After writing about David Wiley’s presentation (Oct 13) in which he said that assessment is the one area related to open access where not much work has been done, I have been inundated with people speaking and writing on the issue of assessment. In the Online Teaching and Learning Conference last week (Sponsored by Fielding Graduate University, Jossey-Bass, and LearningTimes, I participated (heard) a webinar on accreditation of online learning (not exactly emergent, open, but related). Another webinar by Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt on assessment included information about authentic assessment which asks students to perform in real life situations about which they are learning and usually includes rubrics. And I came across several articles as well, which I didn’t track, since it isn’t a subject I am overly interested in. But when Rory McGreal presented this week on Assessment and Accreditaton, I couldn’t help but notice how much attention is being paid to this topic in general, contrary to what David Wiley had noted (although Wiley was particularly speaking about open education, so maybe it is more true in that context.
I have to say that the content of the presentation this week in #Change11 by Rory McGreal was pretty scary. McGreal, with Diane Conrad and Wayne MacIntosh, is working to get credentials for students in OER courses. They have ten universities that they are working with at present. The idea is that students would take their courses in OER courses and then the University would accredit them, according to whatever agreement they have worked out with that university. The reason that I say that it is so scary is that the focus is entirely on testing (computerized testing at that) to assess whether people have accomplished learning goals through testing. There is no perspective on emergent learning at all. He (and the moderator) defended this by saying these would be beginning undergraduate courses and seem to be entirely about preparing people for certain jobs. This is not where one would hope that learning would be headed. Some people were objecting to the emphasis on testing and asked about e-portfolios, but there didn’t seem to be much place for this discussion! (Abort! Abort! Get me out of here!!)