Tag Archives: accreditation

Assessment in Open Education

Philipp Schmidt has posted a collection of links and thoughts on assessment in open education. Schmidt cites several sources including Sir John Daniels, Steve Egan and Stephen Downes. From the blog post:

…while assessment and accreditation are two distinct issues, you need good assessment to enable reliable accreditation.

Reaction to the P2P University Initaitive


This – Peer 2 Peer University – is one of those concepts that I would love to strongly endorse as a step in a different direction from traditional universities. Yet, as I reviewed the site, I find myself in disagreement with certain elements. I like the approach of openness (it’s hard to argue otherwise, especially in education where we can open doors to more hopeful futures simply through providing access to learning opportunities). I like the view of shorter courses. I like the grassroots “we had a good idea and did something about it” approach. I also like the participatory design of learning.

What do I disagree with? I disagree with the notion of “sense makers”. We make sense personally. No one makes sense for us. I’m also somewhat unsure of the formality of this approach. It bears within it too much of the existing university model. Why centralize things? The only thing we really need to centralize is the accreditation (i.e. open accreditation). Who really cares where or how people “got their learning”? Use existing networks of learning opportunities. This is P2P University administered through centralized models (which, then means, it’s not really P2P). I love the concept. I like the vision. I don’t like the execution. It’s foreplay when we need consummation.

In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Patrick Partridge, vice president for marketing and enrollment at Western Governors University, commends the P2P University initiative and offers to fill gap regarding accreditation of P2P students.

We would love to have students who have received content training through something like this university. We essentially don’t care how and where you learned something, but you will have to still pass the WGU assessment.

In the same report on the Chronicle, Michael B. Goldstein, a higher-education lawyer, raises legal and ethical questions:

What could be a concern to traditional institutions is the degree to which the name of their institution is being capitalized on. It’s a trademark issue — you don’t have a right to imply that what you are doing is under the auspices of the professor’s institution. I frankly think it’s wrong

Is there such a thing as “too open”?

D’Arcy Norman ponders if too much openness is viable in the context of OER and accreditation. Excerpt:

Is truly open education a desirable goal? Is the eradication of all barriers to access something that would have positive outcomes? If we follow open education in one logical direction – where every individual is able to tailor their own educational experience in breadth, depth, and scope, will we be able to make sense of the products of such experiences? Degrees and diplomas, at least in the conventional sense, would become diluted to the point of being essentially meaningless. If each individual can for all intents and purposes be their own university, how do we properly value this? Can everyone claim to have an open PhD from MeU?

One way to value and make sense of such a truly open education would be to shift from institution-based credentials (degrees, diplomas, certificates) to performance-based credentials (portfolios, professional boards, guilds). That’s not a simple shift, but there are precedents – medicine and law operate in similar ways now.