Authors: Hannes Birnkammerer, Dr. Renata Suter
Kiron’s academic model builds on strong partnerships with higher education institutions (HEIs). Its goal is to enable non-formal MOOC-based learning achievements to be recognized by HEIs. Therefore, these grade-awarding institutions require a strong quality assurance of Kiron’s learning offerings. The newly published, revised and extended version of Kiron’s Quality Handbook Curriculum describes our processes for curriculum development and our quality standards, as well as our partnership with HEIs.
Kiron’s MOOC-based online curricula
Kiron carefully selects the most suitable MOOCs from a wide range of offerings on the basis of learning outcomes and combines them with other teaching methods such as online live tutorials. These MOOC-based curricula are intended to facilitate access to higher education for refugee students by preparing them for their studies, introducing them to subject-specific academic traditions and ways of thinking, and, ideally, shortening their studies by allowing credit recognition. This goal, that MOOC-based learning achievements can be credited by HEIs, however, requires a quality assurance, which provides the grade-awarding institutions security in dealing with Kiron’s learning offerings.
Quality assurance of Kiron’s curricula
To enable recognition of credits, HEIs need proof of quality assurance procedures and the assurance that internationally accepted quality criteria have been applied. To meet these standards, Kiron created and developed its own quality assurance principles. Kiron believes that a strong network of institutions that combine their quality processes can enable the equivalence of non-formal curricula with traditional quality-assured programmes. To define its own contribution to this process of joint quality assurance, Kiron developed four research-based principles that form the basis of its quality assurance: 1) implementation of international standards, 2) cooperation and partnerships, 3) transparency and communication, and 4) continuous development.
The Quality Handbook Curriculum presents and describes these principles and Kiron’s processes for curriculum development and partnership with HEIs in order to share them transparently with external institutions and experts. This second version of the handbook takes into account the changes that have occurred in Kiron’s processes over the past year as well as external feedback that has been gathered through workshops, discussions and consultation (see examples described in a blog post about our continuous development). In addition, the revised version also presents Kiron’s model in more detail and aims to give our partners and interested experts an even better overview of Kiron’s offers and processes. The Quality Handbook was financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the project INTEGRAL+ (grant ID 16DHLQ008). Responsibility for the content lies with the authors.