Bestr Steering Committee 1/5: Tom Black, Stanford University

Five international education technology evangelists are Bestr's scientific guide. Each of them presents him/herself and his/her vision of the platform.
December 4, 2015

Tom Black is Associate Vice Provost for Student and Academic Services & University Registrar at Stanford University.

Being part of a Steering Committee means contributing, every time that the project moves a step forward, in placing a little bit further the goals and challenges the project wants to face. Bestr wants to change the world of education and skills, in Italy and outside, and this is why I warmly accepted the invitation to be part of it, bringing the wealth of my Stanford experience.

As an observer of the politics of higher education, it is more and more apparent that our previous metrics for evaluating program quality and student success through the measurement of inputs, i.e. number of books in the library, financial resources devoted to instruction, and tenured faculty instructors, is giving way to a more granular and specific recordings of outputs, i.e. specifying what is being learned, showing proficiencies and competencies, and documenting completion.

Bestr is a new platform that is designed to comport with the measurement of outputs by showing evidence of learning.

E-portfolios [where the “e” stands for evidence] and the use of badges to show learning in visually compelling manner are fundamental components of Bestr.

Conceptually, Bestr is the students’ key to success, enabling them to become self-informed and fully acquainted with what they know and how they know.

Bestr is an aspirational name, but it is also the students’ best friend.