Even National Review is Talking Alternative Learning

I don’t read most of National Review Online because I disapprove of argument by insult writing style. But they have a blog called The Agenda on domestic policy issues led by Reihan Salam that I find worth reading because it avoids name calling and usually recognizes social and economic problems.

Today there is a post titled Is Opting Out of Federal Student Aid the Key to Innovation in Higher Ed? Ignore the title for a moment and just read through the article. The first part deals with something called competency transcripts, which attempt to document what a student has done in classes. They are contrasted with the usual time based transcripts most of us have. I found the competency based transcript concept in tune with @michael’s lecture for Module 10 where he noted that our course is based around producing products. I found it interesting that this concept appears to have endorsements from across the political spectrum.

There is also some interesting discussion about how to document competencies and an argument for third party certifiers of progress. I think these are things that will need to be worked out over time. For example, W3Schools will give you a certificate for passing their courses, but from what I’ve gathered, employers regard the certificates as worth slightly less than the paper they’re written on.

I don’t endorse the article’s key point – that dropping federal student aid is a good thing. I think that would lead to an intensification of the US two tiered college system where the wealthy get degrees from prestigious schools and make connections and the rest of us get whatever education we can afford. I also think that paying college recruiters per student is a lousy idea. But it does seem like federal regs do get in the way in other ways. But maybe we should reform the student aid regs to permit flexibility rather than having colleges refuse financial aid students in the name of innovation.

via MOOCing Up North http://ift.tt/17K52Wt

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