Sunday, April 22, 2012

Open Assessment

I had to repost this after accidentally deleting it!
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Peter Rawsthorne maintains his long held interest in developing an open source, peer to peerassessment system, and in many ways I think what OERu is doing today is to some degree informed by Peter's contributions to Wikieducator 2007-2010...

Achieving a critical mass seems to be the biggest problem to the idea of successfully developing a P2P Open assessment system. Linking it to formal and informal learning, and open education would be a logical place to start toward attracting some of that mass.

Maybe thinking about how people begin to go about learning something.. let's say it's a Google search at some stage. That search often leads people to either Wikipedia and/or Youtube both for a quick overview, and developing something in either one of those spaces is not only possible, it seems to me to be the place where one might hope to find enough of a critical mass...

Wikipedia has a sister project called Wikiversity, and their association affords a rather large graphic link on any Wikipedia page to any Wikiversity page. That link could read, "want to find out more about this topic, join a peer to peer assessment project" (Link to related Wikiversity page). That Wikiversity page could be any number of things to do with the topic found on the Wikipedia entry.. an index of open research projects, or a collection of lesson plans, links to more content, and links to a range ofassessment options, including assessment driven learning schedules, or guides for collecting a range of evidence for more formal assessment, from peer assessed badge systems through to Nationally recognised certification systems... the first project I ever witnessed attempting this was Michael Nelson's Web Design course on Wikiversity, where he was developing that space specifically for his Australian TAFE students, but in such a way so as to invite other formal assessors into the project and offer formal recognition for people learning web design through that Wikiversity project. Critical mass did not come :(

The search that leads to Youtube is a space that's a little harder to occupy. But at the very least it could be via instructional videos loaded to Youtube, to attract viewers and link them back to a Wikiversity page that offers a range of options for further learning, including assessment. That Wikiversity page could well include a suggested activity that has the punter returning to Youtube to upload their own videos in an effort to attract peer assessment there, or to simply generate evidence for more formal assessment.

These suggestions - to occupy two of the most popular open education spaces on the Internet: Wikipedia (and associated projects) and Youtube, is an attempt to attract critical mass toward the idea of peer to peer, open source assessment. Perhaps there are better spaces to attract that mass though (?)

That mass needs to be significant if there's truth behind the claim that a project like Wikipedia is created by less than 1% of the total number of people who use it. An open source assessment project could not expect to attract any more than 1% of the people that might look at the project, so the need to occupy popular domains becomes even more compelling I would think.

Next though, the model for open assessment needs to be simple and attractive, with obvious value to the wide range of people who may be interested. I'm wondering if something could be learned from the Local Exchange Trading Schemes, to try and generate some form of value in the assessmentsystem? 

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