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I Want My Education My Way: Student Consumerism and the Impact on Higher Education
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I Want My Education My Way: Student Consumerism and the Impact on Higher Education

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The rise of issues such as degree mills, correspondence programs, online courses, transferability and similar accommodations are having an impact on the nature and value of a higher education. This …

The rise of issues such as degree mills, correspondence programs, online courses, transferability and similar accommodations are having an impact on the nature and value of a higher education. This paper explores the motives behind such efforts, and offers guidance and caution for higher education officials seeking to strike the balance between a quality educational experience and convenience for students in a fast-paced, mobile world.

Published in Economy & Finance , Education
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  • 1. I Want My Education My Way: Student Consumerism and the Impact on Higher Education Graham Garner EDLH 734 Trends and Issues in Higher Education
  • 2. Overview
    • What is a University?
    • What Students Wants: Autonomy or Conformity?
    • The Self-Esteem Factor
    • What For-Profits Offer
    • Evidence of Consumer Models
    • Commodification of Higher Education
    • Problems with Commodification
  • 3. What is a University?
    • A university exists to further knowledge, discover truth
    • Practical end is to create good citizens
    • Students are not products
    • “ Doing what it takes to succeed” is not a substitute for true inquiry and honesty
    • Customer model betrays true meaning of a university and instead makes it a degree mill
  • 4. Autonomy v. Conformity
    • A college education provides a conformist lifestyle
    • Brand of independence relying on conformity
    • Students expect a relatively struggle-free life because of their degree
    • We turn to pop culture and self to make learning interesting or relevant
    • This compromises giving students what they actually need to obtain what they want
    • She wonders if boredom is actually fear; students are overwhelmed
  • 5. The Self-Esteem Factor
    • University as theme park
    • Degree equates to validation as a human
    • Everyone expected to go to college
    • Students don’t care about academic learning
    • Multiculturalism is an example of diversity as a commodity
  • 6. What For-Profits Offer
    • Need
      • Career
      • Less academic, more practical
      • “ just-in-time” designed for working adults
      • Lack of extracurricular
    • Speed
      • Nimble
      • Scope
    • Ease
      • Flexible delivery
      • Learning is more hands-on
  • 7. Commodification of Higher Education
    • Consumer model removes faculty from shaping curriculum, standards and pedagogy
    • Values economic capital over academic capital
    • Makes instructor the commodity-producer and the student the consumer
    • Creates relationship of opposing interests
  • 8. Problems with Commodification
    • Hierarchy protects upper levels, hurts lower levels
    • Higher-level thinking for lower-level recitation
    • Puts more value on head count
    • Faith, trust and risk-taking removed from process
    • True disciplinary excellence requires time, persistence and hard work
    • Erosion of traditional disciplinary boundaries in favor of portability and transferability
  • 9. References
    • Boretz, E. (2004, Spring). Grade inflation and the myth of student consumerism. College Teaching , 52 (2), 42-46.
    • Cochrane, C. (2000, February). The Reflections of a Distance Learner 1977-1997. Open Learning , 15 (1), 17-34.
    • Germain, M., & Scandura, T. (2005, March). Grade Inflation And Student Individual Differences as Systematic Bias in Faculty Evaluations. Journal of Instructional Psychology , 32 (1), 58-67.
    • Gottfried, P. (2002, Spring). About Consumerist Education. Academic Questions , 15 (2), 53.
    • Harris, M. (2006, July). Out out, damned spot: General education in a market-driven institution. JGE: The Journal of General Education , 55 (3/4), 186-200.
    • Howard-Vital, M. (2006, January). The Appeal of For-Profit Institutions. Change , 38 (1), 68-71.
    • Kantrowitz, B. (2006, October 9). Is Your College a Lemon?. Newsweek , 148 (15), 58.
    • Kingsbury, A. (2005, January 17). Hot on the trail of academic fraud. U.S. News & World Report , 138 (2), 76-76.
    • Lumadue, R. (2006, July). When Graduate Degrees Prostitute the Educational Process: Degrees Gone Wild. Christian Higher Education , 5 (3), 263-278.
    • Naidoo, R., & Jamieson, I. (2005, May). Empowering participants or corroding learning? Towards a research agenda on the impact of student consumerism in higher education. Journal of Education Policy , 20 (3), 267-281.
    • Potts, M. (2005, June). The Consumerist Subversion of Education. Academic Questions , 18 (3), 54-64.
    • Whitney, B. (2003, September). Combating consumerism in the writing classroom. Critical Quarterly , 45 (3), 104.