Credentialing and accreditation are crucial features of every education system. Schools certify both students and knowledge: The high school diploma and the college degree are widely recognized standards by which graduates are sorted into jobs and other social positions; named and elaborated academic programs are how societies formally ensure that certain skills and knowledge are reproduced over time.
The credentialing system that currently obtains in the US developed as a series of independently negotiated compacts between particular schools sharing similar prestige and status. They were, essentially courtesy agreements that are now being challenged by seismic changes to the political economy of US higher education. How should credentialing happen in education’s digital future?