Wrong End of Credentialing Stick

cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo shared by Tambako the Jaguar

I am riding on a train, watching the archive of Higher-Ed Live interview with Audrey Waters. She and host Seth Odell are bantering about the possibilities of the hither to change everything MITx, the Stanford AI course and Open Badges as well in how it will show externally that you have completed some program of skills and/or knowledge. They were talking about the challenges of doing this via some automated system, which to me suggests the things that can be done in that fashion are pretty low level (oi! multiple choice). Will a letter fro Peter Norvig be enough?

It got me thinking that in several ways, this “credentialing” concept, while on hand understandable, is looking at the wrong end of the stick. First of all, it is passive- it is letting some external agent to verify me. I am dependent on its capabilities to state what I can do. I’m not ready to give that power away nor rely on it, I want to have the work I have done speak for itself (and me).

The other wrong end of the stick, is that the types of things that can be automatically assessed or credentialed are really going to be the kinds of things they can do that to, and to me, it will be micro-skills that is badgable- “can do X in JavaScript,” “has ability to integrate complex functions”.

What I want to be able to see and show for myself, again, are the examples of my work that show this in action. Sure, I can talk about what I can do in web development or PHP, but what iw ant to do are show you things like pechaflickr with links to what other people are doing with it.

And this all circles back to blogging, and not in the 2004 sense of posting daily diaries, but the kind of blogging that refers to the self narration, reflection, and ideas behind our ideas. And look people who had bailed on blogging are coming back, returning to blogging. Where ya been?

But its not just about “hey, here’s my blog, it shows what I do” – there is some art/skill in how we communicate these things. How to we publish “This is who I am, this is what I can do, this is what I am about” – more than the blog posts. And voila, we end up with a connection to ds106 – and what may become my annoying mantra, almost any topic is related to ds106.

In this case it is, because the creative practices, the stretching of skills, the re-interpretation of media into new forms, are all part of the toolkit we should be helping learners to have to be able to express their identity. It’s why the system eportfolio concept felt stale (and still does to me) because it ends up someone else’s container. We are our own portfolio.

Maybe it is not either end of the stick, but to me, where all the emphasis seems to be, is at one end. The short end.

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Travis S.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


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