4 November 2013
4 November 2013,

“It seems I know more than my tutor. Why can’t they just tell me what the assignments are and I will deliver the lot for marking?”

Good question. Why is there not an option for a learner, not present through the semester, to submit all of the assessments for a course and have them marked alongside the traditional student’s assessments?

Imagine a system where, for a reduced cost, the accreditation of a degree is based, not on teaching the material but on the learner delivering the same outcomes as traditional students; sitting the same tests; providing the same evidence of knowledge or competency.

According to the New York Times we are getting close. Will there soon be a provider who clearly describes the evidence needed for a range of degrees and then brokers the marking and resulting confirmation of the learner’s understanding or competence? Could this broker then accredit the learner with a qualification off the strength of the marker’s reputation and its own assurance systems?

With the pace of education change increasing I see no barrier to a Udacity-type group negotiating access to world renowned knowledge experts and offering assessment of a learner’s assignments and required evidence (traditionally, the coursework) in return for an accredited degree.

There will be a cost, sure. But, with the evidence/assessment requirements clearly described and with course material freely available through the biggest MOOC of all, the Internet, the cost will be significantly less than teaching and assessing.

It is not a question of can it be done but when will it be done. So, what are the barriers preventing this learner-centric option emerging? Is there too much to loose: $$? Or is it concern about losing control of the delivery yardstick?