research indicates this often happens. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  16. 16. Global activism – cynicism & loans We need to consider (i) the global push-back against expensive HE study, and (ii) global activism to attempt to make HE institutions more permeable to learning “outside” DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  18. 18. Global activismMission StatementTHIS IS A PROTEST!Higher Education is a right for all not a privilege for the few. It is on thisbasis the Free University of Liverpool is committed to FREE educationfor any student who wants to study with us. At the Free University ofLiverpool we believe that critical thought and action are at the heart ofchanging the world we live in. With this in mind we support, teach aboutand practice cultural activism. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  19. 19. Global activism DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  20. 20. Global activism- Mozilla’sOpen the current formal educationand accreditation systems, much ofthis learning is ignored or missedentirely. Institutions still decide whattypes of learning count, with littleroom for innovation, as well as whogets to have access to thatlearning. Their end products, thegrade or degree, are the only waythat learning is currentlycommunicated and recognizedwithin the system, as well as the The Mozilla Open Badges project is notlarger society. just about curriculum, nor learning – they are about an explicit approach to claim from HE their control on credentials. We already have the policy environment to meet this challenge- but our challenge is to confront the “oranges and oranges”Paper_012312.pdf problem, the “not manufactured here” phenomenon, and be creative about our business, and models of design. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  23. 23. Global re-activism? MOOCS do not solve the issue of the relationship between a citizen’s learning and learning as an enrolled student. Pressure to resolve this relational failure is already emerging. online-universities-consider-strategic-response-moocs DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  24. 24. Are we in a pickle?I hope so.But not of the chicken littlekind. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  25. 25. The promise of open learningLies in •Seeing enrolled learning as a•Re-valuing situated knowing and relational package deal in citizen’sdoing lives (they will, even if we don’t)•Learning how to be engaged •Carefully challenging thetranslators rather than one-way ‘oranges and oranges’ problem,transmitters and the ‘not manufactured here’•Critique of industrial organization phenomenon (because neitherin HE (disaggregation, hierarchies make sense in a digital age).of knowledge) •Creativity•Co-learning DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  26. 26. The business of institutional learningAligning institutional strategy with open learning ina digital age means grappling with the question:How do we find new ways to think about, positively respond to, creativelyinterpret a citizen’s lifelong and lifewide learning journeyas an integral part of enrolled learning – and viceversa? The business of institutional learning over many decades has relied on distinctions such as critical thought, reflection, discipline knowledge, research etc , distinctions “shored up” via power over the credential. This distinction no longer holds true. Learning is a package deal developed by citizens who sometimes become enrolled students . The greatest challenge we face in the digital age is not MOOCS, despite Chicken Little. It’s our need to form new relationships between learning inside and outside the institution. Research has consistently shown that HE in Australia has resisted this change – and as a result the Sector has been thrown off guard. The rush to MOOCS won’t resolve the underlying challenge – we need to value lifelong learning, not just talk about it. Words like connectivism, seamlessness, authentic learning, student-centre learning are robbed of meaning if we don’t engage with and create new ways of engaging with learning outside the institution. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  27. 27. ReferencesCameron, R. 2006, RPL and the disengaged learner: the need for new starting points, in P Anderson & J Harris (eds), Re-theorising the recognition of prior learning, National Institute of Adult and Community Education (NIACE), England and Wales.Childs,M., Ingham V., and Wagner R. 2002, Recognition of prior learning on the web - a case of Australian universities, AustralianJournal of Adult Learning, Volume 42, Number 1, April 2002, pp.39-56.Cameron, R. 2012, "Recognising workplace learning: the emerging practices of e-RPL and e-PR", Journal of Workplace Learning,Vol. 24 Iss: 2, pp.85 - 104Fox, T.A., 2005, Adult learning and recognition of prior learning: The white elephant in Australian universities. AustralianJournal of Adult Learning, 54(3), pp. 352-370.Misko, J, Beddie, F & Smith, L 2007, The recognition of non-formal and informal learning in Australia: country backgroundreport prepared for the OECD activity on Recognition of Non-formal and Informal Learning, DEST, Canberra.Pitman T. & Vidovich L., 2012, Recognition of prior learning (RPL) policy in Australian higher education: the dynamics ofposition-taking, Journal of Education Policy , Vol. 27(6)Pitman T, & Susan Broomhall S, 2009, Australian universities, generic skills and lifelong learning, International Journal ofLifelong Education , Vol. 28 (4).Pitman,T. 2009. Recognition of prior learning: the accelerated rate of change in Australian universities, Higher EducationResearch & Development Vol 28(2), pp.227-240Smith, E., 2010, A review of twenty years of competency-based training in the Australian vocational education and training system.International Journal of Training and Development, 14: 54–64. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2419.2009.00340.xTaylor T., & Clemans A., 2000, Avoiding the Hoops: A study of recognition of prior learning processes in Australian faculties ofeducation, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education , vol. 28 (6). 2000The Mozilla Foundation and Peer 2 Peer University in collaboration with The MacArthur Foundation (2012) Open Badges for Lifelong Learning: Exploring an open badge ecosystem to support skill development and lifelong learning for real results such as jobs and advancement, pp.1-14. Working-Paper_012312.pdf retrieved 12/11/2012 Wheelahan, L, Miller, P., Newton, D, Dennis, N, Firth, J., Pascoe, S & Veenker, P 2003, Recognition of Prior Learning: policy and practice in Australia, report to Australian Qualifications Framework Advisory Board. DIVISION OR SCHOOL
  28. 28. Not business as usual?: MOOCs, Badges, OERs & global personal learningactivismDr Merilyn Childs, Associate Professor of Higher Education, Acting Director ofthe Flexible Learning Institute, Charles Sturt University. Presentation at theDigital Futures in Higher Education, Aligning institutional strategy withpedagogical innovation, 13 & 14 November 2012, Citigate Central, Sydney.Contact: Merilyn DIVISION OR SCHOOL