We had been asked to validate the Cert ED and the Professional Graduate Certificate in Education courses run by the college, which does not currently have the authority to award qualifications at this level. Like many other colleges in England, it asked the OU to validate its courses, so that students completing those courses could receive certificates from The Open University.
Through its Royal Charter, the OU is able to validate the programmes of institutions that do not have their own degree-awarding powers or that wish to offer OU awards. Validation is an iterative process, carried out over a period of time, culminating in an event that brings together participants. The process covers ten areas:
- Rationale, aims and intended learning outcomes of the programme of study
- Curriculum and structure of the programme of study
- Teaching and learning
- Admissions and transfer
- Staffing, staff development and research
- Teaching and learning resources
- Other resources for students
- Programme management and monitoring
- Programme specification and handbook
The process requires close scrutiny of relevant documentation, discussions with staff and students involved with the programmes, and tours of the facilities. A very interesting day, and a chance to get a detailed overview of how two qualifications work in practice.