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Jukka Ojaniemi

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This is interesting: a university is offering credentials based on what you know/can do, rather than the classes you've taken.  This is what online courses keep alluding to as an end-goal, but it always seems well over the horizon.  And while competency-based credentials are kind of a prerequisite for MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses), the opposite is not true, there's no reason you have to have an online component to this kind of evaluation.

The question though is how to do this kind of very serious evaluation.  Tests don't cut it.

This does offer the possibility that you could separate instruction from evaluation.  Right now we all know that the evaluation is poor and incomplete, so we rely on other cues to get an idea of a graduate's ability.  GPA, peer group, making it through a program, these all suggest something about a graduate's ability, and together it creates a better picture of the person.  Competency-based credentials get rid of a lot of that – all of which could be great, but makes it more easily gamed, and that possibility devalues all of the resulting credentials.

One question I might ask, which is admittedly somewhat of an aside: what would you have to do to create a credential that is valuable to a successful professional in a field?  It'll probably be a lot different for people in different fields.  Some fields will give you automatic pay bumps for a credential (e.g., teaching).  But I don't know if that's the norm outside civil service(ish) jobs.  A credential is helpful when you are struggling to find an opportunity, and want to prove yourself despite a lack of connections or demonstrable ability, but that itself can create a stigma.  Because degree programs are process-based it doesn't seem quite so desperate.

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