Degreed and the Facebook Login conundrum

door with light
I was reading David Wiley’s post on the beta release of Degreed this morning, when I was inspired to create this post. Degreed is a new startup that promises to “jailbreak your degree” by allowing an individual to build a more comprehensive dashboard of their education, incorporating official academic transcripts, work experience, MOOCs, and more. There’s a tremendous amount happening in the space of profiles, personal dashboards and badges in education, and the screenshots looked cool, so I excitedly clicked over to check out the service. I was greeted with a big, Login with Facebook, and instead of clicking that big blue button, I opened another tab and started this post.

Why? I distrust facebook. I use facebook, sparingly, but have felt that historically they’ve been playing a shell game with my privacy. You might say, “privacy’s dead” and I might agree with you. You might say, “I trust Facebook more than Google” and that’s fine too. I recognize that others distrust Google, Apple, Twitter, Insert Company Name Here. My issue with the Degreed beta isn’t that it has a Facebook login option, it’s that it’s the only option. There’s something funny about the idea that your degree is being liberated but you’re being locked into a single authentication method. Hopefully this will change, as I’m sure that the Degreed team is building something that I see as a great need: accounting, documenting and vouching for a lifetime of learning. I also understand from Wiley’s post that the likely reason for the facebook option is that part of the initial setup up of Degreed involves understanding a user’s education history, and that this is accomplished by scraping education data from facebook, but I would rather give you that information on my own. How do you feel about the Connect/Log In with facebook option?

MOOC Intervention

Knowledge will make you free

I have a problem.

You know the old saying about your eyes being larger than your stomach? My thirst for new knowledge is larger than the capacity of my brain. This has become apparent to me as I recently took stock of the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) I’ve signed up for. I’m enrolled in 5 courses that are currently running, and a couple more that are supposed to start in the next few weeks, and those are just the courses that I’m taking through . When you add a course Udacity, the edtech startup MOOC that I’ve been guiltily ignoring, the two I just signed up for via Stanford’s venturelab and a course at edX, there’s no way that on top of the four seven week classes (2 at a time) that I’m taking this fall as part of my MBA curriculum that I’ll make it through all of them (or any). One could say, and I’d agree with them, that I’ve bit off more than I can chew, but when you’re in this free store of information, it’s hard to say no.

Despite my addiction and the strong likelihood that I falter along the way, I’m trying to stay on top of my quizzes, my assignments, my peer grading and videos/readings. The time I’ve spent in these courses has been been both fascinating and frustrating. There are some truly adventurous and engaging faculty (Finance complete with Star Wars/Lord of the Rings references anyone?) looking to share their expertise and knowledge and a global population that is eager to learn, connect and collaborate. At the same time, as you try to manage a discussion board with thousands of participants, it’s easy to feel that you are just part of a herd being shepherded from course to course. All of the players in this space are students as well, learning as they go, and adjusting on the fly.  As I try to deal with this overload over the coming months, I’ll capture MOOC moments to celebrate as well as challenges I encounter, and encourage you, dear reader, to weigh in with your own thoughts.