Monday, March 24, 2008

Open Access Accreditation

I want to discuss if people think it is possible to create an international accredited institution that could give me a graduate level degree based on my completion / creation of OER (and related published research)? Maybe the international institution is a social network with a top quality reputation. i.e. if your level of scholarship is recognized by this “institution / social network” then it is considered the same as a PhD from Athabasca University… lets call it Open Access Accreditation… Isn’t this the natural progression from connectionist (see siemens) approaches?

It would seem that an institution like UNESCO or ICDE is where this could start and with the writing coming from these institutions regarding OER they (I believe) should be addressing the issue. I’ve been reading papers from these institutions for a while and everything still assumes the OER are utilized within existing institutions and existing courses and existing programs and in the end you still have to pay for assessment and the credential. In particular, the roadmap from the OLCOS http://www.olcos.org/cms/upload/docs/olcos_roadmap.pdf seems to be a deep dive into all this, yet they still assume loads of affiliations and partnerships with existing Universities. Essentially you still have to pay to get assessed and credentialed even though you are using OER created by someone only loosely affiliated with the university granting the credential. Why?

You could assume a PhD is the equivalent of 2-3 years of full-time work, for easy math lets 5000 hours. Let’s say I am prepared to work 16 hrs a week for 46 weeks a year for seven years (5152 hours total). And during this time I create a solid amount (potentially a complete Masters degree amount) of OER (with accompanying collaborative research papers) on WikiEducator and Wikiversity. Shouldn’t I be able to take all this work and be given a PhD? Universities provide honorary doctorates; why not use this same structure to offer a PhD to someone who completes what I previously suggested? Or would the reputation I created on WikiEducator and Wikiversity by collaboratively creating a PhD effort equivalent in OER be the same as having a PhD? In fact could this not be the new PhD? And in the end I would have saved myself the 40k - 100k $ that I paid to an institution for a credential (not including 5152 hrs of lost salary). And I could do all this in a truly self directed manner without having to be “supervised” by a tenured academic. When I know that most of my supervision is going to come from the social network anyway…

Or maybe what I am asking is; what role does the graduate level university play in a Connectivist world filled with quality OER, hard work and an active social network?

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