What caught my eye was this description of "a competency-based micro-credentialing program called the University Learning Store (ULS).... conceived of as an online store for learning, where students can purchase mini-courses both to acquire and to be assessed on discreet competencies." Offered by the University of Wisconsin Extension's Continuing Education, Outreach and E-learning (CEOEL) it's (to me) a natural locus for experimentation. And that is the main subject of this course, a wiki-based offering with content contributed by students that could be (might be? may never be?) recognized by the university.
It's funny how the after-school activities seem more educationally relevant than classes, when when they're not relevant at all. That's why this description of an after-school coding club appeals to me. Drawing on Mitch Resnick's book Lifelong Kindergarten as a guide, Angela Brown describes how her coding sessions sometimes stay on topic and sometimes stray far from the original idea. And I really like this: "How do we know if our Code Club is successful? I hope we never know. Resnick suggests instead of trying to measure learning, to document it. This made me think of approaches like floor-books in kindergartens." Yeah.
The script for the On-Demand Education Marketplace (ODEM) reads like it came straight from the Christensen playbook: "The platform reduces costs and improves access to premium education by directly connecting educators with students and eliminating inefficient and costly intermediaries." The idea is that you have to buy cryptocurrency to do this (I don't see why online payments wouldn't have worked as well). Mostly, it's a recommender system. "ODEM uses artificial intelligence to seamlessly manage complex requests, organizing complete educational programs around the world." It then uses Ethereum to manage smart contracts between educator and learner.
I love how Geoff Cain mixes a new spirit of optimism and positivity with a couple of 'get off my lawn' moments. The positivity he finds in the Open Pedagogy Notebook created by Robin DeRosa and Rajiv Jhangiani to “support community sharing of learning materials and ideas around access to knowledge and knowledge creation.” I've added the feed to my reader.
Ah, but the cranky moments in Cain's post are to be savoured, even if they have nothing to do with the site just cited. The first: "I can get really annoyed when I come across a pay-wall when trying to access materials that are openly licensed... What part of open don’t you understand?" Totally. And the second: "Is the project 'sustainable'? If by 'sustainable' you mean provide a means for a corporation to make money off of the hard work of other educators, then no, maybe not." Nor would we want it to be. We need to reclaim the concept of 'sustainable' for human systems, not factory farms.
The suggestion here is that "similar to e-commerce firms, online-degree programs are beginning to incorporate elements of an older-school, brick-and-mortar model." I would comment that the e-commerce physical storefront is a novelty, not a trend, but let's continue. "Richard DeMillo, the executive director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at the Georgia Institute of Technology... wouldn’t be surprised if universities start fusing the best of the online experience with the best of the physical experience, possibly like 2U is trying to do with WeWork. 'Think of it as the storefront for the university,' DeMillo said." This may mean transforming their existing physical presence, but the trend in education is not toward converting online to in-person. And as you rad through the article it becomes that this is more of a hope being expressed rather than an actual thing.
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