IPT Seminar

My idea for an Open Study Guide Platform: IPT Seminar Oct 16th

This post is connected with IPT 690, a graduate seminar course in Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University.

This past week in our IPT seminar, we had a special event.  This is called the Hyde Park Soapbox.  The premise (I’m assuming) is based upon Mormon missionaries that used to preach upon boxes in Hyde Park in London.  In our iteration, volunteer IPT students get 4 minutes to talk about a particular theory, idea, or other rant that they might have.  While, there were many excellent presentations by other students, I wanted to spend a little time and talk about my presentation.

The genesis for my idea came while reading Opening up Education, in one of the chapters Clifford Lynch in speaking about internet-based learning resources says:

“The complex and uneven nature of the available corpus of information is very challenging to the isolated and self-directed learner…Some of these problems could be addressed, fairly inexpensively, by developing and maintaining high-quality, carefully reviewed study guides to various subjects and disciplines.”

Based upon this, I had an idea to create an open repository of study guides around several subjects.  These study guides would be crowdsourced, hopefully by professionals who are engaged in work related to topics.  Study guides would be broken down into outcomes, and the experts would post resources that they felt drove students toward particular outcomes. Community members would then upvote and downvote individual study aides in order to determine their validity in driving students toward their goal.

The purpose is to somehow corral the wealth of formal and informal learning resources that are available on the web, and put them into a sequence that would help the novice learner proceed through them in a somewhat linear fashion.  I’ve been amazed at the amount of more formal learning environments that have been popping up on the web.  Many of these sites are attempting to teach students how to code (Codecademy, Code School, General Assembly’s Dash), but these types of solutions are unlikely to permeate every discipline.  I think that a resource like the one I have described, could fill the gap for a while.

Where resources don’t exist, I would like to see OER authoring tools utilized to capture some of that knowledge to share with informal learners.

Ultimately, I would like to see this fit into the ecosystem of alternative credentialing.  As students complete a course of study they could upload an artifact showing that they had achieved specific outcomes.  Community members would somehow certify this artifact, and a badge, or other credential could be given.

I’m not particularly sure how I would build this infrastructure at this point, but its something that I would like to work on over the next few years.  If anyone has any ideas, please contact me, as I would love to talk more about it.

IPT Seminar

IPT Seminar Oct 9th: IPT Student Awards

This post is connected with IPT 690, a graduate seminar course in Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University.

On October 9th, we heard from the winners of this years best research paper, best teaching assistant, and best student project.

First up was David Dean, who won best student project for the year.  His project was MandaClu, a mandarin Chinese translation web app which David built.  I was amazed at the execution on this project, and while there wasn’t great UX or UI to the project, I was really amazed that a student could pull off a project of that complexity.  David’s justification for the project was well thought out, and his reasoning really spoke to the many different uses that a person can take with the app.  The app can be found at

The second presentation was from Dan Randall, who spoke of the digital badges project that he has been working on in conjunction with IPT 286.  While I have heard Dan talk about this project in several different venues, it was nonetheless good to hear more about his justification for the project.  While I am really all about alternative credentialing, I’m still not sure if badges are the model that can be taken seriously by businesses and colleges.  I would love to see this same concept re-framed as something else — something that is closer to a traditional degree/certificate/credential.

The last speaker was Bryce Bunting, a PhD student who has been doing research around peer mentoring at the undergraduate level.  While that’s not a particularly interesting area for me, he did discuss legitimate peripheral participation, which is a learning theory that I have a lot of interest in.  I think this is something that I would like to look more into — particularly in its application in workforce education.