– first reaction

I just saw today David Wiley’s week-old post announcing Degreed.   Under the tagline “Jailbreak the Degree” the site seeks to quantify and validate all sorts of learning and provide a real alternative for people seeking to  document it.  I haven’t tried it yet, and it may be a while, as it currently only supports login via Facebook.  Facebook knows enough about me already, and I am determined not to tell it more by linking my Facebook identity to other sites.

It looks as if Degreed hopes to be a Web 2.0 ‘platform’.  That’s scary, The amount of information you would have to give up to the site to create an effective dossier/portfolio would make what Facebook knows about you a jacket blurb compared to an authoritative biography. Here, with all due respect, is how Degreed ought to work.

1. Degreed should be open source software that you can install on a LAMP server.  Those who wish for the additional credibility of a portfolio at can pay for hosting and support.  If they wish, they can hire’s “trained squirrels” (as Wiley puts it) to verify their portfolio.

2.  You should be able, once you have degreed up and running somewhere,  to pay an institution you’ve attended to submit a digitally signed transcript to your degreed instance.

3.  Degreed promises to convert your learning into virtual degree equivalencies and “mastery points”.  I suspect , though I don’t know, that the algorithm which figures out how many mastery points your BA from Somewhere State U. is worth is a big part of the site’s secret sauce.  The algorithm , I believe, has to be made public for the calculation of degree equivalencies and mastery points to be credible.

Degreed brings into focus for me some of the concerns about edupreneurship.  I think what they are trying to do, provide a way for people to bring together, document , and measure all their learning, is a good one; but I can’t help but think that their need to protect the ‘trade secrets’ which are the foundation of their business model will prevent them from being transparent enough to be credible.


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