7 FutureEd Recap: Neoliberalism and Higher Ed

by Polly Thistlethwaite

Our Valentine’s Day noontime #FutureEd discussion transcended MOOC platform and performance commentary and got on to the topic of neoliberalism and higher education.

See the JustPublics@365 near blow-by-blow captured in Storify mini-documentary format, featuring live tweets from the discussion.

http://storify.com/JessieNYC/futureed-discussion-2-14

As you can tell from the Storify, we identified neoliberal ideas and imperatives that shape and reflect our work in higher education, for example:

  • Return on Investment (ROI) is expected, researchers must demonstrate excellence in a framework that factors in profit
  • Some higher ed initiatives profit while others do not; administrators balance this
  • Higher Ed rewards transcend a likely (or promised) higher salary (and taxable income)
  • Education hides its value; benefits are elusive, unpredictable, uncertain
  • a recent LSE Impact Blog points to the limits of neoliberal argument; the greatest imperative to open access (OA) scholarship isn’t that it will save higher ed $$
  • Is the move to “massify” higher ed necessarily neoliberal?
  • Digitization and OA scholarship has opened medieval studies to new, larger audiences
  • How do we resist the influence of money in higher ed?

Additionally, we circled back a couple times to the multiple choice test, reading the course’s perpetual correct answer “all of the above” as critique of a flawed form.

And, we admired Michael Wesch’s and students’ A Vision of Students Today that crafts a student-reported survey into a cohesive narrative critique of higher ed’s lecture format. Form=content.

A final tip: the free Coursera mobile app offers an additional platform for the course. It’s perfect for watching videos and linking to most readings, but it doesn’t fully support all forum interactivity on all devices.  Download it to experience another MOOC platform and to do your course work on the subway.

Coursera app from iTunes

Coursera app from iTunes

Join us next Friday, 2/21 at noon in the GC Dining Commons (8th Floor) when the word on the street is that Cathy Davidson may, in fact, visit with us in person for our lunchtime chat.

You might also follow the #FutureEd CHE weekly student-centered blog http://chronicle.com/blogs/future/ . This is the first time that we know of that the Chronicle has created a blog for students, inviting the 21st century learners to talk about their experiences with the massive, open, online platform.

Polly Thistlethwaite is Chief Librarian at the Mina Rees Library, of the Graduate Center and co-director of JustPublics@365.

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