CCK08 Week 8: Validity

For me, the most interesting topic of this week is the assessment and assurance of validity and credit. In the context of connective knowledge, it bears major challenges.

  • The traditional practice of assessments is largely shaped by a measurability delusion and the simple belief in determinable truths and collectable facts that has no room for complex patterns of weak ties.
  • Similarly problems are apparent with traditional citation practice which tries to guarantee validity by building on well-supported papers of a certain level and size, that, in turn, inherit their credibility by the same constrained citation practice. However, relevant ideas that incrementally emerge from microcontent and grow by means of the subtle mutual influence of multiple authors, cannot be tracked like this. Some authors, such as Efimova, acknowledge the difficulty of proper attribution. Sometimes a major influence is contested. And most journal papers never cite blogs articles, at all.

Traditional assessments and citations alike, are flawed in this context. I think a possible reason is that validity assurance is overly messed up with prestige-laden ranking considerations.

In my opinion, a connectivist credit practice would keep proven means for validity assurance but would have to find new ways for grading, and more flexible ways for attribution of ideas.

  • Ranking (beyond passed/ failed decisions about whether somebody has become capable of doing some responsible job) could be performed by the open assessments suggested by Siemens, if the examinee seeks so.
  • Attribution to ideas “from the cloud” would require less formal procedures allowing for less precise, but more honest statements about who influenced an author.

The rest is about the week’s other topics (and may be omitted).

In this week, I found the number of conceptual facets much larger than in the previous weeks, and so it was even more interesting to connect them. Reviewing my countless notes, however, I see that I grew less connections among these facets than associations of topics outside this week’s scope (and these latter ties are still too weak and vague to summarize them.)

So I somewhat neglected the major areas of this week’s scope. One of these was the aspect of power in organizational structures, which was the main theme from my readings (chapter 3, Towards a theory of government, chapter 13 Organizing for success, and the 5th estate paper): Although they included interesting ideas, such as the relationships to markets, transaction costs of information, or trust and reciprocity, they were too absctract to convince me during the quick skimming.

I also neglected the extensive discussions of direct power in the classroom. I understand that this is very relevant for the practitioners, but I heard so much good intentions during the Wednesday’s and Friday’s session that I am confident they will find an agreeable way to handle their power in any context.

That’s why I focussed on the idea of long-term or more indirect control (particularly via objectives and assessments). Since the naive idea of a tight coupling between a curriculum and the student’s future success, has already been discussed in the complexity week, this lead me to the questions related to validity above.

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