Badges, badges, badges

Earn your first badge now!

I’ve posted before about this nonsense but then I heard the exciting news about how you can bypass all that messy unpleasant formal education stuff and get straight on and get some real recognition for your achievements via this super Open Badges concept:

Want to get started? Earn a Mozilla Webmaker badge.

Or set up your Mozilla backpack to start storing, collecting and sharing your badges across the web.

Earn a badge from one of these members of the Open Badges community.

Need a demo? Take the badges 101 quiz, and earn a badge in the process!

Get recognition for the things you learn, online and off

 Not an accredited qualification

Not an accredited qualification

Open Badges includes a shared technical standard for recognizing your skills and achievements. Badges help make them count towards an education, a job or lifelong learning.

Earn badges from anywhere. Then take them everywhere. Collect and store your badges in your backpack, sort them into categories and then display them across the web — on social networking profiles, job  sites, websites and more.

Prove skills. Employers, organizations and schools can explore the data behind each badge issued using Mozilla Open Badges to verify your skills, achievements and interests.

Knit your achievements together. Whether they’re issued by one organization or many, badges can build upon each other, joining together to tell the full story of your skills and achievement.

And if you go to this site you can make your own badges. It’s all a bit Blue Peter really. I made my own:

Badge-1

Still struggling to see any merit in any of this. Also I really can’t take claims of shared standards at all seriously. And which employers are treating these kinds of things as comparable to formal qualifications.

Badge

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Latest campus craze? Humans v Zombies

And some have tried to stop this innocent fun…

shaun-of-the-dead-2

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education , the craze that is the Humans versus Zombies game does continue on campuses, despite the efforts of “killjoys” to prevent it:

Napa Valley College officials are the latest to interfere with a popular campus-based game of tag called Humans vs. Zombies. More than 600 campuses in the United States play some version of the game, which originated at Goucher College.

To win, zombie players try to “infect” or tag the humans, thereby turning them into zombies, and the humans must protect one another from being tagged. Sometimes the teams also have missions to complete. In some iterations, the tags are tracked with person-specific ID cards, and then uploaded to a Web site. In others, as soon as you get hit with a Nerf dart, you’re dead. Well, undead. A game can last days or weeks, or merely until there are no “humans” left.

Must say it all sounds very exciting indeed. It also offers an entertaining analogy for the state of higher education more generally.

Is this the university of the future?

A new model. Designed by consultants

Worried about the future of higher education? Concerned about the impact the new fees regime is going to have on your university? Bit nervous that everyone is talking about ‘disruptive innovation’ in HE without really knowing what it means? Then fret no more. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a proposed ‘reinvention’ of the university at UNT-Dallas. Developed by external consultants this will draw on all the very latest up to the minute thinking about higher education. Look and learn:

Now UNT-Dallas administrators are considering a new model, based on the work of Bain, that would use those disruptive, efficiency-minded ideas as tools to reshape this fledgling university, which has a full-time-equivalent enrollment of only about 1,000 and a 264-acre campus with exactly two buildings. The prospect excites local civic leaders but has left faculty members here scared—and feeling like pawns in the emerging national debate on how to make colleges more affordable and accessible.

The tools to succeed

Bain’s model calls for a narrow set of career-focused majors in fields like business, information technology, and criminal justice, as well as for a year-round trimester calendar. It would de-emphasize research by faculty members so they could teach as many as 12 courses per year, and it would rely on heavy use of so-called hybrid courses, which would replace some face-to-face teaching with online instruction.

It would focus not only on the adult students the institution serves now but also on motivated 18-to-22-year-olds, and it would pay students to take on some advising and administrative tasks normally handled by staff members. It would also reimburse students for their final two trimesters if they’re on track to graduate within four years.

Genius. Year round teaching. Very few courses. Stop research. Less class contact. Use students to replace administrators.

This really is the university of the future.

WikiLeaks for Higher Education

Because you can never have too many distractions…

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a report on the launch of “UniLeaks”:

WikiLeaks, scourge of governments worldwide, now has a copycat for academe. And the new group is itching to publish your university’s deepest secrets.

Its Web site, UniLeaks, debuted this month with a pair of open letters to university leaders in Australia and Britain. The Australian activists who run UniLeaks are pushing for openness in the face of what they see as the corporatization of higher education. They complain of unprofitable courses abolished, employees made less secure, and students reduced “to mere customers or clients of the university.”

But are there any more open public authorities than universities? In the UK there are many ways for staff or students to voice their concerns within institutions without fear. There is also the Freedom of Information Act which makes it possible to get just about anything you want. And the fact that, by their very nature, universities are very open organisations.

At a time of significant financial challenge though what universities really don’t need is to spend more time and money engaged in pointless diversionary activity (FOI compliance costs enough as it is thank you) – responding to this kind of thing merely adds to the burden.

Now students can study football

I’ve posted before on various degree courses which sound a bit, well, bonkers. The Daily Mail loves this stuff and gets very excited when something like a degree in footy comes along:

The finer points of the offside rule are not on the curriculum.

But a Championship club is offering its expertise in other aspects of the beautiful game by launching a university degree in football.

new student in Burnley

Burnley student


Burnley FC will enrol undergraduates on a three-year Bachelor of Arts (Honours) course with lectures to be held in classrooms overlooking the pitch in its stadium.

The club is the first to offer a full honours degree in football and is aiming to add income from the £3,200-a-year course to money from ticket sales and merchandise.

Sounds pretty rigorous to me. As I’m sure the Mail would agree.