Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Do It Yourself (DIY) Guide to Credentialing

The cat's out of the bag and more and more people are awakening to the fact that a college degree is no longer what it was cracked up to be.  If you are convinced, there are a few people who are doing a great job of sharing ideas for alternatives that are less costly, more meaningful, and result in real evidence of demonstrated knowledge that say more about qualifications than numbers on a transcript. 

First up is Anya Kamenetz who wrote "The Edupunks' Guide to a DIY Credential.

College takes time. College is expensive. College is exclusive.
College is no longer the only way to get a great education.
This guide explains how and is supported by some big hitters like the Gates Foundation and received support from the fabulous Dennis Littky of Big Picture Schools and College Unbound.  Here are some of the topics the guide addresses:

How To
  • Do Research Online 

  • Write a Personal Learning Plan

  • Teach Yourself Online

  • Build Your Personal Learning Network

  • Find a Mentor

  • Get a Credential

  • Demonstrate Value to a Network

Open World (non-accredited, open learning, professional networks) 
  • Open Content 

  • Open Social Learning 

  • Open Learning Institutions 

  • Dan Diebolt’s independent learning methods 

  • Reputation Networks

Here is the guide which I am not endorsing as I have yet to read it completely. I am simply offering it as one of a number of resources that are coming out around the topic.  Stephen Dowes has a less than favorable review of the guide here

Next up is someone whose work I am more familiar with.  Dale J. Stephens is doing great work with his "UnCollege Movement" which empowers people to take ownership of learning and credential themselves.

UnCollege is founded on three principles:
1. Introspection is essential. It is vitally important that you know yourself before you pursue higher education.
2. Passionate action outweighs school. Real-world success proves more than homework.
3. Self-motivation is requisite for success. Taking initiative is more valuable than completing assignments.

Stephens suggests the following reasons for joining the UnCollege Movement:
Stephens recommend joining the UnCollege movement if you
  • Hope to hack your education;

  • Will be enrolling in college;

  • Want to complement your college experience;

  • Are past your college years but want to give higher education a second chance;

  • Want to be an educational deviant;

  • To get the BEST education possible.

Stephens has also written the UnCollege manifesto entitled Your Guide to Academic Deviance.  

Here are a few things you will learn:
  • How to bust societal expectations about college;

  • The value (or lack thereof) of a college degree;

  • Why life and education are interrelated;

  • What being a contrarian entails;

  • Introspective exercises;

  • Twelve steps to self-directed learning.

The guide is intelligently written with smart ideas.  You can click here to open or download the manifesto. For more information about UnCollege go here.

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