The New York Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Trump Entrepreneur Institute (formerly Trump University) for what it calls blatant lies and misleading information on the value of services it provides. The lawsuit, which calls the initiative a sham (including calling themselves Trump University, showing pictures of certificates, exploring the connections a student can gain through association with the group), seeks $40,000,000 in restitution for individuals who have paid upwards of $35,000 for the opportunity to learn from Mr. Trump in fields such as Real Estate and Business Administration. According to the lawsuit, the workshops, lectures and mentorships through Trump University do not include Mr. Trump, but the one-on-one mentorship programs and support structures, encouraged as an up-sell during the initial three-day seminars, were largely ignored by Trump Entrepreneur Institute’s team of experts, a team which the deposition says was in no way influenced by Mr. Trump. This leaves the situation as a blame game, with customers upset about broken promises and photo ops with a Trump cutout, and Trump alluding to the whole thing as a witch hunt propelled by the Obama administration.
While the allegations against Trump cast him in a felonious light and paint him as a charlatan, I am fixated on a foundational aspect of the story – why would anyone think Donald Trump could teach?
I think competency-based learning is where things are going. Learning unit reduced from courses to competencies.
If he is correct (I believe he is), this has a lot of implication on the things we usually talk about in relationship to MOOCs: economics, the University (and the entire formal education system), the student. We don’t talk as much about the social and cultural role of education (to be fair, we don’t talk about it much these days at all), and we talk less about the role of educators and instructors (except when we question their veracity and effect on measurable metrics). It all ties together though, and if we are looking at competencies, we are looking at a marginalization of the educator (at best). It might help a bottom line, but what effect does it have outside of economics?
Recently I posted about my current research into connectivism and my belief that it is more pedagogial than theoretical. I noted that my understanding of connectivism (something I consider integral to the discussions in #cfhe12) remains limited, and continued field use of the term would help me gain a broader understanding and perhaps come to different conclusions. I didn’t realize such an opportunity would arise so soon as today while caring for my toddler. Continue reading →
I’m still trying to wrap my head around connectivism, the learning theory developed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes that in a lot of ways led to the growth of distance education and the development of MOOCs. At its heart, connectivism is about where content/knowledge/learned stuff exists, and posits that in an interconnected, technologically-robust world, it is as much about how to access the learning opportunity as anything, but inherent to such a model is the notion that technology has systemically changed not only the way knowledge operates, but also the brain itself. Continue reading →
I recently posted a response to a research paper by Terry Anderson which looked at the various modes of interaction across learning platforms and spaces. Among the important and interesting notes was Anderson’s assertion that high quality learning could happen if one of three interactions (student-student, student-teacher or student-content) was of a high quality, regardless of the quality of the other two. Yet in my reading of Anderson’s work, I saw him continue to discuss student-student interactions with great importance, moreso than he gave to student-teacher or student-content. This ties into some existing learning theory popular today, most notably social learning theory (though, to be general, the Canadians like to call it social cognition) via Bandura (and Vygotsky’s social development theory). Continue reading →