Conversations About the Future

Happy New Year, Brij! I’m so grateful that we have such a gifted advocate for public health right here in the Central Valley. Thank you for your insightful commentary that places these complex global issues within a local context, like your recent discussion with Richard Beene on the importance of coming back for the a second treatment of the vaccine.

I’ve spent the last few months having some really fruitful conversations about education and the future. We can’t really build the future that we want for our students if we don’t start by talking about what that future would even look like. Once our visions of the future are in alignment, we can start actualizing them in a productive way with our students. In my role as Chair of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, I had the privilege of putting together an eight-part seminar series on the future of learning. Hundreds of educators from across the West Coast, Hawaii, and the pacific came together to engage with our panel of speakers from across the world of academia, policy, and workforce development. Throughout the seminar series, participants got to ask questions of each of the panelists and comment on their work, and you could sense our disparate visions for community college access, curriculum, and equity beginning to come into alignment with each session.

Sonya Christian on student learning.

During the Seminar Series, a number of themes began to emerge. One of the most dominant themes that emerged is that academia as a whole, and community colleges in particular, need to find ways to recognize the social construction of learning and the learning that our students have gained before they even step into the walls of our institution.

In order for colleges to recognize the social construction of learning, we must decouple higher education from the shackles of the Carnegie unit, an antiquated standard that only measures the amount of time a student is directly engaged with the course materials. A model known as Competency-Based Education is one approach to moving beyond the Carnegie unit.

Sonya Christian on competency-based education.

However, the most crucial component that links student learning outcomes, credit for prior learning, and competency-based education together is technology, and we had Wayne Skipper from Concentric Sky to explain the innovative approach to open badging and micro-credentialing through the Badgr platform and Bakersfield College’s Program Pathways Mapper.

Bill Moseley and Wayne Skipper talk about badging and micro-credentialing.

I was honored to simply be in the company with so many bright minds in the field of higher education, and I look forward to continuing our conversation about the future of learning as we continue to build it as BC, ACCJC and beyond. Brij: what is the future of medicine, in your eyes? How can we leverage our knowledge of the human genome to transform humanity? How can we safely and efficiently bring the clinical experience directly into people’s homes, especially in rural areas where there are less hospitals and health resources in general?

It’s a wrap for me.
Until next time….

-sonya

One thought on “Conversations About the Future

  1. Hello Sonya: I am not an educator, nor do I claim to be an expert in the field of education. These are excellent presentations – especially your phrase “monopoly of learning” and “increasing cost but no value” (I am paraphrasing” are the ones I completely agree with.

    The other phrase that caught my eyes was “Competency-based-education”. There are long conversations in videos, which, frankly, had little information for my impatient nature. However does this phrase mean teach the student what he/she can learn? I think I would argue with that notion. Isn’t the college supposed to challenge the student and think critically, so that he/she can advance? To me, this looks like a sophisticated phrase for keeping them dumb!

    I also agree with your statement about the costs. As we know a large number of students going to BC require remedial education. Thus the problem is not only at the college level but starts in K-12 education. This chart shows the cost vs skills for K-12 students since 1970 – and as we know the cost of higher education is exploding in the US. I have some thoughts on that matter, but need to research more. How can one justify this chart from Cato Institute?

    https://www.cato.org/blog/public-school-spending-theres-chart

    Thank you and Brij for a great blog.

    Girish Patel MD

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