Showing Teachers They Matter

Angela Maiers, Dec 13, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There's a certain set of people that believe awards are important in recognizing contributions to a discipline. And I agree that the recognition is important. But far more often, the recognition isn't the main focus of the award; usually it's to market a brand and to support the promotion of a certain business objectives. A good example of this is the university ranking system, which tries to encourage universities to raise tuition, have smaller classes, and limit enrolment. In the current case, we have nominations being used. Other awards use nominations and voting. In cases where there are nominees competing for the prize, the sole purpose of the award is to co-opt the nominees into vocally endorsing the organization promoting the prize. Real awards don't need to do this. You know - like the Nobels, which will not tell you who is being considered, in order to avoid crass publicity and campaigning. 

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