Fragment: Factory Edjucashun

A not thought out at all fragment that came to mind reading the first few pages of Taiichi Ohno’s Toyota Production System book last night.

First up, if we have open book assessment, then for efficient students motivated solely by accreditation, everything in course material that does not directly help get marks in the assessment is waste. Which made me wonder: to get better coverage of the course material so huge chunks of it aren’t waste in a particular presentation, we should have different assessment for different students that cover the whole of the curriculum over the student body? As to why we don’t do this, I suspect “quality” (standardisation) is the answer: by giving everyone the same assessment, we can get a deviation of marks to find who the good and bad outliers are. And we also get to fiddle the distributions to fix questions, or markers, that didn’t seem to work so well by manipulating the stats…

Secondly, if teaching universities are factories working on the raw material that is a student, what’s the output? A standard product from each course where each student can produce the same function, albeit with a range of tolerances? Or a material tranformation where the same processing or transformation steps have been applied to materials of varying quality (different students with different interests, skills, resources, ability, etc?)

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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