MICROBOL Kick-Off Conference 2020
The kick-off Conference of the MICROBOL project was the first in a series of meetings that will evaluate the current practices and policies relating to microcredentials. Specifically, this event explored the links between Micro-credentials and the Bologna Key Commitments.
The coordinator and partners of the MICROBOL-project invited all BFUG members and the representatives nominated by their country to register for the online webinar of the project, that took place on 31st August 2020.
Following the introductory webinar, on 1st September 2020 the first meetings of the 3 working groups of MICROBOL were organised. These sessions were only open for official nominees.
Agenda for the MICROBOL Kick-off Conference
Day 1: Monday 31 August 2020 – Webinar
|9.15||Testing of the system|
|9.30||Welcome by the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training|
|9.40||Keynote – Higher education of the future: micro-credentials in global context
Professor Bundit Thipakorn, King Mongkut’s University of Technology tThonburi, Bangkok
|10.00||What are micro-credentials and what is the added value they bring?
Elena Cirlan, Project and Policy Officer, EUA
||Micro-credentials and their contribution to higher education in the European Union
Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, European Commission DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture
|11.00||Current projects and frameworks on micro-credentials in the EHEA
MicroHE and OEPass Projects – Anthony Camilleri
Common Micro-credential Framework (CMF) – George Ubachs
The growing importance of micro-credentials for employers and talent markets – Rolf Reinhardt
|12.00||The MICROBOL project and its activities
Magalie Soenen, Policy advisor higher education, Flemish Ministry of Education and Training
|12.15||Micro-credentials and the EHEA tools
Tia Loukkola, Director for Institutional Development, EUA
|12.35||Concluding remarks and end of the webinar|
Day 2: 1 September 2020 – Working Groups
|9.00-11.00h||Group 1 – Quality Assurance
Facilitators: Belgium-Flemish Community, Peter van der Hijden, Anthony Camilleri
Quality Assurance of Micro-Credentials – Anthony Camilleri
|11.15-13.15h||Group 2 – Qualifications’ frameworks & ECTS
Facilitators: Finland, George Ubachs, Katherine Isaacs
Qualifications Framework and ECTS – Katherine Isaacs
|14.15-16.15h||Group 3 – Recognition
Facilitators: Italy, Frederik De Decker, Peter van der Hijden
Recognition of micro-credentials – Frederik De Decker
Nominees of BFUG member countries/organisations
|Objectives and expected outcomes:
The key aim is to consider how the existing tools of the EHEA can be used or should be eventually modified to accommodate micro-credentials into the Bologna framework.
Each group will also set up a roadmap identifying the key steps (challenges, needed adjustments, possible challenges, etc.) in the integration of micro-credentials into the framework(s).
Each working group will have the following structure:
Themes of the MICROBOL Conference
This event laid down the foundation of the Working Groups on Qualifications framework and ECTS, Recognition and Quality Assurance. Each Working Group worked on how their theme can be linked to micro-credentials and the Bologna Key Commitments.
Working Group on Qualifications Framework and ECTS
Facilitators: Jonna Korhonnen (Finland), Carita Blomqvist (Finland)
Experts: George Ubachs, Ann Katherine Isaacs
- Do micro-credentials, as they are defined in the context of the MICROBOL project, fall under the provision of the Lisbon Recognition Convention? To what extent do they fall in its definition of qualifications?
- To what extent are the existing frameworks for recognition applicable to micro-credentials? What modifications are needed, if any?
- Are the existing recommendations and guidance on how to document lifelong learning/open education experiences clear for the purpose of credit accumulation and transfer in the context of micro-credentials? If not, how should the recommendations be adjusted to address micro-credentials?
- Should the existing procedures for recognition of prior learning, including non-formal and informal learning be used in the context of micro-credentials? What are the pros and cons?
- How would ensuring integration with the European Student Card Initiative and the Digitally Signed Credentials of the new Europass contribute to smooth recognition of micro-credentials?
- Is the Diploma Supplement detailed enough to facilitate the recognition of micro-credentials? If not, what is missing?
- Should there be a specific, more detailed supplement for micro-credentials that is comparable to the Diploma Supplement (such as the proposals made by the projects discussed above)? How could such a supplement look like?
- Should micro-credentials that are part of a conventional study programme be highlighted in the Diploma Supplement issued for a graduate?
Working Group on Recognition
Facilitator: Chiara Finocchietti (Italy)
Experts: Frederik De Decker, Peter van der Hijden
- How should micro-credentials relate to the QF-EHEA?
- Should micro-credentials be considered similar to short-cycle qualifications or programmes that fall outside the QF-EHEA degree structure? Or how do micro-credentials differ from them?
- How can the example of the short-cycle degree be applied to the micro-credentials that complement existing degrees?
- How, if at all, should the QF-EHEA as a meta-framework be used to address the following aspects of micro-credentials in higher education:
- determining the range of ECTS credits assigned to micro-credentials;
- formulating the descriptors of micro-credentials and their possible aims within higher education;
- clarifying the overarching standards for micro-credentials that give access to conventional qualification?
- Should micro-credentials be assigned to specific QF-EHEA cycles or should a new QF-EHEA cycle be developed to which micro-credentials could be attached?
- Should national qualifications frameworks include regulations in regard to micro-credentials offered by providers other than higher education institutions?
- What would be the limitations for applying ECTS to micro-credentials, if any? How can they be addressed?
- Should the ECTS Users’ Guide provide more detailed guidelines regarding micro-credentials? If yes, what kind? Could these be included in an annex or explanatory note?
- Should the stackability aspect of micro-credentials be addressed in the ECTS Users’ Guide? If yes, how could it be addressed?
- Should the ECTS Users’ Guide provide a set of recommendations for the micro-credential providers regarding the information they should make available to facilitate the recognition? If yes, what should these recommendations include?
Working Group on Quality Assurance
Facilitator: Magalie Soenen (Belgium-Flemish Community)
Experts: Peter van der Hijden, Anthony Camilleri
- What should be the role of external quality assurance in assuring the quality of micro-credentials? Should it be different depending on the provider? If so, how?
- Are there any specificities in external quality assurance of micro-credentials that would conflict with the expectations of the ESG? Which would they be?
- To what extent are the ESG standards on internal and external quality assurance applicable to all the providers (besides higher education institutions)? What are the limitations of applying the ESG for providers other than higher education institutions?
- Are there any specificities of internal quality assurance of micro-credentials that are not covered by the Part 1 of the ESG? If yes, what are they?
- Would a report on micro-credentials similar to ENQA’s on quality assurance of e-learning be useful or needed? If yes, which are the aspects of the ESG where guidance is required?