Credit/Seat-time vs. Competency-based Credits

As our university begins a university-wide assessment of our seat-time compliance for credit hours in all our courses, the education landscape continues to consider changes to assess a student’s competency of a subject matter instead of how much seat-time the student may have had for a specific subject/course.

This article, “More Cracks in the Credit Hour” provides an interesting overview to the changes that may begin to take place if the education regulators and federal loan grantors begin to consider alternatives to the current Carnegie unit method of assessing a students subject competency.

My thought is that if a student can demonstrate her/his competency of a subject by various learning outcome assessments, that this would be more valuable to the student in gaining knowledge and retaining knowledge then requiring a student to have enough seat-time and learning outcomes to prove she/he has gained the requite knowledge of a particular subject. Higher education has been using subject-based proficiency examinations for may years through CLEP and DSST examinations.

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Teaching with Twitter

I found this article to be a very interesting method of teaching using Twitter. I have used a similar techniques of limiting my students to only a certain number of characters when creating an “elevator speech.” An elevator speech is a brief description of who you are and/or what you represent that can be shared in a very short period of time, such as in an elevator ride, that provides the listener with a good sense of who you or your product is and why it might be valuable to the listener.

http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/teaching-twitter

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MOOC’s Take a Major Step Toward College Credit – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education

http://chronicle.com/article/MOOCs-Take-a-Major-Step/135750/y

An interesting article that discusses the next step for the use of MOOCs in higher education.

As stated by one of the people interviewed in this article, MOOC credits will be similar to high school graduates who enter college with AP credits.

Additional interesting comments are related to MOOCs being part of the “flipped classroom” by using MOOCs as the lecture part of the course, online, and the face to face classroom would be for discussions and group activities.

This article also suggests that MOOCs may, in some cases, may replace textbooks.

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MOOCs and the future of Education

This article from the Inside Education discussed how colleges can work collaboratively with the MOOC courses and provide a pathway for students to earn accredited credits towards an associates and/or bachelors degree. Colleges using MOOC courses for awarding credit can also improve their retention and graduation rates, according to this article.

http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/reality-check/moocs-and-future-university

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Education Chief Arne Duncan Calls for textbooks to go Digital

According to this article, U.S. Secretary of Education believes that part of education reform includes moving more students to digital textbooks. Digital textbooks can be more economical, more accessible, and more of learning resource than conventional paper textbooks. Digital textbooks can be electronically searched, tagged and related to other learning experiences through its digital flexibility.

Education Chief Wants Textbooks To Go Digital

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Mechanical MOOCs

In earlier posts we have shared information on MOOCs. In a recent New York Times article, “Free Online Course Will Rely on Multiple Sites,” Tamar Lewin reports that new courses are being constructed that will not need an instructor. The instructor will be replaced by blending content from several free online resources, such as M.I.T.‘s free courseware, OpenCourseWare, Codecademy‘s online exercises and quizzes, and OpenStudy. P2P University will assist in the coordination of the course.

A high number of students can be included in each mechanical online course. However, students can be assigned to smaller groups for a better learning experience.

I continue to believe that there is a place for institutions in higher education to be places that students can come for guidance  directions, interpretation, and learning through the institution’s service of being a platform to design, refine, and provide a platform for on-going learning and degree completion, similar to Google U.

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Data: Online Education by University & Degree Completion

Online education opportunities are increasing for students seeking education and training in numerous fields, topics, and skills.

This recent USA Today article, “Online education degrees skyrocket” provides an interesting sortable chart looking at  universities/colleges and the number of online degrees conferred in 2001 and 2011.

Educators need to continue to develop high quality courses and programs that will provide students and faculty a high quality educational experience.

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