This report is Deliverable 3.4UKW, Options Brief Pack – Wales. It makes the following recommendations and suggestions.
POERUP commends the policy recommendations already made by Higher Education Wales that are now being put into practice in collaboration with HEFCW.
In addition it recommends the following policies:
- HEFCW should set up an innovation fund to support one new online initiative each year within an overall commitment to opening up education
- HEFCW should recommend to universities that they should work to improve and proceduralise their activity on APL (Accreditation of Prior Learning, in its various sub modes)
- and in particular to accredit knowledge and competences developed through all kinds of online study, informal and work-based learning,
- including but not restricted to OER and MOOCs, within agreed limits.
- HEFCW with HEW should continue to consider whether there are programmes or specific teaching situations (e.g. first year studies, pre-university studies) where a common approach to provision makes sense,
- and in the light of a successful outcome to such initiatives, foster the developments of common bases of OER material to support such provision.
POERUP supports many, but not all, of the recommendations made by the Online Digital Learning Working Group. In particular:
- It supports all recommendations on licensing and sharing resources (ODLWG Group 7)
- Online learning should be integrated into the approach for programmes funded through the European Social Fund (ODLWG Group 2 item 3)
- It strongly supports the development of a Welsh language skills MOOC (ODLWG Group 3);
- but in addition, it recommends consideration of a second version of this MOOC which might have a wider scope and in particular cover pre-higher education Welsh language needs.
- It supports improving the skills of further education staff (ODLWG Group 6):
- in more detail, the Welsh government should establish (and adequately fund) a professional development programme to help lecturers and administrators understand the benefits and uses of OER and open licensing.
POERUP considers that some topics in ODLWG Groups 1 and 2 require further study and then piloting before full implementation. In particular such studies should cover:
- scrutiny of the cost basis for further education delivery and consideration of the benefits of output-based funding for qualifications. (from POERUP FE group 2)
- research into standardised syllabi country-wide for technical and vocational training where this is appropriate for national action, and in the light of a successful outcome to such initiatives, foster the developments of common bases of OER material to support these standards, including relevant open repositories and (ideally jointly with publishers) open textbooks. (from POERUP FE group 3)
- research into the benefits of OER and sustainable business models, integrating this with ongoing research on distance learning, on-campus online learning, and pedagogy. (from POERUP FE group 8).
The piloting should take account of best practice in nearby countries and the EU and take into account the following principles:
- Support educational institutions in developing new business and educational models and launch research and policy experimentations to test innovative pedagogical approaches, curriculum development and skills assessment. (from POERUP FE group 8).
POERUP regards it as premature to make specific policy recommendations for OER in schools, given the current foci of OER in Wales, but suggests that the following topics need further study:
- Consideration of how an OER policy and plan for schools could address the issue of low scores in the OECD Pisa tests.
- Consideration of greater use of OER in Welsh-medium education in schools.
- Consideration of the techno-pedagogic/financial case for more standardised syllabi and the materials to support the teaching of these
- Consideration of the value of online material including OER in teaching and learning at GCSE and at A level
- Consideration of increased use of OER to support homeschooled children in Wales.
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