You are so right to mention validation and institutional constraints! When I was writing Foundation Degree & BA courses, the most stressful time came during validation, when the “Clash of the Titans” came – that of academia vs industry. We were often forced into the safe assessment option of an essay, when actually a group project or portfolio (peer assessed by industry stakeholders and fellow students) would better prepare the person and the learner as one.
Online learning is having to fit into the safe and traditional assessment model, and yet online horizons are so much wider than red brick walls that have enshrined learning as we know it.
With all the changes in education somebody somewhere is going to have to realise that the traditional assessments (and indeed the study models) are going to have to change, and let’s hope it will happen sooner rather than later. There’s a great interest in this, but many academics are scared to stick their head above the parapet, lest the Head of Faculty blows it off!