Since students will increasingly blend their learning experiences — taking virtual courses but also continuing to attend place-based institutions in some form, there’s a pressing need to develop a better set of course-level quality indicators.
Rob responds to my suggestion of four outcome-focused quality measures by warning about the potential for providers to cream: soak up public funding but offer little real learning or value-add. In particular, he re-counts the story of how he self-taught himself to test out of his high school civics class. Agreed, there’s no way that I’d want any provider — public, nonprofit or provider — to get full funding for essentially publishing test prep materials.
Rob’s story is also an example of a larger problem — a mandatory, get-it-over-with course with little rigor and expectations so low that it could be encapsulated in a short weekend-cram session. If that’s the case, sounds like he made a great decision to test-out rather than spend an entire semester to learn the same thing. Regardless, his tale is a cautionary example of how we’ll need a balanced-approach.
We both agree that accreditation — at least as currently practiced — is not the answer. Perhaps some of our thoughtful readers can push this conversation further?