Wed 5th July 2017 - 16:53

Catch up on our discussion on recognition of open courses

On 21 July 2017 Open Education Europa organised an online discussion on the recognition of open courses.

The live chat session was organised as part of OEE’s July focus on the recognition of open courses and was moderated by Lilian Boerboom. Lilian is the project leader for virtual exchange/credits for MOOCs at Universiteit Leiden.

During the live chat participants discussed topics including the steps involved for starting up a project, and quality assurance in relation to open courses.

The live discussion is now closed but you can take a look at the comments and see what the OEE community had to say on these issues. Don't forget to visit OEE and keep an eye out for our upcoming discussions.


All Comments

Fri 21st July 2017 - 11:57

Welcome to our live discussion on the topic of recognition of open courses. Today’s discussion is hosted by Lilian Boerboom, project leader for Virtual Exchange/credits for MOOCs at Leiden University.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 11:58

Hi everyone,

I'm a project coordinator in the field of education innovation at Leiden University. At Leiden we have gained experience with open courses (MOOCs and SPOCs) since 2013 and in the last year we have been exploring ways in which we can (formally) recognize these open courses.

I’m very curious to ‘meet’ all of you here and to hear about your experiences with open courses. Please feel free to share them along with your thoughts and questions on recognition of open courses.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:00

Hello Lilian! My name's Rumen and I work on the OEE project. I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on the matter of recognition of Open Courses, as well as the OEE community's opinion.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:01

Hello, I'm an EFL upper-secondary level teacher.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:05

@ALTIBELLI me too! Some really useful courses and resources there.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:05

Laurence, do you use the courses on Future Learn in your own courses of do you use them for educating yourself?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:05

Hi Lilian, I'm Sanjeet and I'm part of the OEE team. Looking forward to hearing more opinions on the recognition of Open Courses.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:06

@ALTIBELLI Hi I see you are also an etwinning ambassador, I research in online intercultural exchange :)

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:06

@Teresa, how are the reactions of staff and students so far? Does the staff like to re-use materials? Here that is a really big challenge for many people

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:07

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv For the moment I use it for my personal professional development. But I thought up using it in class.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:09

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv it has been a big challenge and many struggle with online presence but in the UK there is a growing participation in professional connected practice such as LTHEchat and G+ communities which focus on pedagogy such as #creativeHE

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:10

@ Laurence I think that would be really interesting. Many of the teachers use open learning for flipping and blended learning and at least are aware of the fact that it is out there. However here students are often not even aware of the fact that there is so much online education avalaible for free

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:10


Yes indeed I'm an eTwinning Ambassador. Don't hesitate in contacting me through eTwinning Live. Besides I regularly attend online eTwinning seminars and Learning events. The recognition they offer is Certificates, which is great but not so acknowledged by our system of education.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:11

We're hoping that with a big project we are working on right now, in which we want to make online courses avalaible for students for credits they will learn a certain way in which they can develop themselves later on when they have graduated and are working in the field

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:12

@ Teresa that sounds fascinating and what a great idea to set up a website for sharing tips and advice

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:13

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv sounds great, how can we follow your project?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:15

Well in the project, which is a pilot for three years, we're working with universities here in the Netherlands and worldwide such as Université Paris-Sorbonne (Pierre et Marie Curie), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and some other universities for example in Australia, Hong Kong and the United States of America. We still have to officially start, but the plan is to set up an overall website on which we will share some of our experiences

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:15

One of the courses I attended on the FutureLearn platform permitted to get credits, which is actually what I'm looking for. Because I don't want to attend university anymore, I feel too old now for that. Yet I would like to get fair recognition for the online courses I devote time for.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:16

@ Laurence how does that work? Are the credits from FutureLearn itself and do you have some experiences already of for example you employer who recognizes these credits?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:16

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv I think it helps when tutors curate oers and include them in their teaching materials, it increases the possibility of discovering new learning opportunities. I find flickr, pinterest and padlet useful for curating for languages

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:17

Welcome @Silvia Anastasia ! Are you planning to offer any type of recognition for your MOOC course?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:17

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv I have an online experience where I designed a MOOC with Eliademy for any language professionals. The MOOC aims at teaching ESL/EFL teachers how to teach Academic English. I believe that my problem is related to how to propagate for this online course. Can this course be a credited course that may be added to formal curricula? Some would say social media like Facebook and Twitter can be a solution for propagating for this course. Some would say that Open Education Europa could be the opportunity to talk about this course. The reply to these solutions that these efforts are not enough. The participants may start the MOOC , and for a reason or another they quit it in the middle without stating any pretexts . And academic penalty is imposed for doing so.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:17

Hi sylvia, welcome! Could you tell us a bit more about the MOOC that you are making?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:20

@ALTIBELLI I'm sure you're not too old! However, I agree that the accessibility of such courses really helps, I can access learning i want when it suits me and participate on my own terms. Have you tried any of the less formal cMOOCs such as #rhizo17 they are great for finding new connections

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:20

For us recognition of courses for students is also a way to make them familiar with it and we can see if it ads value to the overall curriculum of the university. It has a lot to do with gaining some experience and finding out how teachers and students experience this kind of learning. How is that for you? What are your goals?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:21

Thanks! The project will build up a MOOC to learn more about youth participation and inclusion. In so doing, the project aims to improve the quality and recognition of youth work in Europe and Africa. We are going to produce a certificate that will be free as it is an already funded project, @lilian do you know how to make the certificate valide for education purpose?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:22

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv The course was run by the UNIVERSITÀ PER STRANIERI DI SIENA (UNISTRASI). It was an introduction to Italian. Once completed you can buy your certificate which is sent by postal mail and they offer you the possibility to transform it into credits. To do so you need to go through an online process by filling in a form and scanning your ID card which has to match with a photo of you you have to take (i.e. a system of online ID recognition).

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:23

@ Silvia that's very cool. I admire what your team is doing. Are there any educational institutions involved in the project? That would make recognition a lot easier.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:24

@rumen.h we plan to produce a certificate and we would like to get recognition for it, but at the moment I don't know how to procede for this path? Any ideas? The content is create with the support of an university professor in Poland.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:25

@ Laurence ok now I understand. The university that made the MOOC gave you your credits. I'm curious why is the recognition of you learning so important for you?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:28

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv actually there is no Higher Education Institute involved in the project as a partner but we have some connection with universities in Italy and Poland that are supporting us in the content creation

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:28

Actually that's a question which we have been struggling with quite a bit, for students its obvious why they want the recognition and there are some professionals such as medical practitioners who need to earn some points every year. But why is it, that a lot of other people want formal recognition as well? Cleearly for some it is not enough just to have gained the knowledge and experience that you get from taking an online course such as a MOOC. What do you think?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:29

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv for me, the evidence of my activity is a useful way of tracking what I have done, it is also important that it comes from someone I trust - I display the badges awarded by authorities I respect as I know that I have earned them and I have a record of my informal learning as well as formal certificates.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:30

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv This could give me the opportunity to teach another foreign language. In our French school system Foreign languages teachers usually only teach one foreign language. But being able to teach 2 of them can make your professional status more valuable. Besides as I'm involved in many European projects this can help me too professionally speaking.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:31

@ALTIBELLI good idea! All our language teacher trainees in UK have to be able to offer more than 1 language

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:31

@Silvia I'm afraid that I only know how recognition by universities is done. That is formal recognition. Maybe there is no need for your students to have this kind of formal recognition and it can become something that gains reputation and becomes something interesting and worthwhile in itself for students. However if you do want some kind of formal recognition, maybe there is a way that the universities that you are working with in the project can give the recognition?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:33

@Laurence are the points that you gain in this way with FutureLearn enough for your employer to have the confidence that you can teach a second language?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:33

@Silvia Anastasia the video for all (european project) had partners from many sectors including youth workers so the ideas generated and shared on our website include some tips for video creation for social inclusion etc

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:34

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv I can ask our informal partners for a univerisity recognition, do you think that a course part of large platforms such as or have more possibilities to get official recognition than others?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:34

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv No, not at all. Because I only certified an A1 level in Italian. This course was just an introduction. So I thought I would be able to access the other levels after. But is wasn't the case.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:35

Aha ! Hello everyone :) Good to be finally in ... sorry for the delay - I'm Debbie Baff from Swansea University in the UK. I have previously worked on an open education resources project across Higher Education in Wales ( and am now based at Swansea working in Academic Development :) Like Teresa I'm also an advocate for Open Digital Badges :)

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:36

@DebbieBaff Hiya! some interesting chat going on here around recognition of online learning through MOOCs etc

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:36

I'm not very familiar with FutureLearn myself Silvia, however I do know that these two platforms are pretty well known for the quality of their partners. That having said however it is all about the quality and experience of the makers of a MOOC that determines whether it's a good product or not

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:39

Hi Debbie, welcome! Very interesting that you have experience with working on open education resources projects. We have been talking a lot about the recognition of open education. I myself mainly talked about formal recognition in credits, could you maybe elaborate a bit more, together with Teresa about the idea of badges?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:39

@teresamac the project is very attractive and it could be very interesting for cult-net project to be part of the network

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:40

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv Yes, of course. Actually I'm currently practicing my Italian and Spanish through the FutureLearn platform with the courses offered by THE OPEN UNIVERSITY.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:40

@Silvia Anastasia the project is over but we have tried to keep the network alive through social media so please do connect on FB :)

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:42

@Teresa thank you for the heads up, I might join that webinar next week. I'm curious to learn more about recognition with badges.

@Laurence good to hear you're continuing. Have you told your students about these courses you are taking?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:43

Feel free to share your social media Twitter handles to keep in touch after this discussion :)

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:44

@louise.c great suggestion! @warwicklanguage on twitter

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:44

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv If the FutureLearn or any other online platform can't deliver postgraduate credits, at least I can regularly practice my Spanish and Italian.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:46

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv Aha ! Hello :) Yes of course - I see Teresa has already posted her link to the webinar we are doing next week on open digital badges - do feel free to join us ! I am a badge earner for my own professional development and have also undertaken a couple of small projects to issue badges professionally - that is what I will be talking about at the webinar - I have some links to my own badge packpacks on this padlet link and some links about the open digital badges that we have issued can be found here

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:46

There is an idea postgraduate credits. What do you think the future of open learning and its recognition will be?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:47

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv The FutureLearn platform is indicated in the professional blog I have as an International coordinator in my school.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:48

Humble apologies but I have to leave for another meeting now - lovely to be in contact with you - best of luck with the project - keep in contact @debbaff

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:48

Thanks for sharing those links and information Debbie. I'm curious why you have chosen to go with badges and not with credits or certificates for learners.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:49

@ALTIBELLI Could you share a link to your professional blog with us?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:51

Teresa I really like that thought, that the reward reflects the activity. It is a great way to show what you have been doing and what you have learned.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:53

@Silvia Anastasia great, following you now :)

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:55

I have hear many interesting things here today. Everyone here has in some way gained experience with open learning and the recognition of these efforts and what we have learned is important. Recognition on a broader scale however remains a challenge. Fortunately there are many iniatives around such as these in which we can share our tips, knowledge and experience. I have certainly learned a lot today here

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:57

Are there any last thoughts or tips before we have to wrap up (unfortunately)?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:57

@teresamac please tell me your experience on the platform Our project would like to be part of it, but now that the EU project is finished it is possible to get your course there only with a fee that we don't have the budget to pay. They are also not fast in answering our questions. Do you have a different experience?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 12:58

@ALTIBELLI sharing with our French colleagues, my son is just flying onto Orly airport as we speak!

Fri 21st July 2017 - 13:00

Thank you all very much for the interesting chat here during lunchtime. I hope we can keep learning from each other and that the field of open education will continue to blossom.

Fri 21st July 2017 - 13:01

Time to say goodbye to you all now. Enjoy your summer time wherever you are. Au revoir

Fri 21st July 2017 - 13:01

Thank you for everyone for joining today’s live discussion on open courses! Special thanks to Lilian for moderating! We’ll be taking a summer break from live discussions in August but join us for our next live discussion in September on Digitising Education Institutions. Keep an eye out as we’ll be sharing more information on it soon!

Fri 21st July 2017 - 13:01

Thank you Lilian, and thank you everyone for participating today. It's been a very lively discussion and I hope you took away a lot of useful information, as well as made new contacts. :)

Fri 21st July 2017 - 13:02

@Silvia Anastasia the platform was fine but the course I know the tutors of the course I did had to ask platform to be extended, maybe some teething troubles?

Fri 21st July 2017 - 13:02

@Lilian Boerboom LeidenUniv Many thanks :)

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