All I Want for Christmas is an Open Education!



It’s high time I started another degree. I’ve been shopping around for a couple of years now, and (mostly), I have it down to a couple institutions:

Both very attractive programs, and I’m sure I’d learn a lot.

As I’ve been shopping, I’ve been reading Don Tapscott’s latest epic, Macrowikinomics. It’s a great book. I found myself thinking “Hey, I’m not crazy! Other people think like this too!” (Or, maybe more to the point, at least I’m not alone.) In Chapter 8, Rethinking the University: Collaborative Learning, Tapscott proposes that we need to embrace open and collaborative learning in a “Global Network for Higher Learning”. He questions,

Why is the university the unit of measurement when it comes to branding a degree? In fact, in a networked world, why should a student have to assign his or her “enrollment” to a given institution, akin to declaring loyalty to some feudal fifedom?

There’s been some great scholarship and initiatives on the concept of “open courses” of late. Shouts out to Alec Couros, Stephen Downes, Dave Cormier, Bryan Alexander, George Siemens, David Wiley, Jim Groom and others for being trail-blazers on this.

What I’m after though is an open degree.

From what I’ve researched, a number of institutions will allow a small number of courses to come from outside the program and still be counted towards the degree (usually no more than two, although I’ve seen at least one allowing four…maybe under special circumstances, and with major administrative hassles). So, here’s my question, and my pitch: I’ll concede that I have to have a home institution, but what I’d like to do is take “one half less one” credits from other institutions, so that >50% of my credits come from my “home”.

Now, I may be missing something. There may be a program out there that allows this flexibility. If there is please let me know. If you work at one of these magical, enlightened institutions I will sign up! I am an excellent student. Believe me. And, if you want to help me with my quest, in any way, shape or form…

7 thoughts on “All I Want for Christmas is an Open Education!

  1. Check out Athabasca University, Kyle. While none of their graduate programs are quite as specific as those you cite at U of T and York, you may be able to jerry-rig their MAIS (MA Integrated Studies) into something that suits your interests. Of the 33 courses required to graduate (3 credits being equivalent to a 0.5 credit at Guelph), 15 can be from an external institution. The remainder are offered online, so a different way of attending your “home” university, with the bonus that you can attend it with people all over the world from the convenience of your own pyjamas.

    Athabasca also offers degrees in Distance Education, though I’m not as familiar with that program.

    Let me know what you think.

    • Thanks Mike. Seems to me like I should be able to find that book in the UofG library, but Primo tells me.

      “0 Results for Guelph / Laurier / Waterloo”

  2. My thoughts on this

    I decided on the Interdisciplinary masters at Royal Roads by chance and not design. (long story about my inability to commit lol) It doesn’t allow course work from multiple institutions, only from multiple programs within RRU.

    I’ve included Leadership, Learning and Technolgy in my course work and because it’s interdisciplinary my final project can include other discilpines.

    Best of luck.. and I hear ya!

  3. Pingback: Christmas Wish List: Open Degree |

  4. Pingback: Master-y « kylemackie

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