Shari's EdCreds idea is brilliant and it reminds me of similar concepts being used in HSA (Health Savings Accounts) and frequent flier programs. As with points-based initiatives, the reality of having to build and manage a platform and database can be very daunting. With proper funding and execution, I imagine a website or app where users can keep track of their EdCreds, connect with other EdCreds users, get community EdCreds alerts, challenge their peers, RSVP to EdCreds events, etc. The possibilities are really endless. And before I get too excited, the other obstacle I foresee would be around getting universities to accept EdCreds and participate in it year after year. We hear a lot about educational budget cuts nowadays and for universities to participate in this program by accepting EdCreds in exchange for scholarships or tuition discounts, it may be too much to ask. We therefore have to find a way for EdCreds to become a win-win situation for students as well as educational institutions. For now, I'm not sure how to approach this particular obstacle. Now that I have that off my chest, allow me to rattle off some ideas for EdCreds...
- What if we take the EdCreds concept and apply it within the university merit scholarship system? Beyond the work hours allotted for the federal work-study program, scholars can look up other university sanctioned work/volunteer/event opportunities that will allow them to earn EdCreds. Credits earned by the scholars can then be used for discounts on books and dormitories, food subsidies, etc.
- Professors can also join the EdCreds program as a volunteer. They can "donate" by teaching 1 class per semester pro bono and the university then deposits a certain amount of EdCreds per course unit. The volunteering Professor can build up his/her pool of EdCreds and choose a scholar that he/she would like to sponsor by transferring EdCreds from the pool to his/her chosen scholar's EdCred account. This idea can be expanded by having university departments pool together their credits.
- What if regular students can also participate in EdCred sharing? Students can sign up for work to earn EdCreds and donate the points to their scholar peers. This would be a wonderful opportunity for students to build meaningful connections in the university.
- What if companies can be convinced to require students to earn X number of EdCreds to be considered for internship opportunities?
There are a couple more ideas on my notepad but I think this short list suffices for now.
Shari, if you read this, it would be wonderful to get your feedback. Maybe you can also share with us ideas/comments that you've received from people that you've socialized the EdCreds idea with. Thanks!