MicroHE featured at EU-level Coordination Webinar on micro-credentials

On May 11 2020 the European Commission has organised a Coordination Webinar for Erasmus+ funded projects working on the topic of micro-credentials. Anthony Camilleri’s slides showing the lessons learned in MicroHE are available for those who couldn’t join or would like to recap the presentation.

MicroHE at the 2019 Annual Conference of EUA

The European University Association (EUA) invited a MicroHE representative to its Annual Conference in the Support to HE Reform Experts (SP-HERE) held in Prague on 12-13 December. This international event provides a major networking space for approximately 120 HE Reform Experts from 20+ Southern and Eastern Neighbourhood countries, and provided a platform for various sessions on topically relevant issues. The invitation asked for an introduction to micro-credentials, tailored to the level of experience of the audience, plus how MicroHE is approaching the two major discussion points, i.e. granularity level and evidence required for assessment and recognition, and a results overview of the MicroHE project survey and Delphi study.

Ferenc Tátrai (EDEN) represented the MicroHE project at the conference. He was member of the “Skills and the labour market” panel, and moderated a presentation session in a break-up group on Digital provision & new credentials (micro credits). His presentation “Credentialing open non-formal learning in Higher Education: the MicroHE approach” created a fruitful discussion in the workshop.

The results of the MicroHE project were well received by the audience, and created a very positive evaluation in the conclusions of the break-out groups in the closing plenary.

Challenges and Opportunities of Micro-Credentials In Europe

What do students know about micro-credentials? Is there any university out there providing short learning programmes and accrediting them with modern, digital and stackable ECTS-compliant credits? What do EU regulators expect to update the accreditation systems in 2025? Is the corporate sector interested in micro-credentials?

The MicroHE team has spent hours in the second half of 2019 in interviewing nearly 50 representatives from students through HE representatives to regulators and employers in order to have an overall idea of their knowledge and expectations about this topic.

The briefing paper “Challenges and Opportunities of Micro-Credentials In Europe” is a comprehensive but synthetic report with the findings of this set of interviews, developed by Fondazione Politecnico di Milano with the help of DHBW and all the MicroHE partners.

Hopefully, it identifies the areas in which current European recognition instruments fall short and either provide better explanations on how to use those instruments in the context of micro-credentials and suggest optimisations to the instruments supporting micro-credential provision.

MicroHE Consortium Meeting and Digital Credentials Masterclass announced

The next MicroHE consortium meeting will be held on 23 October, followed by a 2 days long Masterclass in Bled, Slovenia on 24-25 October 2019.

The Digital Credentials Masterclass will bring together key experts to fuel the discussion on the future development of micro-credentialing. It will explore various aspects like access to education, development and information on learning opportunities, programme delivery, quality assurance, recognition or credit transfer and accumulation. The results of the European micro-credentials survey, launched earlier this year, will also be presented.

Blockchain and Education: Lille Conference Examines The Next Steps

With the upcoming Blockchain and Education Conference in Lille, 28-29 May, organised by the University of Lille and the Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning, we take a look at why the time is propitious to examine the scope of this enabling technology in the field of education.

Blockchain technology has been around for over a decade now with its proponents and opponents clearly sorted out into rival factions. On the one hand, blockchain proponents have repeatedly aired their support to the potential the technology offers in fashioning large-scale disruption of the status quo across multiple industries; and on the other hand, blockchain opponents have attempted to provide equally strong objections to the purported fallacy promulgated by the former group that blockchain will solve ‘everything’.

No matter which side of the argument you are on, it is safe to say that nobody remains untouched by the effect of the manifold applications of this technology that are actively being researched and in some cases, being piloted and implemented in practice. The field of education is no exception. There is a considerable amount of interest in the usage of blockchain technology from different parts of the world and different sectors across education and its governance that has made it a priority in the field of educational innovation.

The field of education is brimming with issues stemming from different perspectives including those of the educators, the institutions, the policy makers and most importantly, the students. There is a heightened need to acknowledge the significance of concepts like lifelong learning and universally accepted self-sovereign digital identities in the global knowledge economy.

Blockchain-powered Mobility, Freedom, Transparency & Lifelong Learning

To limit a student’s learning on the basis of his/her geographical location is no longer a possibility in the digital world of internet and social media domination. Moreover, employers demand a brand new skill set from students that is centered on adaptability, agility and competency. Consequently, students need to be able to be mobile and have access to a broader range of educational resources, not limited to one university or one educational degree.

In order to facilitate that process, blockchain can be used to create a digital system of credentialing which has the grassroots support of not just students but also the educational institutions that confer credentials. Creating trustworthy digital identities for students could be the first step in reforming a system that has long remained crystalised while the world surrounding it has changed many times over.

The Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning & Université de Lille Blockchain, Open Education and Digital Citizenship Conference, 28-29 May, examines the enabling potential of blockchain to aid learners and accrediting bodies… Click To Tweet

Blockchain and Education Conference, Lille

In order to understand the implications of using blockchain technology in education, it is essential to hear out all stakeholder beliefs across the sector including those from student leaders, educators, institutions, public bodies, private industries and the global blockchain community. Université de Lille and the Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning aim to provide a collaborative platform for these voices to be able to discuss the many issues surrounding the use of blockchain technology in facilitating educational processes. The conference on Blockchain, Open Education and Digital Citizenship on 28-29 May, 2019 in Lille, France aims to gather expert opinions on the field and open room for discussion and debate on the future of education in the context of blockchain technology. The conference focuses on key topics like digital citizenship, decentralization of education, sustainability considerations for blockchain and the legal and regulatory framework that needs to be in place for the usage of blockchain technology in education.

The conference acts also a follow-up to the Commonwealth Centre of Connected Learning’s 2018 Conference findings on ‘Blockchain Credentials & Connected Learning‘.

Blockchain Education Conference – Registration

blockchain education Lille ConferenceThe full programme and registration details are on Blockchain Education France. Note that registration is open until 26 April. There are opportunities for stands and pitch presentations.

Cross posted from the ConnectedLearning website


DHBW ‘Fachtag’

On February 7, the DHBW Heilbronn hosted the internal symposium under the motto “Digital Transformation”. More than 100 professors and lecturers from the different DHBW campuses could be welcomed at the location who want to network on topics from research and teaching.

Our project partner Florian Rampelt from the Stifterverband, among others, drew a wide arc between the past and the future about digitisation before the visitors set to work themselves in workshops.

Two workshops were held about our projects OEPass and MicroHE: The first workshop on our Learning Passport, which is currently being developed as part of the project, was followed with great interest by 12 participants. Jochen and Raimund from the DHBW and Florian from Stifterverband provided an overview about the OEPass project and gave participants the opportunity to ask questions about the documentation and recognition of micro-credentials via the Learning Passport.

The second workshop focused on micro-credentials within our project MicroHE. The central question of this workshop was to what extent it would be possible to establish small-scale educational qualifications within the structures of the DHBW within the next few years. 26 participants took part in this inspiring discussion.

We would like to thank all participants for their great interest in our projects.

4th MicroHE Consortium meeting in Germany

On the afternoon of 6 February 2019, we concluded an intensive, and highly productive, 2.5-day joint OEPass–MicroHE meeting in Heilbronn, Germany. Our host, DHBW, showed great initiative by proposing an innovative agenda and the unconventional meeting structure proved to be very beneficial.

Just like last time, on the afternoon of our arrival we had an expert meeting to kick off the work. This time our guest was Darco Jansen from EADTU. Darco is the coordinator of the European Short Learning Programmes (e-SLP) project, another Erasmus+ funded project, the partners of which have already conducted surveys about short learning programmes. Their results have great relevance to both projects, particularly MicroHE, that is also foreseeing to undertake surveys and interviews to analyse the current and short-term scope of micro-credential provision and to identify barriers to their accreditation and recognition in Europe. After an exchange of introductions of project goals, plans and our findings so far, we agreed that – in order to maximise the value of our combined efforts and to avoid reinventing the wheel – the MicroHE survey will learn from and build upon the e-SLP findings and also feed back the lessons learned from our own surveys and interviews to e-SLP.

On the first official meeting day, instead of sitting through a series of presentations, we were given time and space to discuss and fine-tune our project outputs in practical workshops. We still have some “homework” to do before we can pronounce the tackled outputs finalised, but we made greater progress during these few hours than for weeks beforehand. Especially since we all had different angles of approaching the same results, the constructive group work could bring all the partners to the same comprehensive understanding of the (multiple) purposes and functionalities of the outputs we are working on.

Both partnerships were invited to each other’s meetings, and although not everybody could stay for all 3 days, Tuesday evening we had both OEPass and MicroHE representatives at DHBW’s premises to participate in the most entertaining part of the programme, the team building cooking activity. We had a truly international menu of 10+ dishes, including simple but amazingly delicious Lithuanian garlic bread, Indian curry, Finish casserole (with a Greek twist), Italian gnocchi made from scratch, German apple strudel and a heavenly Hungarian dessert.

Cross posted from the OEPass website

MicroHE introduced to the MOONLITE community

At the end of October 2018 MicroHE and its sister project, OEPass, were invited to be introduced at the first multiplier event of the MOONLITE project. The recognition that these projects have the potential to make welcome changes to the educational landscape, and make a positive impact on the lives of Europe’s migrants and refugees, was a sign that our dissemination efforts are bearing fruits even in niche circles of HE providers.

The extent and significance of the impact made by OEPass and MicroHE depend on too many factors to predict precisely, but as Higher Education Institutions won’t be able to swim against the technological current for very long, we can be hopeful that maybe this time they will seize the day and lead the way to establishing an open and shared credential infrastructure by opening up their own credential offerings and making efforts to validate and recognise that of others, regardless whether these credentials come from formal or non-formal education. If this will also result in better integration of disadvantaged people, such as migrants and refugees, into our European society, job market and economy, we should be doubly pleased.

The detailed programme and all the presentations – that were all recorded – are now available on the MOONLITE website. Click here to view the presentation on OEPass and MicroHE, or find the slides on Ildiko Mazar’s Slideshare.

Cross posted from the OEPass web site

Guests from Singapore

On the 25th of November a delegation from Singapore visited the Research and Laboratory Department of DHBW Heilbronn, Germany. Together with their president Prof. Graf, OEPass project coordinator Mr. Raimund Hudak, Head of Research, welcomed the employees of SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), an authority of the Ministry of Education in Singapore. The delegation was informed about, and discussed the objectives of, the ongoing EU sister projects MicroHE and OEPass.

The SSG promotes and coordinates lifelong learning with educational institutions in Singapore to ensure that students and working adults have lifelong access to quality education. As part of the SkillsFuture movement, the SSG has developed a competence framework for key sectors of the economy. This Competence Framework is developed by the government in collaboration with employers, industry associations, trade unions and professional associations for Singapore workers, and it provides up-to-date information on career paths, occupations, professional roles, existing and new skills and relevant training programmes.

The SkillsFuture Singapore team travelled through Germany and met, besides the DHBW Heilbronn, the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), the German Development Institute (DIE), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BiBB) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Based on our mutual interest, we agreed to continue to regularly exchange information on our project developments and to work more closely together on the topic of FutureSkills.

Cross posted from the OEPass web site