Opening Up Higher Education against the Policy Backdrop of the ‘Knowledge Economy’ – Navigating the Conflicting Discourses
Once again I find myself wishing people would record their conference sessions - even an audio recording would be far better than slides, padlet and an outline. And this looks like an interesting one. While I don't believe counting words will lead us to a deep understanding of the discourse, it nonetheless points us in some interesting directions, and that's what happens here with this discussion of the discourse around open education. The paper asks, "to what extent does the Discourse of groups arguing for a market-driven approach to higher education overlap with, or diverge from, that of groups who are seeking to open up education?" It's a question I wrestle with. Market principles are very similar to network principles, and yet market principles are subject to failures where the poor and vulnerable are most impacted. So the way we talk about open education is an important indicator of whether or not we think this is a problem. I do - I think it's the problem.
"One aspect of connectivism that has great potential for development is the role of the artifact in learning," writes George Siemens. "he web had its velveteen rabbit moment and became real to people who had previously been unable to easy share their creative artifacts. Eventually we were blessed with the ugly stepchildren of this movement (Twitter, Facebook) that enabled flow of creative artifacts but in themselves where not primarily generative technologies." Quite so. This has been one of the aspects oif the internet that has always fascinated me. It represents an explosion of creativity. We haven't seen the end yet. "Change is happening, often under the radar of enthusiasts because it’s harder to sell a technology product or draw clicks to a website when being nuanced and contextual."
I like the idea of a 'patchbook', which draws on the idea of a quilt, in which each contribution is distinct, as opposed to a wili, where the contributions are melded into a single whole. In this patchbook 26 authors create "a quasi-textbook about pedagogy for teaching & learning in college. Each patch of the quilt/chapter of the book will focus on one pedagogical skill and be completed and published by an individual faculty member." There are some good momements, for example, George Fogarasi saying "friends don't grade friends" or Katrina Van Osch-Saxon pleading "for educators to re-think the need for students to memorize all of the pertinent basic knowledge in a course."
The reference to Equifax is just a little priming for the search engines; this story has nothing to do with data leaks (there's a well-worn strategy called 'streaming' in blog writing where you follow in the wake of popular stories to catch a little of the search traffic; I'm not a fan). The article tracks a fictitious student through a surveilled school. Every movement is tracked, every interaction is logged. The question is, what will we do with this data? "You are making predictions like, ‘Johnny has a 95 percent chance that he is going to commit plagiarism. He hasn’t done it yet, but we will go in there and intervene now.’"
This is a great short article, and you won't need to understand any math (or biology) to comprehend the significance. Even more important, the core questions asked by mathematician-naturalists are also core questions in knowledge and learning:
- How similar can something be to a tiger, before it is a tiger?
- How much of a tiger do I have to see before I can say 'There is a tiger’ ?
In the article this is depicted as a question of classification and categories (and by implication, set theory and the foundations of logic) but when I look at these questions I see them as being about rcognition. We in the fields of knowledge and education ask, "what creates the concept of 'tiger' in people", and "how do they know when they're seen one?"
This is video from the 2nd World OER Congress, now in progress, subtitled, "OER for Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education: From Commitment to Action." As Indrajit Banerjee opens the 'Ljubljana OER Action Plan' session: "For a knowledge society to become reality, there should be shared information." As Cathy Casserely summarizes, there are two key dimensions: equalizing access to informatiuon across the world, and improving teaching and learning. These days, there's more of an emphasis on the second, which makes sense given the institutional focus. I'm still more interested in the first. See also, from the OER Knowledge Cloud, the five regional consultations on OER leading to summit: Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East & North Africa.
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