I had hoped to start this series on what a One Year BA adds up to yesterday (as well as churn out one more newsletter/course review). But the day was instead spent trying to finish up this portfolio which documents the scope of work that has gone into this project.
The portfolio was created using Accredible, a product I reviewed here (and you can also listen to an interview with one of the guys behind it here). While there are other cool systems for documenting and signaling non-traditional learning (including the Degreed product whose creator can also be heard on that same interview), I decided to use Accredible because of its focus on letting you amass specific evidence of what you did within a course (rather than just take it).
As this blog kicks off a discussion of what all this work adds up to in comparison with a traditional residential degree, I’m hoping that this portfolio will provide enough evidence to demonstrate that I actually did the work associated with the courses that make up my One Year BA and, more importantly, learned what each of these courses was created to teach.
A key evidence element is a course review which appears in most (soon all) of the Accredible “slates” which document individual classes. Newsletter subscribers or MOOC News and Reviews readers will have seen these before, but the role they are playing in this portfolio is as a demonstration that the information and concepts taught in each course was successful learned. Where appropriate, grades and work samples are also included in an evidence slate. But I hope anyone examining the project will take time to read through the review associated with any individual course since this is an example of the kind of evidence that cannot be hacked or hand-waved but must instead come out of actually understanding what you have been taught.
I still have a half-dozen slates to finish up (either because the classes are still going on or I haven’t yet had the time to write a review for the course). So expect those to dribble in over the next several weeks.
In the meantime, it should be good enough to underwrite a higher level discussion of whether a One Year BA (or, more specifically, a BA worth of courses taken using only MOOCs and other free learning resources) can be compared to a degree earned at a traditional, residential, liberal arts college.
In the fashion of certain ancient Greeks who were criticized for being able to argue either side of an issue with equal commitment, I plan to talk tomorrow about why my Degree of Freedom does not equate to a BA and on Thursday I will argue why it does.
So tune in on Wednesday as the prosecution makes its case.