Live from ITC – Day 3: Random Thoughts to Start the Day

Once again, the keynote that kicked off the day was eye-opening, in more ways than one. Thanks to the [insert corporate brand name here] coffee provided by the [insert corporate brand name here] Hotel, I was alert and ready to learn, but no amount of coffee could have prepared me for this morning’s keynote.

Let’s face it. Students come into college with (or without) a distinct goal in mind, but all too often, life happens and the students get sidetracked and wind up unable to complete their degree on time, and many drop out after one semester. This is not new news. The factors that lead students to want to pursue a college degree are quite often the very same things which keep them from succeeding. The desire to improve oneself and the strength of the dream are often diminished over time due to overwhelming life circumstances. Again, this is not new news.

In order to keep students on track and help them achieve their dreams, we need to adjust the way we work. Institutions are designed to serve the needs of “traditional” students, but now, there are more “non-traditional” students than “traditional” students. How do we make the institution open and ready to serve these diverse needs?

How can we help students get professional certifications and degrees? With the advent of open resources, like MITx and the Mozilla Open Badges, why can’t we incorporate these “mini-credentials” into the curriculum? Why can’t we have a system within a course or degree program which enables students to achieve these mini-credentials as a part of their curriculum. These are just random thoughts with no research, and I’m writing them now so I won’t lose them. But why can’t I, as a technology instructor, help my students earn badges (which are similar to achievements in video games) as they complete coursework? If the skills needed to earn these badges align with the course goals and objectives, then it shouldn’t be a problem. But what if there are some badges which sort of align with my course goals but not entirely? Can I do extra credit assignments which will allow the over achieves to get these extra badges? Is there a way I can have these badges represented in the LMS and carry over from semester to semester? Can we add the badges to transcripts?

These are just food for thought, reactions to this morning’s presentation, about which I will blog later…

Anyway, the next session is about to start, so I’m off to learn once more…

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