Thursday, March 6, 2008

Do we still need "courses"?

George Siemens raises an interesting question. Here's my contribution to the conversation:

Courses make sense when you've got canonical content and a prescribed/required outcome, and when "packaging" a set of learning experiences and assessments serves the stakeholder(s) who are paying to have their achievement documented and certified. It seems to me that if any of those conditions is n/a, then a course might be a less than optimum approach (if not an outright waste of time, money, and effort).

It also seems to me that, increasingly, we have fewer situations in which "canonical" and "prescribed/required" are not debateable. In spite of the best efforts of legislatures to require certification and accountability for *everything* citizens do.

My biggest worry about how to tie all the stuff together (including content) has to do with changing technology. PageFlakes may only be around briefly. Any given proprietary element of a PLE (there's that word again!) can disappear. Some ambitious, unknown, tiny legal entity can finagle a patent that shuts down all accreditation methods unless the accrediting entities pay Big Bucks for a license. And so on. It's still an uncertain world. Not that it wasn't always, of course.

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