So far I feel that the PLENK discussions of PLEs assume that students are actually trying to learn something rather than just get credit on their transcripts. The discussion has centered around ways of knowing if a student has some knowledge. How about if there are some students who show no understanding or misunderstanding? We might want to be bias-free, values-free in our assessment, but how about students who are just plain goofing off, gaming the system, etc? I work with institutions that give credit for having completed a course of study. I work with institutions that give certifications. There seems to be an assumption that if students are learning what they'd like to learn, they will do a good job. However I've seen people in courses that they elected to do, have no obligation to do other than being self-motivated - and just not doing anything much at all. Maybe they really want to learn auto mechanics. Then why did they sign up for this other course? No coercion! Totally self-induced! But... no evidence that they gave anything other than a superficial glance at the course content. That's what they wanted to get out of the course - Ok - That's their business - but what about grades? What if I can't tell that they learned? Oh well, this may have nothing to do with the PLE discussions at all. I'm feeling frustrated with some student work that I've seen lately.
Rita Kop wrote this interesting post about formal learners
This week (October 18 - October 24) there's a whole bunch of things going on at the same time: Open Access Week at Athabasca University, the NMC Symposium for the Future, two PLENK Elluminate sessions, a workshop that I have to present with a colleague, an online book talk where I also have to be present... an online instructor's meeting that's not until Saturday thank goodness... There's going to be some picking and choosing going on!