OEPass – Open Education Passport

The recognition and transfer of individual credits through ECTS was created for an era of physical mobility, and is optimised accordingly. EU recognition instruments, such as the diploma supplement and the EQF, support the award of qualifications in the areas of formal learning, and are supported by recognition procedures for non-formal and informal learning.

While these tools can be used to support open education and virtual mobility, a number of caveats exist to their use, including that:

  • little to no guidance exists on how to document virtual mobility / open education experiences for the purposes of credit transfer;
  • procedures for recognition of prior learning or of non-formal/informal learning do not scale to the massive numbers of students enrolling in open education programmes such as MOOCs;
  • there is no European approach to recognising, transferring or scaling open education modules.

These problems are so pronounced, that many open educational providers are creating parallel systems of credentials that are not even described in terms of ECTS – leading to a situation where millions of students per year are enrolling in open courses offered by universities which do not necessarily award valid or recognised forms of credit.

OEPass intends to address these issues by creating a standard format for describing open education and virtual mobility experiences in terms of ECTS which:

  • addresses common criticisms (lack of trust) of open education, in particular with respect to student assessment and identity;
  • is scalable to hundreds or thousands of students through automatic issuing and verification of certificates;
  • Can capture a wide range of non-formal and formal open education experiences.

The project is divided into five stages

Study and Predict the Impact of Open Education Recognition

We will build exploratory scenarios, which describe events and trends as they could evolve based on alternative assumptions on how open education recognition might influence the future. Thus, the technique will be used to develop a future history – that is, the evolution from present conditions to one of several futures. The scenarios will outline a causal chain of decisions and circumstances that lead from the present, displaying the conditions of important variables over time.

We believe that by increasing the quantity and quality of recognition processes in OE we will:

  • create new flexible learning pathways for students inside Higher Education;
  • allow institutions to increase the scope of their offer, by integrating into their curricula teaching/learning done at other institutions;
  • improve resource-efficiency within HEIs;
  • lead to an increase in the use and impact of Open Educational Practices.

Enhance Transparency of Quality Credentials by creating a Learning Passport

The consortium will propose a transparency instrument, building on proposals in the field, which documents the

  1. course design,
  2. learning activities undertaken by the learner, and
  3. assessment activities, which make up a credential.

This ‘learning passport’ is intended to serve as a supplement to the credential, to facilitate its recognition by other institutions. To this end, we will pilot its usage by using it to transfer information on credentials in 6 Higher Education Institutions, thus ensuring that it fulfils its purpose.

Propose Technological Methods to Strengthen Automatic Exchange of Recognition Information

Should the process of recognition of credentials be conducted entirely manually, it would be extremely time consuming and inefficient, especially where such processes are to be conducted at scale. To this end, we will use roadmapping to propose a meta-data standard, ontology and a set of interlocking technologies which would allow for automatic exchange of credentials between Higher Education Institutions.

Clarify Concepts around Open Educational Recognition

The proper use of recognition tools described in Stage 2 and Stage 3 depend on the successful application and understanding of concepts such as estimation of workload, verification of student identity, fair and accurate assessment, and quality assurance of learning. Since there are differences of varying degree in applying these concepts in open education and in traditional formal education, we will propose guidelines for the correct interpretation of each of these concepts. The methodology applied here will involve collaborative authoring by the partners, backed up by the same process of peer-review used under Stage 1.

Study and Predict the Impact of Open Education Recognition

We will build exploratory scenarios, which describe events and trends as they could evolve based on alternative assumptions on how open education recognition might influence the future. Thus, the technique will be used to develop a future history – that is, the evolution from present conditions to one of several futures. The scenarios will outline a causal chain of decisions and circumstances that lead from the present, displaying the conditions of important variables over time.

We believe that by increasing the quantity and quality of recognition processes in OE we will:

  • create new flexible learning pathways for students inside Higher Education;
  • allow institutions to increase the scope of their offer, by integrating into their curricula teaching/learning done at other institutions;
  • improve resource-efficiency within HEIs;
  • lead to an increase in the use and impact of Open Educational Practices.