Organising flexibility

The student population is becoming increasingly diverse, and every student has their own preferences and wishes. Consequently, student-oriented education requires flexibility. SURF is developing tools for student mobility and educational logistics that institutions can use to make their education more flexible and offer students more choices.

Offering students choices

SURF wants to help institutions to organise their education in a more flexible way. Our starting point is the idea that institutions can offer students more freedom of choice. This requires flexibility in many respects: in creating the curriculum, in facilitating student mobility within and between the institutions, and in the way education is organised.

Student mobility

Students have the most freedom of choice when they can create their curriculum in a flexible way by following courses at different educational institutions. This is not easy to achieve in practice because of obstacles in educational logistics, legislation, privacy issues and the complexities of finance. We are investigating what the exact bottlenecks are and whether we can offer generic solutions. These solutions will be tested with a number of institutions.

Open badges and micro-credentialing

Micro-credentialing means breaking down the certification of education courses a student follows into units smaller than the current diplomas for a complete education. It makes it possible for students to use a badge to gain recognition and credits for small, independent units of study. In 2017, we are creating a proof of concept for an open badge infrastructure, as well as investigating which technologies and standards are needed to be able to assign open badges. Additionally, we organise support for implementing micro-credentialing in higher education in the Netherlands.

Flexible education logistics

Offering students greater freedom of choice in terms of what and how they learn has major consequences for education logistics. It requires flexibility in both administration and specific IT support. Issues such as affordability or the ease of organising or following a particular course of study can end up shaping the degree of choice that an institution is able or willing to provide. We are developing a reference model that enables institutions to assess the consequences that a more flexible curriculum would have on their own logistics.

Continued development of the Open Education API

In collaboration with institutions, the Open Education API has been developed and expanded in recent years into a standard suitable for sharing educational data. Flexibility becomes easier to organise when educational data (which is often stored on different educational systems) are easier to share. We are continuing to develop the Open Education API and promoting its use in, for example, designing flexible learning environments or using learning analytics.

Start date
01 Jan 2017