The argument here is that "remote teaching, as it is being implemented, is not the exceptional response that it has been made out to be, nor is it the only option available. Instead, it is the product of choices that reflect and advance the particular view of society that has underpinned the neoliberal restructuring of universities and other institutions over the past several decades." The authors highlight several characteristic assumptions of this neoliberal view, including (quoted):
- faculty are pre-trained, or able to train themselves without additional time and support
- citizens should interact as formal equals, without regard for the substantive inequalities between us (which) makes it difficult to articulate needs that arise from historical injustices
- the move away from the ideal of the university as a public sphere with collective goals of critical enquiry, equality, deliberation, and the pursuit of knowledge
- the ongoing reframing of postsecondary education as an instrumental mode of job training.
- the principle that enquiry and debate are public goods in and of themselves, regardless of their outcome or impact, is devalued
- people as commodities in competition with each other, it acknowledges that some people will simply be left behind and considers this the inevitable result of market competition functioning as it should.
- neoliberal ideals have long been justified—and opposition to them discredited—using Margaret Thatcher’s famous line that “there is no alternative."
This probably requires a longer treatment, along the lines of my discussion of the Learning, Media and Technology editorial earlier this week, but today has been all about getting work done for my day job.