Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This is a useful document and a worthwhile initiative, though I would want to make some significant changes. It's based to a large degree on the OECD report on Equity and Quality in Education, which for the most part stresses addressing inequitable outcomes in schools with better quality teachers and instruction (rather than, say, addressing social and economic inequality). What caught my eye in this report was its working of equity in higher education. It consists of three statements all beginning "All students are..." and I would want to change the word 'students' to the word 'people'. Because equity and access begin with the people who are outside the system, not within it.

I appreciate the authors' very necessary focus on systemic racism and the impact of Covid on disadvantaged students, and I don't want to be overly critical, but I feel the recommendations as a whole could be less prescriptive and more empowering, and should include redress of economic inequality. For example, the definition of "accessible materials" should include free and open access resources, the recommendation to "use university and institutional IT department-supported digital technologies" should change 'use' to 'provide' and be refactored to provide choice and ownership, and "a flexible approach to student participation" should again enable choice (some people (like me) like three hour sessions (that's still how I sometimes learn today)).

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Copyright 2020
Last Updated: Oct 20, 2020 10:22 a.m.