Upcoming: A theoretical approach to accreditation of Open Education

January 27, 2009, [MD]

I've been interested in accreditation/evaluation of Open Education for a long time, and when we discussed a number of different theoretical approaches to the purpose of schooling, and the purpose of accreditation, in class, I realized that it would be very interesting to try to apply these theories to the problem of accreditation of open education. The Dean's Graduate Conference at OISE is an annual event where graduate students get to present on their on-going research to their peers and people from the community who are interested. This year, we put together a panel on OER, and there will be two other speakers besides me. Hopefully this can begin to raise the status of OER at our school, both as an activity, but also as something that can be researched. Below is my abstract (the conference is in the beginning of May in Toronto).

A theoretical approach to accreditation of Open Education

It has always been possible to gain advanced learning outside of the formal academy, through libraries and book-clubs for example, but the open-education movement has radically increased the feasibility of informal learning. Through the proliferation of open-access journals, open-educational resources (such as MIT OpenCourseWare), collaborative authoring such as Connexions and WikiEducator, and peer-to-peer learning systems such as Peer2PeerUniversity and Wikiversity, determined students with internet access can achieve learning outcomes similar to university courses.

How can such knowledge be accredited and proven? Some of the possibilities currently being explored range from the traditional methods of challenge exams and competency-based accreditation institutions, to attempts at applying peer-based accreditation from the open source world, and portfolios. However, these attempts need to be informed by sociological theories of schooling and accreditation, and I will use human capital theory and credentialism to analyze accreditation of open education.


Stian Håklev January 27, 2009 Toronto, Canada
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