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Friday, February 8, 2013

Where did you earn your credit?

From Tony Bates,
Students need clarity rather than confusion about what they need to do to get a university place, but above all they need a rationale and fair system with as few barriers as possible. MOOCs are not particularly helping with this, but they are opening up the discussion about what should count for credit in or admission to a university program, and it’s about time.
No kidding.  Clearly we need to be careful as having a canon of learning that many people know is important to civilization as we know it.  I would also never say that learning critical thinking skills and writing skills is not important.  Really though, do you learn how to write in that freshman composition class with its five essays?  Or are your skills more of a compilation of other sources?  And if they are, how can a university value those other sources and give you credit for your skills?  Unfortunately that question has recently led us to an expansion of high stakes testing.  Surely there are more ways to assess credit from sources other than traditional classes from regionally accredited institutions.  And, at the risk of sounding incurably romantic, there is an entire population at risk here - all of those world wide whose parents are not able to support their children for four years of college.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Gathering Credits

First daughter is attempting to graduate a semester early.  That means she is gathering up all of the college credits she earned (or maybe earned) in high school -- AP and dual-enrollment (CU Succeed) and figuring out what she could take online this coming summer and transfer back into Eckerd.  It's a ridiculously complex process for a single semester of college.  And I do understand why we never bothered back at the beginning of college when we all assumed she would want the full 4 years. Last week I also talked to a nephew who ways he has around 160 credit hours and yet no degree. Possibly he has the same problems gathering up credits from a variety of sources and feeding them into a program.

I am impressed by students who come to StraighterLine and take both tests and classes and then manage to transfer them to a college or university where they count towards a degree.  I can not imagine the average student taking enough random MOOCs and any other sources of credit and putting them together in something close enough to a degree that some college somewhere would stamp "completed" and a BA on it. It's a great thought, but someone has to do the organization and someone has to be able to sit down with these students and figure out where the holes in their education really are.  In a world like this do completion programs shrink to 1 semester? Smaller?