Badged Open Courses (BOCs) are the latest evolution of a suite of free courses available from The Open University (OU) (Law & Law, 2014). Badged Open Courses are different from MOOCs in that they are aimed at a widening participation audience i.e. at so-called ‘access’ or pre-HE level. They are available on The OU’s OpenLearn platform (www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses) perpetually for free i.e. with no start and finish date. They provide recognition for studying the whole course and for passing online assessments via the awarding of a digital badge and statement of participation that learners can display, export to application letters and CVs and share on other third party social platforms (Law & Perryman, 2014). BOCs will also be visible on OU students’ Higher Education Achievement Records as part of their degree transcript.
The BOCS, launched in February 2015, cover skills for maths, English for study, employability, first steps into HE, working in the voluntary sector and digital literacy (Law et al, 2014).These skills include searching efficiently, critically evaluating information, communicating and sharing online; competencies which can then be transferred into the workplace. The courses should enable learners to feel confident in their abilities whilst becoming critical users of digital tools and resources for study, work and everyday life. They are as applicable to informal learners as they are to formal students.
This presentation will focus on the evaluation of the first seven months of the OU Badged Open Courses, including uptake, feedback and use.
Law, Patrina and Perryman, Leigh-Anne (2014). Internal responses to informal learning data: testing a rapid commissioning approach. In: 8th EDEN Research Workshop: Challenges for Research into Open & Distance Learning: Doing Things Better-Doing Better Things, 27-28 October 2014, Oxford, UK.
Law, Patrina and Law, Andrew (2014). Digital badging at The Open University: recognition for informal learning. In: The Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference 2014: ‘New Technologies and the Future of Teaching and Learning ‘, 23-24 October 2014, Krakow, Poland.
Law, Patrina; Perryman, Leigh-Anne and Law, Andrew (2014). Badging and employability at The Open University. In: European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN) 2014 Annual Conference, 10-13 June 2014, Zagreb.