Under the Australian VET system (and particularly under state funding requirements) you are required to ensure students have commenced an outcome before reporting it as commenced.
Every VET manager seems handle this differently. Some keep a note of which enrolments to export and only export those for each funding cycle. Others manually set outcome start dates into a fictitious future date. And others turn off reporting of the enrolments entirely until they are ready.
The common thread is that I don’t like the way you are forced into workarounds. onCourse needs some sort of flag to say “this outcome has been commenced” just like we have a flag today for “this outcome is successful: make it a 20”.
This flag could then either suppress the outcome being exported or (better) move the start date a week into the future, just the way the end date is shifted until you set it as completed.
I have some ideas.
- Outcome: Force users to set the outcome status to ‘commenced’ rather than using the date to export this status.
- Assessment: That is, add an assessment to the enrolment which you mark to prove engagement even if that’s just a record of participation.
- Attendance: That is, right now we assume “not marked” means that the outcome started (some of our customers do not use onCourse attendance). If we flipped this, you would have to mark the student as attended before we assume they commence.
While the first idea of using the AVETMISS outcome status appears the most obvious it has some downsides.
- outcome status confuses progress (enrolled, started, finished) with result (success, RPL, etc). Yes, that’s the way AVETMISS is designed, but it isn’t great and it digs us into a corner (for example where ‘not yet competent’ means ‘in progress’ rather than a final outcome of ‘not competent’).
- Tutors or an external LMS could be given access to the outcome status field to automate this progress, and that’s not really appropriate when you need tighter controls around final outcomes (results) than progression.
Assessments are a nice place to put this information since one assessment could map to one or more outcomes. Creating an assessment called “Initial participation” and marking it as done could be the trigger to commence the outcome. This has a few advantages:
- You can attach documents (like a quiz) to the assessment submission
- We are doing more work to make this available to tutors in the portal and to allow students to upload their own work (a valid way to show participation)
- It ties in better with self-paced training
- Assessment can link to exactly the outcomes which were commenced.
Finally, using attendance is the simplest idea. It is a really easy switch to go from “not marked” meaning assume they attended, to assume they did not. All the logic is in place already to move the start date of the outome when the student doesn’t attend. All the UI is already in place. The main downsides of this approach:
- It doesn’t work for self-paced training (but that is quite rarely funded)
- There is nowhere to upload a document
- You assume that all outcomes linked to a session are commenced in that session.
So there are a bunch of ideas. What do you all think about the best way forward? onCourse needs to abstract the Australian VET system so that is works better for universities and other countries. We want to ensure we create a data model which maps to sensible workflow and ideas. The AVETMISS export should reflect those ideas in a way which is obvious and clear.