Comment on The Sweet Spots by Greg

Great post and something I have been thinking deeply on.

I am usually one of those high energy open participants who doesn’t complete the formal pathways.

We over at #walkmyworld our experimenting with structures. Instead of formalizing less structures and different paths we suggest a low barrier of completion (post a photo) and then offer multiple pathways of differentiation that allow users to up their game.

I do better in classes with less formal pathways but still want enough content to want to be all in. I am nit one to reject the power relationship between teacher and student. Their is knowledge to share and if your instructor has less than you its time to find a new teacher.

Its kind of like teaching in these open spaces takes as much leadership as it does pedagogy.

Comment on Credential or Certificate by Gardo

@Jason Thanks for your comment. The credential witnesses you describe in patrician Roman society certainly represent an abuse of the idea of credence and make a mockery of the idea of trust. That said, status and prestige may also derive from reasonable and even praiseworthy sources. Sometimes the statements a person utters will gather deserved renown and open up areas of beneficial influence. Also, I believe character witnesses are still called to the stand as evidence, even today, though the US regulates this kind of evidence (as it does others of course). The potential for abuse continues to be acknowledged. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_evidence , http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=175

My larger point is that a degree can and should represent something more than an accumulated set of marks on exams. The degree can and should be “credential” because it represents the accumulated testimony of expert learners who have worked with the candidate and recommend that candidate for the degree. Partly of course this is a question of what counts as evidence of any kind. It’s also true that neither empirical evidence nor character witness is necessarily immune to abuse.

It won’t surprise you when I also say that while skills and abilities are of course very important, they do not by themselves define the full mission or promise of education, at least as those words are typically used in the discourse I read about competency-based education, workforce preparation, etc. I myself would be reluctant to award an academic degree solely on the basis of a GED- or AP-like exam. A certificate would be another matter, probably.

Thanks for stopping by!

Comment on Credential or Certificate by Jason Coats

There may also be something to the history around the etymology. If I’m not mistaken, Roman jurisprudence of the late Republic(and possibly beyond) was based not on empirical evidence but on “character witness” testimony. The higher the class (the longer a witness’s family had been patrician), the better the testimony, to the point where some impoverished noble families made much of their income by speaking out in favor of defendants they barely knew. In that sense, “credentia” comes from a culture that valued the status and prestige of a person much more highly than the statements that person might utter, and by analogy fits a more traditional understanding of degrees that derive their merit from the reputation of the conferring school rather than the skills and abilities of the graduating student.