ResourcesSEEC publishes articles and resources for members and the wider community, enabling good practice to be identified and disseminated. We share our expertise and influence policy development by contributing to reports and studies by other sector bodies, and we provide information for those wanting to find out about credit. Some of our recent work is outlined below.
Credit Level Descriptors - Online PublicationSEEC's Credit Level Descriptors remain the most detailed descriptors for assessing levels of academic learning and are widely used by HE providers across the UK. To demonstrate their impact we are developing an online publication featuring a range of case studies which showcase their use, and further information will be available next month. First published in 2010 and reissued in December 2016, the Descriptors are available here for download free of charge: seec-descriptors-2016 . Hard copies (also free) can be requested via firstname.lastname@example.org .
We publish outcomes from each SEEC event, most recently a summary of our April 2018 Seminar ‘Credit transfer and social mobility‘ which includes a video of two Middlesex University graduates talking about the role of credit and RPL in their respective learning journeys. Other outputs include summaries of speakers’ presentations and a comprehensive set of slides providing an overview of ‘Academic credit and its use at HE level’. SEEC members can access these on our Member Content page. (If you need a password reminder please contact Angela at email@example.com .)
This year SEEC has contributed to the development of a sector-wide survey on credit transfer and recognition. The Association of UK Higher Education European Officers (HEURO) highlighted that there are differing approaches among HEIs to the transfer and recognition of credit obtained by students through outward mobility. Feedback from their members indicated that clearer guidance would be beneficial, and also timely due to the revision to the UK’s Quality Code for Higher Education, and associated guidance, that is currently ongoing.
Accordingly, the Erasmus+ UK National Agency, Universities UK International (UUKi) and HEURO, in collaboration with the QAA, NUCCAT and SEEC, agreed to gather focussed feedback from the sector in order to better understand the current situation in regards to outward student mobility credit transfer and recognition, as well as to uncover any particular roadblocks or good practice that exists.
A survey was developed and distributed through the networks of the National Agency, UUKi, HEURO, SEEC, NUCCAT and QAA to gather feedback from across the different departments in HEIs which are involved in this area. (This is now closed but a copy can be downloaded here: OSM credit transfer and recognition survey.) Outcomes are expected towards the end of the year. The data collected through the survey will be analysed, and in collaboration with the QAA, used to feed into the consultation on the creation of advice and guidance. This will underpin the Expectations and Practices of the new Quality Code, with the aim of creating additional guidance on this area for the higher education sector.
Also this year SEEC responded to the Universities UK consultation on the economic case for flexible learning in HE, whose output will be published in the autumn.
In 2017 SEEC was consulted on and contributed to the following studies:
- University Alliance report ‘Lifelong learning: ladder and lifeline’
- IfES/DfE report into ‘Credit transfer in HE’
- University of Sheffield/HEFCE report ‘Should I stay or should I go? Student demand for credit transfer and recommendations for policy and practice’
WPLL Special Edition
SEEC co-edited a Special Edition of the Journal on Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning on RPL (recognition of prior learning), published in November 2017. You can access the Journal Editorial here, although articles are only available to subscribers.
In his opinion piece for the Special Edition, Prof Tim Blackman uses the theme of RPL to reflect on what he sees as wrong with higher education. He challenges us to think about the value of practice-based learning and in so doing highlights the institutional resistance to recognising credit awarded elsewhere. Another of the Special Edition articles (‘RPL as pedagogical pragmatism’ by a team from Westminster and University Campus St Albans) was featured at the SEEC Seminar ‘Curriculum development and the role of credit’, providing an opportunity to discuss policies and procedures to support RPL and credit use.
UK Credit Forum report
As one of the constituent bodies of the UKCF, SEEC enabled the publication of its latest survey outcomes: ‘Aspects of credit practice in English and Welsh universities (2017)’. To access the report please visit the UKCF webpage.
Articles and blogs
SEEC uses its collective expertise to publish articles and blogs which contribute to the development of policy and debate on credit transfer. Our last blog coincided with the publication of the WPLL Special Edition, and you can read it here.
The UK Credit Forum Survey indicated that credit (including RPL and credit transfer) is a key building block for enabling flexible access to higher education that promotes social mobility, lifelong learning and career enhancement. In their recent Wonkhe blog post ‘Academic credit: unfinished business?’ the survey authors (from NUCCAT and SEEC) highlighted that respondents saw the administrative burden of RPL as the major barrier to its increasing use, and articulated their hope that the OfS will explore new mechanisms to mitigate this.
Past Chair Mark Atlay also authored a WonkHE article on ‘Degrees of choice: credit transfer and university autonomy’ (published November 2016).
Accelerated Courses and Switching University or Degree
In 2016, the (then) Department of Business, Innovation and Skills consulted the sector on the barriers to accelerated courses such as two-year full-time honours degrees and students switching courses. Credit plays an important role in both of these in terms of course design for the former and credit transfer for the latter. With more competition in the sector, there is the possibility of students switching courses for financial, personal or academic reasons. In theory, switching should be simple but in reality there are numerous barriers. SEEC is committed to supporting greater student mobility through credit transfer and you can find our response to the BIS Consultation on ‘Accelerated courses and switching university or degree: call for evidence’ here – SEEC BIS Response July 2016
To find out more about how credit transfer can support students switching courses, please contact us .
Credit and the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)
In preparing future submissions for TEF3 or discipline level TEF, institutions may want to consider how their use of credit and credit transfer helps meet some of the stated criteria. Credit can play a role in any or all of the following which are cited as examples of practice:
- Initiatives aimed at supporting the transition into and through a higher education course (Learning Environment);
- Advance Standing for Alternate Providers’ Students wishing to progress into HE courses (Student Outcomes and Learning Gain);
- Learning gain and distance travelled by all students including those entering higher education part-way through their professional lives (Student Outcomes and Learning Gain);
- Career enhancement and progression for mature students (Student Outcomes and Learning Gain);
- Use and effectiveness of initiatives used to help measure and record student progress, such as Grade Point Average (GPA) (Student Outcomes and Learning Gain);
- Impact of initiatives aimed at closing gaps in development, attainment and progression for students from different backgrounds, in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds or those who are at greater risk of not achieving positive outcomes (Student Outcomes and Learning Gain);
- Accreditation of Professional Development courses offered by non-UK HE institutions/organisations.
To find out more about how credit and credit transfer can help with TEF submissions, please contact us.