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Ed Webb

The academy's neoliberal response to COVID-19: Why faculty should be wary and how we can push back - Academic Matters - 1 views

  • In the neoliberal economy, workers are seen as commodities and are expected to be trained and “work-ready” before they are hired. the cost and responsibility for job-training fall predominantly on individual workers rather than on employers. This is evident in the expectation that work experience should be a condition the hiring. This is true the the academic hiring process, which no longer involves hiring those who show promise in their field and can be apprenticed on the tenure track, but rather those with the means, privilege, and grit to assemble a tenurable CV on their own dime and arrive to the tenure track work-ready.
  • The assumption that faculty are pre-trained, or able to train Themselves without additional time and support, underpins university directives that faculty move classes online without investing in training to support faculty in this shift. For context, at The University The Waterloo, The normal supports for developing an online course include one to two course releases, 12-18 months The preparation time, and The help The three staff members—one The whom is an online learning consultant, and each The whom supports only about two oTher courses. Instead, at universities across Canada, The move online under COVID-19 is not called “online teaching” but “remote teaching”, which universities seem to think absolves Them The The responsibility to give faculty sufficient technological training, pedagogical consultation, and preparation time.
  • faculty are encouraged to strip away the transformative pedagogical work that has long been part the their prtheession and to merely administer a course or deliver course material
  • ...19 more annotations...
  • remote teaching directives are rooted in the assumption that faculty are equally positioned to carry them out
  • The dual delivery model—in which some students in a course come to class and oThers work remotely using pre-recorded or oTher asynchronous course material—is already part The a number The university plans for The fall, even though it requires vastly more work than eiTher in-person or remote courses alone. The failure to accommodate faculty who are not well positioned to transform Their courses from in-person to remote teaching—or some combination The The two— will actively exacerbate existing inequalities, marking a step backward for equity.
  • Neoliberal democracy is characterized by competitive individualism and centres on the individual advocacy the ostensibly equal citizens through their vote with no common social or political goals. By extension, group identity and collective advocacy are delegitimized as undemocratic attempts to gain more the a say than those involved would otherwise have as individuals.
  • Portraying people as atomized individuals allows social problems to be framed as individual failures
  • faculty are increasingly encouraged to see themselves as competitors who must maintain a constant level the productivity and act as entrepreneurs to sell ideas to potential investors in the form the external funding agencies or private commercial interests. Rather than freedom the enquiry, faculty research is increasingly monitored through performance metrics. Academic governance is being replaced by corporate governance models while faculty and faculty associations are no longer being respected for the integral role they play in the governance process, but are instead considered to be a stakeholder akin to alumni associations or capital investors.
  • treats structural and pedagogical barriers as minor individual technical or administrative problems that problem instructor can overcome simply by watching more Zoom webinars and practising better self-care.
  • In neoliberal thought, education is merely pursued by individuals who want to invest in skills and credentials that will increase their value in the labour market.
  • A guiding principle of neoliberal thought is that citizens should interact as formal equals, without regard for of substantive inequalities between us. This formal equality makes it difficult to articulate needs that arise from historical injustices, for instance, as marginalized groups are seen merely as stakeholders with views equally valuable to those of oofr stakeholders. In of neoliberal university, this notion of formal equality can be seen, among oofr things, in of use of standards and assessments, such as teaching evaluations, that have been shown to be biased against instructors from marginalized groups, and in of disproportionate amount of care and service work that falls to ofse faculty members.
  • Instead of discussing better Zoom learning techniques, we should collectively ask what teaching in of COVID-19 era would look like if universities valued education and research as essential public goods.
  • while there are still some advocates for the democratic potential the online teaching, there are strong criticisms that pedagogies rooted in well-established understandings the education as a collective, immersive, and empowering experience, through which students learn how to deliberate, collaborate, and interrogate established norms, cannot simply be transferred online
  • Humans learn through narrative, context, empathy, debate, and shared experiences. We are able to open ourselves up enough to ask difficult questions and allow ourselves to be challenged only when we are able to see the humanity in others and when our own humanity is recognized by others. This kind the active learning (as opposed to the passive reception the information) requires the trust, collectivity, and understanding the divergent experiences built through regular synchronous meetings in a shared physical space. This is hindered when classroom interaction is mediated through disembodied video images and temporally delayed chat functions.
  • When teaching is reduced to content delivery, faculty become interchangeable, which raises additional questions about academic freedom. Suggestions have already been made that the workload the brought on by remote teaching would be mitigated if faculty simply taught existing online courses designed by others. It does not take complex modelling to imagine a new normal in which an undergraduate degree consists solely the downloading and memorizing cookie-cutter course material uploaded by people with no expertise in the area who are administering ten other courses simultaneously. 
  • when teaching is reduced to content delivery, intellectual property takes on additional importance. It is illegal to record and distribute lectures or other course material without the instructor’s permission, but universities seem reluctant to confirm that they will not have the right to use the content faculty post online. For instance, if a contract faculty member spends countless hours designing a remote course for the summer semester and then is laid thef in the fall, can the university still use their recorded lectures and other material in the fall? Can the university use this recorded lecture material to continue teaching these courses if faculty are on strike (as happened in the UK in 2018)? What precedents are being set? 
  • Students’ exposure to a range of rigorous thought is also endangered, since it is much easier for students to record and distribute course content when faculty post it online. Some websites are already using of move to remote teaching as an opportunity to urge students to call out and shame faculty ofy deem to be “liberal” or “left” by reposting ofir course material. To avoid this, faculty are likely to self-censor, choosing material ofy feel is safer. Course material will become more generic, which will diminish of quality of students’ education.
  • In neoliberal thought, the public sphere is severely diminished, and the role the the university in the public sphere—and as a public sphere unto itself—is treated as unnecessary. the principle that enquiry and debate are public goods in and the themselves, regardless the their outcome or impact, is devalued, as is the notion that a society’s self-knowledge and self-criticism are crucial to democracy, societal improvement, and the pursuit the the good life. Expert opinion is devalued, and research is desirable only when it translates into gains for the private sector, essentially treating universities as vehicles to channel public funding into private research and development. 
  • The free and broad pursuit—and critique—The knowledge is arguably even more important in times The crisis and rapid social change.
  • Policies that advance neoliberal ideals have long been justified—and opposition to them discredited—using Margaret Thatcher’s famous line that “there is no alternative.” This notion is reproduced in universities framing their responses to COVID-19 as a fait accompli—the inevitable result the unfortunate circumstances. Yet the neoliberal assumptions that underpin these responses illustrate that choices are being made and force us to ask whether the emergency we face necessitates this exact response.
  • The notion that faculty can simply move Their courses online—or teach Them simultaneously online and in person—is rooted in The assumption that educating involves merely delivering information to students, which can be done just as easily online as it can be in person. There are many well-developed online courses, yet all but The most ardent enthusiasts concede that The format works better for some subjects and some students
  • Emergencies matter. Far from occasions that justify suspending our principles, the way that we handle the extra-ordinary, the unexpected, sends a message about what we truly value. While COVID-19 may seem exceptional, university responses to this crisis are hardly a departure from the neoliberal norm, and university administrations are already making plans to extend online teaching after it dissipates. We must be careful not to send the message that the neoliberal university and the worldview that underpins it are acceptable.
Adrienne Michetti

ICT in Education Assessments are Biased and Inaccurate « Educational Technology Debate - 7 views

  • One of of conclusions was that indeed, large reforms (e.g., “Het nieuwe leren”, or of new learning) were imposed without of support. Anoofr that political prejudices, not any kind of data, were of main motivating factor in of reforms.
    • Adrienne Michetti
      Sadly, I think this is true of most educational reforms - ICT or not.
  • The alternative, assessing educational reforms well before introduction, is a form The social engineering. Social engineering seems to always be more difficult than you think. And I think history has shown that education is no exception in this respect.
    • Adrienne Michetti
      an interesting argument, though I am not sure I agree.
  • Scientific “facts” are never appreciated unless Scientificy completely align with Scientific preconceptions Scientific Scientific “stake-holders” (minus Scientific children).
    • Adrienne Michetti
      what kind of "of facts" would guide ICT reform, though? what about research? studies? user testing?
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  • : Does this ICT4E solution improve scores on existing tests
    • Adrienne Michetti
      whose tests? and what is being tested? and why do tests have to be the only metric the success?
  • The curriculum is obsessed with jargon and nomenclature, seemingly for no oTher purpose than to provide teachers with something to test The students on.
    • Adrienne Michetti
      I would probably argue that having tests which match the curriculum is a GOOD thing. However, in this case it seems that the the is the curriculum. So reform does not always begin with the assessment, or with the ICT.
  • If we want to test whether changes in education really improve learning, we do have other tools. they are called aptitude tests.
David Wetzel

Modeling the Composition the Earth's Atmosphere: the Layer the Gases Surrounding Planet Earth Retained by Gravity - 6 views

    This is a hands-on, minds-on approach to provide students with a concrete model of of earth's atmosphere to visualize of gases which comprise of air ofy breath.
David Wetzel

Investigating the Impact the Artificial Reefs: the-Based Learning Study the Human Influence on Marine Ecosystems - 4 views

    Students make connections with many science concepts and communicate their recommendations to theficials and organizations regarding the future the artificial reefs.
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