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by Stephen Downes
May 23, 2016

Competency-Based Education and Extended Transcripts: IMS Global Learning Consortium Enabling Better Digital Credentialing
Deborah Everhart, Lea, Jeff Grann, Mark Leuba, Joellen Shendy, IMS Global, 2016/05/23

In a nutshell: "IMS initiatives in digital credentialing enable interoperable competency ecosystems and empower institutions to award credentials beyond the traditional transcript." In addition, "The prevalence of informal and community learning on the web, a renewed appreciation for the value of service learning, and recognition of workplace and experiential learning are all expanding conceptions of what could/should be included in a person’s learning record." Organizations working with IMS on this include collegiate registrars and AACRAO, the Competency Based Education Network C-BEN, and the Badge Alliance. The competency data model itself includes four key data elements:

The idea is "to support an extended transcript for CBE as well as general interoperability among higher education institutional systems." There is a working prototype showing how an extended transcript might be displayed in a web browser. The next task to to see widespread adoption, implementation in learning technology, testing and evaluation. 9 page PDF.

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Are OERs Sustainable?
Martin Poulter, OPENEDSIG Archives, 2016/05/23

This is an excellent posts looking at five key questions regarding the sustainability of open educational resources (OERs), backed with examples and references. Here they are

  1. "Is the production of OERs sustainable?" After the end of the UKOER funding stream, there was "a dramatic decline in the number of resources added to JORUM." But a "huge amount" of content is being produced on other platforms. "I see this not as a petering out of OER production, but a shift in its context."
  2. "Are OER platforms sustainable?" We don't know yet. "Entire platforms can disappear. In the non-open world, the closing of a platform means the loss of its content. We don’t have that problem in the OER world."
  3. "Are communities of open practice sustainable?" There are examples both ways, but "the continuation of the OER conference itself suggests a positive answer to the question about communities."
  4. "Are the OERs themselves sustainable: are they being updated so as not to lose relevance?" A tiny number of resources get remixed, but is that bad? Most academic publications aren't cited, but a small number get a huge number of citations. "To decide whether too much or too little adaptation is happening, we need to know the distribution that “'should' exist, and it’s not clear how to do this." 
  5. "Do OERs promote an awareness of sustainability across all subjects?" We don't know.

Great stuff. I read this as argumentation in support for the community-based approach to OERs, rather than institutionally funded and supported. But having said that, I would be loathe to withdraw all funding from the field: what's needed are the tools, supports and scaffolds to help communities build and share their own OERs.

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Documents are the new Email
Stowe Boyd, Work Futures, 2016/05/23


The idea of this post is to point to the new role of documents as communications tools. Of course, they're always been communications tools, but only as attachments, or worse, printed paper. The new role of documents will see them stored in places like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Sharepoint. Of course many companies already do this, and are beginning to see the second trend identified here: the shifting of a lot of incidental communications to social networks (or social-network-like systems).  They're quick, informal, and can be used to refer to documents. But there's also a third trend, hinted at but not explicitly stated: documents themselves will disappear over time, becoming instead entities in a linked database. We need a better approach to databases to make this work, but this is just on the horizon. Via Doug Belshaw.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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