Accreditation of Open Learning, a Theoretical Approach  Stian Håklev, OISE Dean's Graduate Conference 2009
The issue - Who are the learners? - How do they learn? - Why do they learn? - What do they need? - What does society need?...
How are the learners? - K12 students (for interest/challenge/advanced placement) - undergraduate/graduate students - worki...
Why do they learn? - Out of curiosity, interest, self-motivated - Challenge, stretching oneself - Skip some of university ...
What do they need? - Feedback/evaluation to guide learning - Final feedback/hurdle as motivation - Pass/fail accreditation...
Decoupling three elements - Learning, assessment and accreditation - Often one package, but can be decoupled Example TOEFL
Open Education - example - Peer-to-Peer university - Provide learner support, feedback and motivation - Pathways to formal...
Formal accreditation 1 learning experience awarded credit by experience provider a) based on time on task b) faculty-deter...
Informal/peer-based methods - The Open Source world - Portfolios - Other ways?
Human Capital theory - The actual learning is the most important - Accreditation serves to smooth the process of assigning...
Credentialism / critical theory - Inflation of credentials - Educational system has a sorting/reproduction function - Exam...
Anti-credentialism? Shikshantar:  1) Labels, ranks and sorts human beings. It creates a rigid social hierarchy consisting ...
Going forwards So what is the role of Open Education, and accreditation in all this?
Credits and contact Picture of diploma by Baston @ flickr E-mail:  [email_address] Web: http://reganmian.net/blog
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A theoretical approach to accreditation of Open Education

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This was a presentation given at the Dean's Graduate Conference at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, February 6th, 2009. This is a work in progress, where I am trying out different ideas about accreditation in OER. Abstract:

It has always been possible to gain advanced learning outside of the formal academy, through libraries and book-clubs for example, but the open-education movement has radically increased the feasibility of informal learning. Through the proliferation of open-access journals, open-educational resources (such as MIT OpenCourseWare), collaborative authoring such as Connexions and WikiEducator, and peer-to-peer learning systems such as Peer2PeerUniversity and Wikiversity, determined students with internet access can achieve learning outcomes similar to university courses.

How can such knowledge be accredited and proven? Some of the possibilities currently being explored range from the traditional methods of challenge exams and competency-based accreditation institutions, to attempts at applying peer-based accreditation from the open source world, and portfolios. However, these attempts need to be informed by sociological theories of schooling and accreditation, and I will use human capital theory and credentialism to analyze accreditation of open education.

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A theoretical approach to accreditation of Open Education

  1. 1. Accreditation of Open Learning, a Theoretical Approach Stian Håklev, OISE Dean's Graduate Conference 2009
  2. 2. The issue - Who are the learners? - How do they learn? - Why do they learn? - What do they need? - What does society need? - How does Open Education fit in?
  3. 3. How are the learners? - K12 students (for interest/challenge/advanced placement) - undergraduate/graduate students - working professionals (skills needed in job, to advance, or to change field – or for interest) - unemployed, stay-at-home dad/mom, retired
  4. 4. Why do they learn? - Out of curiosity, interest, self-motivated - Challenge, stretching oneself - Skip some of university – save fees - Entirely replace degree - Gain skills necessary for job - Gain accreditation necessary for job - “Everyone else do it”
  5. 5. What do they need? - Feedback/evaluation to guide learning - Final feedback/hurdle as motivation - Pass/fail accreditation of skill/knowledge - Ranking – 5% best in the field - Diploma that shows time spent - Professional qualification - College credit - College degree
  6. 6. Decoupling three elements - Learning, assessment and accreditation - Often one package, but can be decoupled Example TOEFL
  7. 7. Open Education - example - Peer-to-Peer university - Provide learner support, feedback and motivation - Pathways to formal accreditation - Informal proof of skill/knowledge?
  8. 8. Formal accreditation 1 learning experience awarded credit by experience provider a) based on time on task b) faculty-determined equivalency to the expected credit-time norm 2 a learning experience eligible for credit by a 3rd party a) special arrangement with colleges and universities that count them as a course 3) assessment awarded credit by the assessment provider a) challenge of a credit course by passing the faculty-determined criteria within the course provider's policies - USU, Norway b) portfolio review, and or examination, of prior learning within the context of the credit transfer rules of an institution - UWC c) provide evidence of achieving staded competencies for a degree 4) assessment eligible for credit by a 3rd party a) pass a standard exam for which some institutions may grant credit - CLEP, AP etc b) Professional license or certification eligible for credit - American Council on Education (CIA, Microsoft) c) pass a portfolio review, challenge or evidence of competency as a stand-alone service for which some institutions may grant credit (C. Geith, 2008)
  9. 9. Informal/peer-based methods - The Open Source world - Portfolios - Other ways?
  10. 10. Human Capital theory - The actual learning is the most important - Accreditation serves to smooth the process of assigning resources, jobs, etc.
  11. 11. Credentialism / critical theory - Inflation of credentials - Educational system has a sorting/reproduction function - Exams structure the content of learning - If only the 5% best are going to get good jobs, what is the point of extending educational opportunities to everyone?
  12. 12. Anti-credentialism? Shikshantar: 1) Labels, ranks and sorts human beings. It creates a rigid social hierarchy consisting of a small elite class of ‘highly educated’ and a large lower class of ‘failures’ and ‘illiterates’, based on levels of school achievement. 5) Confines the motivation for learning to examinations, certificates and jobs. It suppresses all non-school motivations to learn and kills all desire to engage in critical self-evaluation. It centralizes control over the human learning process into the State-Market nexus, taking power away from individuals and communities. 7) Fragments and compartmentalizes knowledge, human beings and the natural world. It de-links knowledge from wisdom, practical experiences and specific contexts. 9) Privileges literacy (in a few elite languages) over all other forms of human expression and creation. It drives people to distrust their local languages. It prioritizes newspapers, textbooks, television as the only reliable sources of information. These forms of State-Market controlled media cannot be questioned by the general public. 10) Reduces the spaces and opportunities for ‘valid’ human learning by demanding that they all be funneled through a centrally-controlled institution. It creates artificial divisions between learning and home, work, play, spirituality. 12) Breaks intergenerational bonds of family and community and increases people’s dependency on the Nation-State and Government, on Science and Technology, and on the Market for livelihood and identity.
  13. 13. Going forwards So what is the role of Open Education, and accreditation in all this?
  14. 14. Credits and contact Picture of diploma by Baston @ flickr E-mail: [email_address] Web: http://reganmian.net/blog

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