On 21 June, Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) evaluation of the OUC's Educational Technology degree course was carried out in Baodi Branch School, Tianjin Open University. This evaluation was a cooperation by various departments of the OUC, including Research Institute of Open and Distance Education, Academic Affairs Office, Faculty of Teacher Education, International Cooperation and Exchange Division and Baodi Branch School, Tianjin Open University. It is an experiment in further education reform carried out by the OUC.
The subjects of the research are mainly middle school and primary school teachers who enrolled for Educational Technology as their second bachelor degree. They are young and middle-aged teachers who actively participate in the basic education arena. The evaluation includes their work experience, interviews, trial lectures and written examinations.
Mr. Zhang Shaogang, vice secretary of the Communist Party of the OUC pointed out in the research that PLAR, as a way of giving incentives, had been explored for many years in other countries, with much research being conducted. PLAR is also an important concern of the Ministry of Education. The National Outline for Medium and Long-term Education Reform and Development (2010-2020) states that, "A system of credit accumulation and conversion in adult education should be set up to realise the mutual recognition and cohesion between academic results in different study types. An academic study result authentication mechanism and a 'credit bank' system should also be established".
The realisation of the systems has close connections with the previous study result evaluation. For many years, the OUC's cooperation with different industries to provide education, the combination of degree education and non-degree education, and the exemption of study and examinations, can be seen as extensions of PLAR. As for references and cooperation, the OUC has been working with Thompson Rivers University in Canada and other distance education institutions on PLAR projects. The Canadian partner organised several delegations to come to Beijing in order to have discussion with researchers in the OUC.
This field evaluation was attended by the following:
- Li Yawan, director of International Cooperation and Exchange Division of the OUC
- Dr. Wang Ying and Ying Shuangxu, the Research Institute of Open and Distance Education of the OUC
- Pei Haiyan, Dr. Wang Yongfeng and Dr. Li Song, the Academic Affairs Office of the OUC
- Dr. Cheng Gang, Dr. Lin Xiuqin and vice professor Zhang Meilan, the Faculty of Teacher Education of the OUC
- Mr. Li Hua, president and secretary of Communist Party of Baodi Branch School, Tianjin Open University
- Li Fengling and Li Min, vice presidents of Tianjin Open University
Originating in the 1980s, PLAR is a common evaluation method used in adult education in many countries. Currently, in USA, Canada, France and Australia, PLAR has been widely applied in adult higher education and has been an effective incentive for employed people to enter higher education. The purpose was to transfer the applicant's knowledge and skills, such as on-the-job training, into credits that can be accepted in higher education.
By Wang Ying and Wang Yongfeng, the OUC