At MSU’s Student Success Launch (Monday, September 17, 2018), we, Scott, Heather, and Bill, had the opportunity to present and discuss our thinking and vision for a Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR) at MSU. The CLR (a term used at universities across the nation) is a way to visualize, share, and demonstrate various student learning artifacts in a singular way. Our main attraction to this future state lies in the fact that students make sense of their college experiences in holistic terms, not in the ways we structure and organize our work, even when that work is intended to benefit them in particular.
At Michigan State University, we are currently in the process of developing and piloting a co-curricular record with the purpose of documenting and validating campus learning non-credit campus experiences, like undergraduate research, community-engaged learning, student employment, and leadership development. The middle space between the academic transcript and the co-curricular record represents opportunities for students to integrate their learning in both in- and out-of-class experiences. Some of these learning moments and spaces are formalized already (through achievement tracking, badges, ePortfolios, etc.) and others take the shape of informal career and academic advising conversations.
The potential future model and logical conclusion of this work involves intentionally creating opportunities for student-integrated learning and then documenting the integrated learning experience(s) on a comprehensive learner record. This process deconstructs and reforms formal and informal learning while defying traditional structures of “legitimizing” learning (e.g. as credit-bearing or not). Student artifacts (curated communication pieces) gain institutional legitimacy when all of these learning experiences are documented and validated, and emerging from a comprehensive learner record is a broader representation of how learning is truly happening at an institution.