Taking Open Education to the Extreme

D’Arcy Norman’s post about open education struck an ominous chord. Although he was taking the devil’s advocate position his conclusion is perfectly possible:

Is truly open education a desirable goal? Is the eradication of all barriers to access something that would have positive outcomes? If we follow open education in one logical direction – where every individual is able to tailor their own educational experience in breadth, depth, and scope, will we be able to make sense of the products of such experiences? Degrees and diplomas, at least in the conventional sense, would become diluted to the point of being essentially meaningless. If each individual can for all intents and purposes be their own university, how do we properly value this? Can everyone claim to have an open PhD from MeU?

If we think of work experience rather than just education this trend is all too obvious. I have participated in appointment panels recently where applicants have had approximately two jobs a year over several years. Judging their overall work experience is exactly like making a judgement about the cumulative education level of someone making use of the open education model as D’Arcy describes.

Imagine interpreting the usual clause in job adverts of ‘a bachelor’s degree or equivalent’! We have interesting times in store for us.


About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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