Beyond MOOCpocalyse, towards a spectrum of approaches

I’m at OpenEd12 this week and tweeting away when wifi permits. I’ll talk more about the conference later (and Gardner Campbell’s keynote), but a quick note about two presentations earlier that didn’t get tweeted. I hope to develop my thoughts about this more later but if you’re interested in shifts in Higher Ed, the presentations by Saylor and ISKME earlier today are important.

In talking about their current work Saylor noted a shift in the types of question they’re able to ask ~from  ‘we know what OER can be, we are now working more on what can OER do’. They presented responses from students  noting the range of responses about the different ways in which students are interacting with their content, looking at: supplementing courses, extending access, allowing flexible access, creating innovative and cross curricular programs of study. They are looking into three approaches to convert courses they offer to currency in the traditional systems, and outline:

  1. Exam Preparation (for existing structures; they’re aligning with CLEP exams) to create transfer credit.
  2. Credit by Exam – partnership with accredited partners (such as Excelsior college and Straighter Line, others coming ).
  3. Offer credit themselves. Working to align with NCCRS and using a proctoring service to develop a path for college credit.

I’ll note that their aim (at this point) is not to replace college but to reduce the cost of college – in the same way that many students take some years at community college and transfer into a program at a university – they hope to allow transfer in at a similar stage with credit earning in relation to Saylor content.

ISKME have an ongoing research project about the *spectrum* of access, openness and credentials. Their project is exploring useful questions beyond the hype of disruption/ transformation and are offering the beginnings of a more nuanced point of view. Although their model is still under development there’s an interesting matrix teasing out of ownership of learning (program vs self-directed) against reward/ certification approach and against use of OER.

I think that there may be bigger questions about the sustainability of some existing models if some of the newer approaches stabilise but we shall see.


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