on the three parts of open education

Some off the cuff (on the bike) rambling about some thoughts about what open education is – open content, open access and open accreditation. This is hopefully rock bottom with respect to video production quality – but at least you get to come along for some of my ride home…

17 replies on “on the three parts of open education”

  1. Dare I call it, *Bikecasting*?

    You can slap me next time you see me.

    In all sincerity, we’re all struggling to find the time and space (in the world and in our heads) to talk about what is really important. You aren’t only modeling some good hard thinking, you are modeling a… well, a model.

    I’ve so loved this series. Screw the production quality. Next stop, let’s see some videos about accreditation from the shower.

    There’s been some interesting posts on “open accreditation” by David Wiley and Tony Hirst (AKA Open Achievements API) lately… and it was much discussed in Utah last week. Wish you could have been there. We might have done a nice ride while making some progress.

    PS: You keep blowing me away amigo. If you dropped the helmet for The Hat&#153 I’d be in heaven.

  2. iBikeCasting™ – I’m filing the patent for that right now…

    I know I need to be more careful to not sound like I’m the only one thinking about this – my goal with these videos isn’t to claim anything as my own or anything even remotely like that, but to serve as a sounding board – if I’m spewing BS I need someone to tell me so. If it’s half-baked pseudointellectual garbage, likewise. If not, let’s keep talking 😉

    I wish I had been able to get to Logan for OE2008 – I’m definitely putting OE2009 on the calendar. Wild horses and all that…

    And I’d be more than happy to wear The Hat™ – but I wouldn’t dare take it back from Harry, or his Dad…

  3. What kinda bike-hippie love fest is going on here. I want to see the entrails of openness laid out of the field, with flies buzzing an all. I want you to pull out your Rambo knife and down an LMS on the run, diving from your bike in the pursuit of having opennes for dinner.

    I do love these videos, watching you talk while riding is just intrinsically interesting, the motion makes the movie, and it doesn’t hurt that you’re framing this stuff so intelligently. Awesome stuff, D’Arcy.

  4. I agree that the accreditation part– or whatever the accreditation part morphs into– is very interesting and various people are talking around and through it in various ways. Accreditation as it stands is simply the messy product of a lot of accretion of conferred value that doesn’t really mean anything in terms of learning. It’s all about what potential employers– and most specifically other institutions, since they are the most rigorously demanding of the very kind of accreditation and recognition that is most problematic.

    I don’t know anything about the idea of “open accreditation” but I do see that there is a lot of precedent for alternative credentialing being of value. I don’t have a problem with accreditation as much as I have a problem with it being the only measure. Then again, I don’t have any problem with institutions either– I think they do some things well and I want to see them stick around– I just don’t think they should be the only learning game in town.

    At the same time, if the content is the easy part, where is all the good content? Is it being held back because of the lack of alternatives for accreditation? As a whole I see very little out there in the way of open ed offerings that a learner without an institutional affiliation giving them access to an instructor could use to meet even the minimum outcomes I would lay out for most courses to consider the learner ready to be given whatever endorsement is decided upon. Most open ed courses are fragmentary and/or shallow and/or radically incomplete and/or specifically designed to be integrated into some existing curriculum. As long as that remains the case, there’s not a lot of reason for (or impetus behind) creation of alternate credentials or accreditation.

  5. @Jim, we’ll be singing Open Education Kumbaya down at the Old Growth Forest Shrine at midnight of the next full moon. I expect you to be there, Reverend Bava Moonglow…

    @David – great points in your post. I’ve commented there…

    @Chris – I said that of the 3 parts, open content was the easy one (or that’s what I meant to say, anyway…) That doesn’t mean that it’s simple, or everyone would be doing it. Creating good content is hard, and takes a LOT of time and energy. That’s why the vast majority of content is slapped together, and locked behind the institutional vault so as to protect the content-cobblers from copyright litigation and embarrassment if the content had been seen by their peers…

    I don’t think we need to make Big Projects like MIT’s OCW. All it would take is for the default state for course-related content to be “Open” rather than “Closed/Protected” – then we’d start seeing a lot of content (most crap, some OK, some great).

    I agree that _right now_ there’s not a lot of need to revamp the accreditation system, since as you say, most content is intended to be integrated into the existing curricula. BUT, at what point will we hit a threshold where too much of a course is “open” – will it still count as a “real” course? Will the students get credit? If so, from which institution(s), etc… And then, who else will recognize that credit?

  6. I think the best idea I’ve seen is to create the tools and services the institutions can use and point out to students. In this way the accreditation route is still open and the institutions have their value, yet those who don’t need the institutions as much can use the tools and services on their own to achieve. Those achievements are their accreditation.

    Another part is having something that shows the good content to the public. An idea of mine is to create a forum/wiki for discussion and dissemination. Some great content is out there, we just need to make sure it is shared and stays available. Crashing pages through popularity doesn’t help this cause.

  7. Loving the bikecast. I’d try it myself, but it’d be all panting. And it’d probably end with me hitting something.

    The credit question (and the associated accreditation question, that is the question of how people get credit and who decides who can give it to them) was all over Logan last week. In particular Phillip Schmidt and Chris Gieth ran a roundtable on the discussion notes on which can be found here.

    There’s some exciting stuff in the OCW going on with this (crap, I know i sound like I got my car salesman hat on here, but really, I think it is exciting). Roy Lee has put together Taiwan OCW and one part of the 12-school agreement is that OCW courses produced by anyone in the TOCW (Taiwan OCW) can be accepted at other universities. How that’s verified or scored or graded is not clear yet. It’s likely a independent study or test model. But we’ll see.

    There’s a number of things like this going on, and in a sense they are racing against a broader, more Robespierrean revolution that ends up bypassing universities altogether.

    But what I’ve learned recently (i think) is that if you are trying to plot the more gradual track the question of credit and accreditation are really tied together in more peculiar ways than I had previously thought.

    But here, I’ll stop babbling, because really the fascinating thing is the roundtable notes which contains a dozen nuggets waiting to be expanded on. Phillip Schmidt, one of the people who led it, is really great on these issues.

  8. What if we don’t worry about open accreditation for coursework, but we really have open assessment, so if you can pass the open test at say, MIT, you can get equivalent ‘credits’ as if from that institution, that would work towards meeting the requirements of a degree from that institution. I mean, at the end of the day, all classes use assessment tools to tell if the knowledge from the course has been transmitted (and yes, there are problems inherent in that model, but those aside), so why not just allow someone to take the final from a course at MIT, and if they pass, they get the credits? Or whatever collection of requirements you set up to judge whether or not a person has gained the required knowledge and experience? Then, a person can choose the best materials from the open selections available, and take the test they wish to pass to gain credits for that institution. It’s not like there haven’t been historic cases of ‘passing through’ via taking a test for a course.

  9. There is a problem with that model to be dealt with Joshua. When you look at an MMO, you can see the problem. It’s when you don’t have enough content to give reasonably unpredictable content. With a test for accreditation, it would be important to make the tests actually measure what the person can do, rather than looking up the test online and copying the answers.

    I have a couple ideas for that. The first is to have new questions replace old questions from time to time. The other is to have a program that generates questions and answers based on the requirements for the test.

  10. Perhaps the open exams themselves are in-person proctored exams – it reduces the access somewhat, but it would be open registration. If MIT were going to give credits, then they should be able to charge a small fee and proctor the exam. Or, as you say, have the software be sufficiently intelligent to generate its own questions. Or thirdly, let the public create and ratify the exam questions themselves, openly. Then, each institution can look at the questions available, and certify the questions for their own institution.

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