Two articles featured this morning in The Chronicle of Higher Education are about the creeping of government nanny standards into colleges.
The first article is not open to general readers, but you can get the general idea from its title: “In Return for Federal Dollars, Obama Demands Results From Colleges.”
The second article is open to all readers. Here is some flavor:
Responding to what they call unfair scrutiny from state and federal regulators, representatives from online colleges discussed a self-imposed quality-assurance framework at today’s Presidents’ Forum in Washington, convened by Excelsior College.
But state officials said they are still concerned that self-imposed standards are not good enough and that online programs are not consistent in providing students with high-quality education. . . .
As the internet rapidly matures in coming months and years, these nanny standards form yet more schooling firewalls for the delivery of open learning from the internet. These nanny-creep-firewalls will undermine educational effectiveness for both the colleges who get stuck with them and the governments that demand them.
The most recent post on this blog describes how the new HTML.5 will facilitate delivery of study materials conforming to what a student is ready to learn. This individual assessment of what to learn next is based on at what level of the subject the student has already engaged in previous websites. This fundamental new way to set a standard for what to study next is totally separate from the perceived lockstep standards of either the college or the government. The assessment HTML.5 will generate totally accommodates the learner.
The day is coming when standard setting nannies will need to prove their relevance in the new venue of online response to a student’s level of inquiry. It seems sort of silly for a nanny standard to test a student on algebra in her first college year, when the internet is sending her more basic math knowledge based on her past visits online. Or really silly to give the same algebra test to a student in her class who is exploring calculus and trigonometry based on HTML.5 selected resources where he is spending time.