Monday, April 08, 2013

Recognition of Prior Learning for University Teachers

Greetings from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, where Richard Brawn, Head of the HEA's Teacher Excellence Team, is speaking on "Recognising and Promoting Staff Expertise in Teaching and Learning: the UK experience". The ANU is a subscribing institution of the UK Higher Education Academy (HEA). The HEA has a Professional Standards Framework (PSF) and HEA Fellowship. It should be noted that this is a separate program to the Certified Membership Scheme run by UK Association for Learning Technology (ALT), which was extended to Australia last year.

HEA's process is similar to Recognition to Prior Learning using an e-portfolio for Australian vocation teachers. In terms of positioning the organization, the ANU would see itself similar to the UK University of Cambridge, at least in the field of computing. Richard did not mention Cambridge, but I did a quick search and found a Higher Education Academy Briefing, scheduled for 13 May 2013.

The process, as Richard describes it, also has similarities to the Australian Computer Society's processes for promoting professionalism. It would be interesting to explore coordination between education certification and other professional certifications, including computing.

HEA Fellowships do not replace tertiary qualifications in Higher Education for ANU staff. The ANU Certificate of Higher Education was discontinued, but ANU staff can enroll in a program at another university to obtain tertiary qualifications in Higher Education (I undertook half my GCHE at USQ on-line).

At present I am certified by the ACS as a computer professional, have just finished the current ANU HE Certificate, applied for certification to teach in the vocational sector. If I need to be certified again through a UK based process to teach in a university, the regulatory burden starts to become high. It would be useful if these certifications were aligned. The ACS has achieved such an alignment internationally, through the "Seoul Accord", for IT professionals.

What can make such RPL processes easier is good on-line support. Learning Management Systems, such as Moodle, with  an e-portfolio package, such as Mahara, can be used for this.

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