We’ve had plenty of talking and blogging about open certification or open credentialing of learning mediated by open educational resources. One thing I don’t think we’ve talked about yet is the role of openness and open educational resources on program accreditation.
When you think about what accreditors want, they want to know exactly what your program is doing, exactly how you’re doing it, how you’re capturing data, how you’re using that data to make your program better, etc. Basically, accreditors are interested in transparency and accountability. Can you think of a better way to create and facilitate transparency and accountability than putting all your department’s courses in OCW and taking pro-open stance on other department output like research publications and policy documents? A few questions:
How would the accreditation process differ if your department had made a major commitment to OCW and openness? How would the accreditation visit differ if your department had made a major commitment to OCW and openness? Can you imagine it going faster? Can you imagine the team arriving with a deep knowledge of all your courses, how they’re taught, and how they’re assessed?
Given the huge list of (sometimes meaningless) things accreditation bodies feel empowered to require programs to do, why would they not require OCW and openness from the programs they review? In addition to all the public good this mandated sharing would do, it would also significantly simplify (and therefore improve) the accreditation process.
Since this seems to be such a great idea, benefiting so many people and removing so many painful layers and hours of pointless administrivia, it may never happen. But who knows… perhaps there is an enlightened accreditation body out there somewhere?