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What have you learned at Saylor that has helped you personally or at work?

Continuing the discussion from PSYCH101-EXC discussion:

I was very impressed by @Paul_Morris’s post about Statistics based on what was taught in MA121. This made me wonder what people have learned at Saylor personally or in their career.

I am very early in my studies, so what I am learning is a review of what I learned in the first week of my first computer science class in college, but I’m sure I’ll have something to add as time progresses!

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I also do appreciate what paul has said. I recently got my computer tech degree at city college of san francisco and really love that college. I wanted to do more with technology but I did not like our state university. I am learning a lot in the computer science program here thanks

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I can speak to this myself; although I have not taken a lot of Saylor courses, and much of what I have learned is more about my work here than about study here, these courses have helped me both personally and professionally:

  • CS101 - by helping me get my feet wet in basic programming using Java, as well as covering general CS background;
  • PRDV251 - by facilitating a walkthrough of the most commons HTML and CSS elements, introducing me to some very good resources, and encouraging me to hack at my own projects;
  • PHIL102 - by being interesting and also encouraging me to hack at the course on my own, playing around with resources using the liberties afforded by a Creative Commons license.
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dear sean:

thanks for your blog post. i passed my first saylor course exam in the computer science foundation program. it would be nice someday students get a certificate of completion for the computer science degree program at saylor

Agreed! We’re hopefully moving in that direction in 2016.

i was thinking if someone did all the ge classes as well they could get some kind of degree certification

I think that the ‘degree’ terminology would have to be avoided as that carries connotations of accreditation which Saylor cannot offer. I don’t know about the US but here in the UK only approved bodies can call their certificates ‘degrees’.

My understanding is that Saylor already plan to offer a range of ‘umbrella’ certifications although the exact scope of that has not yet been published. At least one, the Customer Service Certification has already launched–which I know because I have received mine!

So, is it possible for these certificates to be evaluated for credit within a portfolio towards a degree? If yes, then many courses could be examined once they belong to a similar type of curriculum. Either from Saylor or from a school that I have attended physically I have learned that everything from the past is worthwhile to be transmitted somewhere else later. And this is the mystery of life I guess because the past is always connected with the future.
For example, an individual can accepted to study the arts once he provides a portfolio that includes his prior creations. Nothing is a waste time.

In principle, yes, although only a few schools do portfolio evaluations to a significant degree. A couple summers ago, we helped SUNY Empire State College pilot their new portfolio evaluation framework, and portfolio evaluation is one major way to earn credit at TESU, including as part of the Open ASBA degree partnership.

I don’t know that we’re at a point wherein a Saylor certificate in and of itself (or a collection of several) would be sufficient evidence toward a portfolio assessment, but yet another school that sends a number of students our way for the credit-recommended exams has also indicated that they’ll consider Saylor completion certificates as part of the evidence toward a successful portfolio assessment.

This may be a long, slow change. Schools are kind of all over the place on this issue. Most worry a great deal about their brand and the value of their degrees; many consider that maintaining valuable degrees means limiting outside credit opportunities (or at least striking a balance between convenience for incoming students and exclusivity).

A few schools are quite generous in how many credits they accept, in part due to an ethos of making degree programs accessible to all students but also in part because of a commitment to competency-based education as opposed to “seat time” and the traditional credit hour. These schools will grant a lot of credits for non-traditional academic work in part because they see credits as perhaps archaic but still the lingua franca of higher education credentials; the important thing is that incoming students already have knowledge and skills that ought to be counted toward a degree.

The latter kind of schools are still mostly in the minority. Sometimes I worry that competency based education, a good idea IMO (if not the only good idea and if imperfect as most everything else also is) will end up with a bad rap by schools and policy-makers who think that these schools are too free with credit recognition.

I think your business point is correct and I wonder why many schools that are in financial straits do not give it greater consideration:

To be sure, in the worst cases, some schools can and do enroll a ton of people, take money from them and from lending agencies (including the federal government), and give many students little of value in return.

But schools also have a completion problem – not enough students graduate or students take too long to graduate. This hurts schools’ reputation and standing – it harms their brand. Enrolling more on-campus students is implausible without huge, debt-financed capital investments. Online programs are not always that cheap and are hard to implement well. What to do?

Moving more students through the degree pipeline while reducing the time spent on campus by each individual student is certainly one option. This time is reduced both because many students will arrive with a few semesters of existing credit and also because the school can implement hybrid online and other “non-traditional” credit pathways that are both more flexible and less inherently risky than spinning up a full-fledged online-only program. From the institutions’ perspectives, they work toward better completion rates for more students and stable or reduced total tuition costs. Done well, the brand is protected and even expanded if more happy alumni stamp a school’s name on all their resumes (and maybe even send donations back to their alma mater).

I’ve glossed over a lot of details and, being a non-expert, I’m sure much of what I wrote above is subject to critique. In short, though, I think there is a win-win situation for students and schools, and that some schools are doing exciting things that deserve to get noticed – and copied – by other schools.

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And two new badges today! How lovely :slight_smile:

This might be a new one? I’ve used emoji before…I thought. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: