Virtual Education: Tool for liberal or humanist values?
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Virtual Education: Tool for liberal or humanist values?






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Virtual Education: Tool for liberal or humanist values? Virtual Education: Tool for liberal or humanist values? Presentation Transcript

  • TECHNOLOGY, KNOWLEDGE & SOCIETY , 2005 Alexandra Bal Maison des Sciences de l’Homme de Paris Nord, France New Media Program, Ryerson University, Toronto Virtual Higher Education: A Liberalist or Humanist Socialization Tool ?
  • Introduction
    • Many claim that information and communication technologies (ICT) have the potential to improve the quality of learning and teaching.
    • At the core of the discourse is the promotion of Post-Industrial and Knowledge Based societal models “ The shift into distributed learning represents key challenges for post-secondary education. Digital technologies and pedagogies can support new literacies, learning styles and abilities to prepare students for "learning a living" in the New Economy .” Robert Luke, Nexus conference 2005
  • Post-industrial societal model
    • Learning becomes an economic growth factor
      • The economy is based on
        • innovation and
        • a global market
    • Based on neo-management methods :
      • changes in the workplace organisational models
      • Cooperation and reciprocity replace hierarchy and coordination
  • Skill development
    • Develop new types of human and cultural capital
    • “ (…) it is clear that employers expect university graduates to be proficient in a range of advanced skills, such as leadership and creativity . Learner-centred approaches can help facilitate students' development of advanced skills while they master the knowledge within their chosen fields”, Professor Fred Evers, Director, Centre for Educational Research & Assessment, University of Guelph. Nexus 2005 speaker
      • Creativity is crucial to innovation
      • Leadership is based on Interpersonal communication
  • Education has to adapt
    • Advance personalized learning skills that increase new individual aptitudes :
      • Problem solving, “learning to learn”
    • Promote learners’ autonomy  for creativity
    • Social context for learning  for leadership )
  • The constructivism framework
    • Since constructivist practices emphasize the enhancement of
      • a learner’s autonomy
      • A social context of learning
    • They are currently considered central to reform as they can better prepare “students for "learning a living" in the New Economy .”
  • Technology as a solution
    • ICT are seen as a means to improve the quality of education : Can facilitate the introduction of constructivist practices in education
      • Personalized diverse student motivations
      • Tools for active learning, inherently learner-centred
      • I ncrease student autonomy in the learning process
      • Virtual communities = students can learn within a social context
  • The paradoxes of practice
    • 1) P edagogical principles are not often present in new higher education large scale technological applications .
    • The learner’s autonomy is assumed to be pre-existent , while it needs to be fostered (Linard, 2000)
    • The conceptual framework of many educational application often neglects the mental work required from the user and the gradual learning curve of the processes.
    • The time virtual communication require from faculty and students is not taken in consideration.
    • 2) Few scientific evaluation of innovation can be found
    • Most of content analysis is limited to students discussions not the whole course
    •  the educational process is not central
  • A broader context for innovation
    • If the educational process is not central to these innovations, w hat is? The significance of educational innovations can not be appreciated by a simple analysis of their pedagogical scope. By broadening the analysis spectrum to take into consideration socio-economic contexts, implicit stakes of innovations’ implementation in education become apparent (Combès 02).
  • Socio-economic analysis of higher education innovation
    • Incorporat ing actors’ strategies to the analysis of educational experiments , it is noticed that:
      • They regroup actors possessing diverging industrial and pedagogical objectives (Tremblay, 1998)
      • Virtualisation of learning is a manifestation of a certain re-industrialisation of education (Moeglin, 1999)
      • In this context, a learner’s autonomy can be a means to justify the priority given to the development of industrial learning technologies (Combès 2004)
      • Today: experimentation= large scale Implementation (live testing)
  • 1. Actors strategies
    • Actors with diverging objectives need to collaborate to evaluate potential implementation methodologies and usage of educational innovation (Tremblay, 1998) in a “non market” environment
    • External actors use education as a testbed before marketing their products to larger markets .
      • An educational institution = mini society, mini market  simulate the profession
      • If technology becomes part of students professional habitus, a market share can potentially be secured
    • Internal actors are animated by different ideologies test and/or try to implement their different social reproduction objectives that promote non dominant values
  • 2. Industrialisation of education
    • Industrialisation = a systematic rationalisation of production practices aimed at enhancing the efficiency of a system . Also refers to the existence of a productivity and profitability tendency within a given organizational structure (Tremblay, 1998) .
    • In North America, as early as 1876, an industrialisation process becomes intertwined with a process of technologisation of education. (Berger, 1982, p.96)
      • Technologisation participates to the transformation of the education system into a production system that corresponds to industrial notions of efficiency and productivity.
      • This system is build according to taylorian and behaviorists standards of production.
    • Universities’ educational mandates are amalgamated with industrial ones (Berger, 82).
  • Industrial models specific to education
    • Higher Education industrial models are not the same as for profit models.
      • Human relationships = service industries models
      • Disseminates culture and publicly funded = cultural industries models
      • - “ Mutualisation practices ” : social interactions and actions and reaction between producers and users, which are not marketable (Grevet, 2002), unique to education
  • The relationship of pedagogy to industrial models
    • According to Boltanski & Chiappello (01)
    •  Pedagogy methodologies tend to mirror the industrial processes of a specific time
    • Behaviorism= 2nd phase of liberal capitalism (50s)
      • Liberal society = Competition is at the source of progress
      • Economy = mass production and distribution of standardized goods
      • CEO is in control of passive Worker  autonomy of action but not thoughts
      • Learning by objectives  work in a large institution’s hierarchy
    • Cognitivism = rise of a 3rd phase of capitalism more humanistic in nature (70s-90s)
      • Active society = Cooperation and reciprocity = principal factor of progress Economy= Innovation Manager in control of Innovative Worker  autonomy of action and thoughts
      • Active learning, user-centred learning  increase innovation potential
  • 3. human-centred models key to reform
    • New phase of industrialization in education
    • The introduction of electronic systems often comes with a desire to create a new separation and articulation between production and diffusion functions (Moeglin 98).
    • Neo-industrial phase= Self-service model
  • Self-service model
    • Shift towards self-service  requires hyper-autonomous consumers and workers
    • Constructivism = rise of a 4 th phase of capitalism
      • Neo-liberal society = Coopetition : Cooperation and reciprocity (humanist) coexist with hierarchy and coordination (liberal)
      • Economy= Self-service ICT mediate Workers-client relationships = self-controlled, internalised a set values, autonomy of action and thoughts and ability to operate in a social network
      • Human -centred learning  working in networks
  • Global neo-industrial trend based on local norms
    • The introduction to ICT is a global phenomenon that takes different form in different societies  the local situation defines the nature and degree of evolution of the system
  • Hypothesis
    • Technology, not learning, is central to large scale ICT implementation in Ontario universities.
    • Human-centered methodologies are prerequisites to the reindustrialisation of learning processes. They are simultaneously essential
    • To a neo-industrial process based on user-centred products adaptable to a diverse client/learner base.
    • To a mutualisation process where massification of education continues to position human interactions at the core of the educational process
  • Our field of study
    • By analysing the implementation of blackboard in an Canadian university, we are trying to apprehend
      • the values assigned to e-learning as a pedagogical, industrial and social tool.
    • While our actors all consider ICT important to reform, their individual professional bias motivates conflicting and incompatible social and ideological finalities.
  • The Ontario context
    • Between 1995 to 2003, Ontario universities have experience reduction in public funding of more than $ 1.8 billion to undergraduate programs  must elimitate redundancies, cut backs and find new revenues
    • Double cohort : a massification process
    • Students number are increasing while teacher number decrease (T-S ratio: 16:1 in 94, 27:1 to 100:1 in 2004)
  • An Ontario University use of blackboard
    • A project internal to a school regrouping various university actors testing blackboard as a portal:
    • University administration : unified portal for access to all educational, administrative and commercial services, centralized and standardized inscription and content management system
    • Distance education : Unified interface to all their pay per use products (virtual content + access to teacher for q&a and grading)
    • Undergraduate programs : Unified system of management of massified education: houses content and course management tools, news and communication and hypermediated courses
  • Three levels of analysis
    • We analysed three aspects of the actors logics:
    • Pedagogical: Their conflicting theoretical positions affect how autonomy is to be translated in the application
    • Socio-economical: some actors support knowledge globalization others active society processes, which fuels their conflicting definitions of autonomy.
    • Industrial : All looking for a way to standardize active learning, they rationalize the use of incompatible educational forms.
  • 1. Pedagogical logics
    • Paradoxal use of the concept of autonomy and community : defined as a constructivist concept but utilized within a behaviorist or cognitive framework.
    • Conflicting objectives of the virtual system : conflicting views as the system’s infrastructure and management of content (centralized or localized)
  • Conflicting views: Learning as conditionment or bricolage
  • Conflicting views: Learning as conditionment or bricolage
  • Discursive views: Learning as both conditionment or bricolage
  • Opposite system design principles
  • Opposite system design principles
  • Hybrid Design
  • Obstacles
      • The user’s autonomy is no longer an objective of the learning process but assumed to be pre-existent
      • Learning is considered to be equivalent to the mechanical structure of the information and communication system. Priority is given to the structural , not the relational , aspects of learning.
      • Untrained labour deal with communication
  • 2 . socio-economical references
    • Why are actors interested in a technical system that does not necessarily enhance learning?
      • The analysis of actor’s social and economical references reveal that the social mutation they envision can not exist without a virtual educational system.
  • ICT= solutions to financial problems
    • For administrators: Virtualization of learning allows service liberalization in education  new revenues
    • For educators: Massification of education needs to be dealt with (how to do more with less)
      • Chance to introduce new objectives to education but different ideologies fuel the changes
  • Global versus Active society
  • Global versus Active society
  • Global versus Active society
  • 3. Industrial logics: Standardization of knowledge or of tools?
    • Three type of standardization are present:
      • Information “push”: Creation of standards educational products for a segmented market
      • Information “pull” : Creation of standards educational “ dialogical” and informational tools for personalized educational experiences
    • Digital campus: self-service portal
      • Digital Resources : aggregation of varied forms of content (courses, tools, news, tutorials, surveys)
      • Customized Services : aggregation of library, courses, management of admin and courses, purchases, course assistance
  • Production chain
  • Production chain
  • Production chain
  • Rationalization of teaching
    • In all cases:
    • Teacher s become content producer
    • Their relationship to students decreases, direct contact assumed by untrained labour or mass email lists
    • Their role in the learning process becomes oriented towards information processing.
    • The control of the learning process goes to other players (tutors, external experts, machine), rarely the student
    •  The pre-existing autonomy of the user becomes an important predefining element of virtualisation
  • Outcome
    • A shift in definition of teaching =
      • an evolution of the current system
      • and/or a response to the need of new markets based on educational products.
    • Admin and undergraduate : Evolutionist approach
      • Admin: re-industrialisation of bureaucracy
      • Undergraduate: virtualisation of mutualisation practices
    • Distance education : Materialistic approach
      • New markets for educational products to be commercialized on an international scale.
      • This potential of market opening depends largely on the editorialisation and commercialisation of educational content.
  • Which logic dominates?
    • Positioning technology at the heart of the educational system allows to ignore ideological difference of actors.
    • Actors implicitly giv e priority to economical not social objectives.
      • Admin: Need to render the bureaucracy more efficient
      • Undergrad: Need to decrease production and usage cost,a ccomodate mass classes
      • Distance ed: Need to create an environment adaptable to many disciplines.
    • Various logics co-exists, but system give priority to management of learning not to learning itself
    • Educational applications are not of quality : no resources allocated to their production and evaluation.
      • Evolutionist approach: teachers will better content over time
  • Conclusion
    • The wish to the see education respond to today’s societal needs requires it’s technologisation.
    • An economical, not pedagogical, framework tries to legitimize the technologisation of knowledge.
    • The fact that learning is not the central preoccupation to these projects, explains the existence of pedagogical inconsistencies :
      • Non existence of highly promoted active learning methods , too difficult to standardize
      • Use of constructivist discourse without its pedagogical framework helps to facilitate the introduction of self-service in education
  • Learner centered practices
    • Permits to introduce a rationalised production of electronic educational resources which allows a reduction in the cost of direct human relations (between the teacher and students).
    • Permits to reduce the time a teacher spend in front of a class in order to increase the time that this individual spends producing electronic based teaching material such as
      • self paced learning modules or
      • online tutorials or
      • educational experiences designs.
    • Paradoxe : T he mandate of the present educational system is to develop the intellectual autonom y of the learner . Within a virtual educational system, the learner`s autonomy needs to be pre-existent. What will the university educational mandate become?
    • If we move towards a virtual system where teachers are no longer directly involve in students ’ learning process , who will become responsible for th eir autonomi s ation and with what consequences?