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AAEEBL, HASTAC, and Driving Questions

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    Driving questions and concerns about eportfolios shaped the core of an opening session at the AAEEBL World Summit last week, a conversation led by Trent Batson and Randall Rode (Yale) on HASTAC at Duke University. The topic: certifying learning through badges and a conversation about these, in light of the project with HASTAC, the Mozilla Foundation and the McArthur Foundation to create an open architecture for badges. You can get up to speed on the HASTAC project through an article by Sheryl Grant, “Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition | What Do We Know Now?” Reading about the conversation is not the same as participating, especially because the session followed on the heels of a conversation with Peter Elbow, “Technology, Writing, and Spoken Language,” in the same room. Participants, including Peter Elbow, stayed for the session on badges and we were joined by, among others, Terrell Rhodes, Vice President for the Office of Quality, Curriculum and Assessment at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Perhaps the most interesting and important questions about eportfolios, technology and education were raised in this conversation — from all points of view. Are we shifting from an educational system centered in the interactions between faculty and students to one centered in student artifacts and an army of assessors? What do badges mean? The civility and depth of the conversation was a testament to a kind of educational protocol with which everyone is familiar: the circle of chairs, discussion leader-moderators, and a high level of interaction.

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