7 December, 2016
Accrediting MOOCs is one of the most pressing challenges facing the universal growth and accessibility of quality digital education. The Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS), a public Higher Education Institution in Malta, is embarking on a Pilot Study on the implementation, validation and accreditation of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) in the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Industry. The study is being carried out in partnership with the newly-established Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning (CCCL) in Malta.
The pilot study is in fact a first major launch initiative of CCCL following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Maltese Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) and the Commonwealth of Learning (CoL). The Institute of Tourism Studies fully subscribes to the joint CoL and CCCL mission and is fully committed to being a major, local player in Open Education and Digital Education.
The scope of the Pilot Study is to experiment with MOOCs and online accreditation in-line with emerging trends of Open Education, micro-credentialing and accreditation of digital learning. This is a first for Malta.
ITS is the pedagogical lead and is responsible for instructional design, content creation, course administration, student enrollment, course implementation, marketing and evaluation. The CCCL and CoL are providing general project management and support, while the Indian Institute of Technology of Kanpur (India) is providing the mooKIT Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), that will be used to deliver the online courses, as well as other technical support.
Since the accreditation and validation of digital education is the major focus of this Pilot, due importance will be given to testing of the accreditation process from the instructional, administrative and technological point of view. This will be done in line with the Malta Qualifications Framework and the European Qualifications Framework. The Transnational Qualifications Framework (TQF) will also be considered.
The Pilot has already started with the ITS working on instructional design, content creation and conducting an action-based budget exercise to determine the sustainability of the Pilot and eventually the MOOCs that would be delivered in the implementation phase.
The first online course of the Pilot is scheduled for launch in January 2017 followed by others in Q1 and Q2. The evaluation phase should be concluded by the end of Q2 2017.