“Solve the problem that annoys you most”
Developing post-hoc accreditation processes; is the purpose of WikiQuals because high-stakes assessment (of education) is seen as the only valid social measure of learning; We disagree!
Introduction; We have been asked a question within the PhD group and consequently had some scholarly, and not so scholarly, discussions, concerning whether we should accredit the WikiQuals Ph.D or not. In part this is because we have had a very generous offer of some kind of twin track accreditation from an HEI in London (a doctorate by publication) and in part because the purpose of WikiQuals isn’t yet fully clear to everyone. So I shall deal with the issue of post-hoc accreditation in a little more detail in this post.
Formal Learning; My main reason for developing WikiQuals, which grows out of the “formal” part of the Emergent Learning Model, derives from previous experiences I’ve had of discussing alternative modes of learning developed from various projects using CMC / CSCL / ICT / ICLT / e-learning / edtech etc., with policy makers let alone alternative learning theories such as constructivism and connectionism. They always have one simple response, before they go on to dismiss anything just for it being new, namely “Ah yes collaboration is all very well, but how can you test what people have learnt individually?” Or put another way “but what about the high-stakes assessment” (in your bright new idea about learning). Basically all proposed changes in education which emerge from analysing how learning works are dismissed by using the trump card held by the system itself concerning the allegedly enduring value of individual assessment, or exams, if you want to *really* prove that the learning matters in the “real world”.
Network Society; Whilst I think that this issue is in fact a political one about the power and value of existing hierarchies, yet more of what Ben Hammersley calls the clash between hierarchical people and network people in the 21st century, I also think you should, to quote Philippa Young at the University Project workshop on WikiQuals, “solve the problem that annoys you most“. And being told that collaborative, or any other learner-centred learning, isn’t valid because it doesn’t have a high-stakes assessment process at the end of it to prepare you for an enduring life of stress, is what annoys me the most. So here is one possible solution.
Emergent Learning; WikiQuals is both a way of reviewing and redesigning our high-stakes assessment process, as well as being one of many possible outcomes of the learning flows in the Emergent Learning Model, from which it is derived. Within that model we argue that learning is derived from the shared desires of people to learn through what could be described as the social processes of learning. Following the emergence of that desire to learn then we have to ask “how do you identify or create learning resources that map to that shared learning desire”. With the WikiQuals Ph.D group we have a shared desire to learn to a level that equates to a Ph.D, along with a learning resource issue that relates to writing a book. From my perspective as an emergent learning theorist (see Fabriziopgcap) this is a good enough fit of issues to pose interesting problems about how we might accredit that desire for learning. From an Emergent Learning perspective then, we have a relevant set of problems and issues to try and solve collectively within the WikiQuals Ph.D group.
Show & Tell; What we have to do now to address the accreditation process is to incorporate the Show and Tell dimension for each WikiQuals “scholar” by them;
a) stating publically what they are aiming to do
b) identifying resources and processes which will show how they achieved that aim
c) finding journeymen and journeywomen who can help provide guidance, support and quality assurance.
Issues in Accreditation; The debate within the group reflects a division on what represents real accreditation. The current choice for them/us is between either formal Doctoral accreditation on a traditional programme, or helping develop, practically, new processes of accreditation for the emerging networked society.
Rituals of Transition; For various reasons it has long been my view that alternative learning projects suffer from not having major Rituals of Transition such as Freshers Week, Induction and, most significantly Graduation. (you could add in the Prom if you are American or an Inbetweener in the UK). So the WikiQuals group will be designing in some Rituals, starting with a traditional Christmas party with the Everything Unplugged group on December 21st at the Royal Festival Hall. We have other ideas, such as the pre-certification of post-hoc-accreditation, and will discuss them in a future post.
Co-Creating Scholarship; Incidentally as we are trying to become a Community of Scholars I will also be looking at how we might develop WikiQuals Sqolars as part of a process of Co-Create Open Scholarship too;
So given that we now have a group that have self-identified a learning desire, our Sqolars, how do we then accredit in WikiQuals? Let’s find out on Wednesday.