Friday, November 25, 2011

Capacity Focus, 21: Re-presenting the proposed AA CCS associate degree programme

Having gone through several component parts and new ideas for a few months now, I think it is time to reflect, again, on the proposed AA CCS -- Associate Degree in Arts, Concentration in Caribbean Christian Service [including "Tentmaking" skills] -- cybercampus and microcampus centre based programme.

Programme design, in overview:
The proposed, Caribbean region AA CCS Programme, based on the "Greek Temple" Model, with pillar areas of focus and an integrative capstone project
In summary:
a: By building on one's personal spiritual foundation and secondary education augmented by bridging studies, the first 30+ credits of the AA -- one year full time equivalent -- develops a balanced  framework of five pillar areas of study:  
(i) discipleship, service and leadership in the small/cell group, 

(ii) a street issues view of systematic theology and issues C1 - 21, 

(iii) general studies, Caribbean context & issues, 

(iv) ICT productivity through programing and authoring, 

(v) specific area of tentmaking skills. 
b: A concentration semester and a project semester then complete the other 30+ credits, bulking up the main area of focus and providing an integrative, capstone unit of study. 

c: The underlying curriculum philosophy is the spiral approach, whereby core ideas are identified and are built upon by first introducing these through key case studies, then elaborating and building, step by step in a looped curriculum that uses learning activities clustered on the key themes: 
The Spiral curriculum architecture (cf. details here and here.)
 d: The programme is designed for full or part-time modalities, and can stand on its own as a base for life, work and service under God. 

e: It is also intended to accept major transfer of credits from other programmes of study [such as CAPE and/or degree programmes], so that it can complement qualifications in other areas and/or 

f: provide a tentmaking second qualification for those with another main area of qualification. 

g: The intended implementation is a cyber-campus/cybercollege based main resource (now including a regionally hosted eBook based digital library), coupled to a network of local micro-campus centres, with the main facility being a video teleconferencing capable, computer based multimedia learning centre:
The general design for a Teleconferencing and Multimedia-ready Learning Centre
 h: These microcampus centres can perhaps be based in Church Halls or community centres or partner schools and colleges and supported by locally based educators. 
i: As a complement, there is also an outline proposal for a regionally delivered Diploma in Education (leading onwards to a Masters in Education) that would help build up the capacity of educators across the region:
A suggested Graduate Diploma in Education, leading to a professional Master's degree

  Pulling back our focus a tad, we can set the AA CCS in the context of a pathway to assess and develop the life, service, education and skills base of our region's young people:
A framework for mentoring and developing our youth in life, service, education and skills
 j: Here, we shift focus back to a region where something like 4/5 of the cohort of young people leaving Secondary School in any given year do not meet a reasonable profile of CXC results, Math, English, ICT and a scientific or technical skill, more or less the minimum for being ready for life and work in the C21 world.

k: This is immediately an existential threat for our region: it is simply not sustainable, and we have to fix education, bigtime. 

l: Long term, that probably looks like refactoring the system at the 4th form point into a 3 - 4 yr framework of Senior High School, in which:
(i) students, based on profiling and interests, would do a balanced cluster of studies across several domains: core, breadth and depth areas, the classic Tee-curriculum structure:
 (ii) building up a profile of skills and knowledge leading to a High School Diploma controlled by the local school board and regulated by a network of Ministries of Education across the region,

(iii) augmented -- notice the shift in emphasis away from exams and certificates to portfolios of achievement and competence -- exam body certificates etc., and 

(iv) for those with the academic inclination,  there should be some advanced placement credits at College standard for an Associate Degree or equivalent. [That's where I see CAPE/A level type qualifications heading, a 1-yr CAPE should be seen as a 2-semester AP course.]

(v) I would even look favourably on an approach that would target some subject levels for lower certification, and others, straight off from entry to 4th Form, for Advanced Placement.

(vi) For these, I would do a 1 year prelim course then go straight to AP. Three years to do the equivalent of a strengthened A level looks very good to me, with exams done at three points along the way.
 m:  However, for a long time to come, we will have to deal with a great many young and not so young people who have been passed through the system and are in a position of lacking a balanced portfolio of educational achievements. 

n: Thus, a place for second chance, secondary completion and bridging studies, some of which can also serve as standalone technical/vocational studies for those needing short-course achievable skills, or even as a breadth unit in an Associate.
(Cf here the suggested Java for all course as outlined at CF 16, which could be fitted into a programming for all basic course sequence with "plug-in options." A modified form of the Cambridge Computer Studies course, or their O level Physics course [but pitched at a slightly higher level as a standalone preliminary level college course two-to four semester "service course" non-calculus sequence with various modules and similar "plug-in options"], may also prove useful; now that Cambridge is definitively withdrawing from the Caribbean region, and given how tightly the present CXC system, through the SBA component, is coupled to the school system. The provision of wider areas of study would also be an asset.)
A key platform for all of this is educational computing. 

For that, the rise of the sub-US$ 100 or so educational Tablet PC, and the rise of the Raspberry Pi or other low cost PC's on a card,  will prove crucial.

In short the AA CCS is plainly feasible and arguably desirable.

So, back to the three-pronged question: why not now, why not here, why not us? END

1 comment:

Anne said...

If these classes are offered as having an associates degree online, then no doubt that this would be a hit.