Reclaim Open Learning

better online learning for higher ed

Design Your Own College

September 21, 2013 by Courtney Santos

Scott Hoshida, Berkeley City College

What If You Didn’t Have to Go to College: A Collaborative Design Challenge

Some struggling students have tried to convince me that they can be successful without a degree (“just like Bill Gates!”). Previously, I would have disregarded their argument, but in the last few years, things have shifted, and now it seems possible that students who struggle during high school might find all the resources and knowledge they need with a degree. But I’m not so sure. What’s often missing for these students–motivation, confidence, basic reading and writing skills–are what make it difficult for them to take advantage of these emerging resources (especially MOOCs).

To address this, students in my critical thinking courses will use open-education resources and tools to design personal learning blogs and communities that create mash-ups of traditional and emerging learning resources. In short, they’ll be designing their own course of student (and blogging about it) and learning community to match.

For the first project, students will create personal blogs that present themselves as apprentice scholars in a particular discipline or field. They’ll write and publish personal narratives about their interests and experiences, track and analyze a thorny issue in their field of study, and create a list of resources to create a quilt of resources, academic and non-academic, that they can use in the future. They will present these blogs to each other and their communities for feedback, critique, and affirmation.

For the second project, small groups will design post-secondary learning communities that use all the resources available to create a hybrid learning experience for an atypical college student. It’s like designing charter colleges but with a lot more flexibility. They will research online resources (MOOCs, badges, OER, etc.) and traditional venues (churches, museums, librariess, NGOs, etc.) for this learning, and then will present their designs online for a competition for innovation, presentation style, and critical thinking.

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