« Moving On-Line 3

Moving On-Line
Observations and Questions #3

Carnegie Credits

In making the decisions to move instruction on-line, schools are making huge fundamental decisions about the nature of the educative process. Interaction changes. Access changes. Process changes.

Perhaps the decision regarding synchronicity is one of the most important decisions - because that decision affects every other facet of how students are educated. Of course, there are “make do” plans, and time compromises, but that fundamental decision has ramifications for everyone.

And the most important consequence of the decision on synchronicity has to do with the award of credit - at least in high school. Traditionally, but perhaps not effectively, credit in high school has been awarded based on the Carnegie Unit.

The Carnegie unit is a system developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that based the awarding of academic credit on how much time students spent in direct contact with a classroom teacher. The standard Carnegie unit is defined as 120 hours of contact time with an instructor—i.e., one hour of instruction a day, five days a week, for 24 weeks, or 7,200 minutes of instructional time over the course of an academic year. [https://www.edglossary.org/carnegie-unit/]

In other words, credit is traditionally awarded based on “seat time.” The thinking of course is based on factory-based education - thinking that the student was an input and the graduate was an employable output. By definition, the Carnegie Unit creates a production mentality in schools.

When education becomes a-synchronous - anytime, anyplace - then the Carnegie Unit looses relevance. It can no longer be measured effectively. Like it or not, a-synchronous education means an end to the validity of time-based educational credits.

Instead a new system of evaluation and assessment must be in place.

An essential question to ponder - What measurable evidence exists to judge educative effectiveness?

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