Philosophy of Higher Education


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A one-day workshop for New Academic staff at Cranfield University. Delivered twice: once at Cranfield Campus and once at Shrivenham

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  • Introduce selfBrief the exercise10 minutes for introductions of the tables15 minutes for the aims and objectives15 minutes plenary feedback
  • Philosophy of Higher Education

    1. 1. Cranfield UniversityPGCLTAHE<br />Module 1: Scholarship and Philosophy of <br />Learning and Teaching in Higher Education<br />February 2010<br />George Roberts<br />Oxford Brookes University<br />
    2. 2. Purpose of the day<br />To analyse and reflect critically on Higher Education policy and practice and the explanatory frameworks that underpin policy and practice<br />Consider the “big picture”<br />The bits that aren’t in the “papers”<br />Reflection<br />Peer review<br />Keep getting to know each other: peer group development!<br />
    3. 3. Introductions<br />Introduce yourself and briefly say <br />which School/Service you are with, <br />what you teach or how you support learning<br />Discuss<br />do you have a mentor? (Handbook p. 3)<br />what’s a mentor?<br />
    4. 4. Modular structure<br />
    5. 5. Work Plan/Targets<br />
    6. 6. Activity: ABCD 1<br />Asset based community development (ABCD)<br />Affective recall<br />Describe a time and a place in your life before you came to this job when you felt really energized and creative. Describe that situation to your partner<br />
    7. 7. ABCD2<br />2 pictures<br />
    8. 8.
    9. 9.<br />
    10. 10. Activity<br />In pairs/threes, with chart paper…<br />What [the heck] is “Philosophy of Higher Education”?<br />Discuss, and on the chart paper write one idea, that, for you, is central to this question<br />
    11. 11. Agenda<br /><br />
    12. 12. Agenda<br />
    13. 13. Aims and intended outcomes<br />Intended Learning Outcomes (Handbook p. 7)<br />Articulate a critical and scholarly review of theories of higher education and its purposes<br />Criticality (ILO 1)<br />Contribute to the development of a scholarly & critical understanding of Higher Education in society<br />Assess the relevance of these philosophies and mechanisms in context<br />Globalisation (ILO 2)<br />Apply your analysis of discourses of education and power to the sustainability of social order attributes and the institutions of society<br />Access (ILO 2)<br />Apply a richer understanding of your role in higher education to the improvement of learning for your students, yourself, your discipline and institution(s)<br />Responsibility (ILO 2)<br />Explore the contingencies of “truth” as it underlies disciplinary (experimental) methods<br />Curricula (ILO 2)<br />Explain and apply the concept of a hidden curriculum to objective-led learning, teaching and assessment (and management)<br />Demonstrate commitment to core professional values of scholarship, development of learning communities, CPD and evaluation<br />Community (ILO 3)<br />Interpret and actualise values in practice<br />
    14. 14. Card sort: Issues and drivers<br />At your table<br />Individually: sort the cards in order of the things that most influence your role<br />Choose your top 3 and briefly explain to your colleagues<br />Together: Each table choose their top 2 <br />Explain to the room<br />
    15. 15. BREAK<br />
    16. 16. History of Ideas“purpose”<br />Some people<br />Institutions of society<br />Purpose of Higher Education<br />Academic identity <br />
    17. 17. Institutions of society<br />Estates<br />Production<br />Reproduction<br />
    18. 18. Hidden curricular issues<br />Overt curriculum of the early modern age<br /> “3 Rs”: reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic. Reproduction of these cultural goods, universal literacy and numeracy, would benefit both the individual as well as society.<br />Today’s overt curriculum<br />Flexibility, community/team work, personalisation (particularly in the ICT sense)<br />
    19. 19. Covert curriculum: education as politics<br />Industrial era covert curriculum:<br />Punctuality, tolerance of repetition, subordination<br />Post industrial “Knowledge Economy” covert curriculum<br />Piecework, precarity, competition<br />Normalisation<br />Surveillance<br />
    20. 20. Activity: let’s get critical<br />Universities are supposed by the Charter [for Higher Education, 1993] to &quot;deliver&quot; a &quot;service&quot;, namely higher education to &quot;customers&quot;, in two divisions, firstly students, and secondly business which &quot;buys&quot; both education and the results of commissioned research. The &quot;delivery&quot; to students is by way of &quot;teaching&quot; or &quot;effective management of ... learning&quot;, in &quot;courses&quot;, all of which have &quot;aims and structures&quot; clearly described in advance, and any of which include &quot;transferrable skills like problem solving and effective communication&quot;. The standards of these providers of teaching are guaranteed by &quot;quality assurance systems&quot; which will be &quot;regularly audited&quot; and will enable applicants to discover “… how well different universities and colleges are performing&quot;.<br />Each of these phrases within quotation marks, and all of them cumulatively betray a conception of higher education which is not only not that of the university, but is actively hostile to the university.<br />Maskell, D. & Robinson, I. (2001). The new idea of a university. London: Haven Books.  <br />
    21. 21. What’s wrong with?<br />Deliver<br />Service<br />Customer<br />Buys<br />Teaching<br />Effective management of learning<br />Courses<br />Aims and structures<br />Transferrable skills like problem solving and effective communication<br />Quality assurance systems<br />Regularly audited<br />Will enable applicants to discover how well different universities and colleges are performing<br />
    22. 22. LUNCH<br />
    23. 23. Learning Theory“difference”<br />Social and biological bases of cognition<br />-isms and –ologies<br />Difference<br />Criticality<br />Competence <br />
    24. 24. Biological bases of cognition<br />Training (whether traditional, e-learning, or blended learning) is intimately connected and dependent on the human cognitive system. Learning means that the cognitive system acquires information and stores it for future use. If these processes do not occur properly, then the learners will not initially acquire the information, and even if they do, then they will not be able to recall it later, or/and the information will not be utilised and behaviour modified. <br />It does not matter if the objective is learning new information (e.g., compliance regulations, product specifications, etc.), acquiring new skills (e.g., operating new apparatus, customer service, time management, etc.), or knowledge sharing and transfer within or across organisations, the processes of acquiring, storing and applying the information are critical. The question is how do you achieve these cornerstones of learning? The answer is clear: The learning must fit human cognition.<br />See, e.g. Cognitive Consultants International (CCI)<br />
    25. 25. 2 orientations towards acquiring knowledge & … 2 functions of theorydeductivefrom theory to observationpredictiveinductivefrom observation to theoryexplanatory<br />
    26. 26. another orientation towards acquiring knowledge & … another function of theoryholisticgenerative<br />
    27. 27. So… theory is:<br /> predictive<br /> explanatory<br /> generative<br />
    28. 28. and, which reminds me… theory is:<br /> nomothetic<br />oops!<br />typical<br />Or typifying<br />Or typologising<br />
    29. 29. So, we have a typology of theory… <br /> a theory of theory<br />explanatory<br />predictive<br />generative<br />typical<br />
    30. 30. And the last bit?<br />Falsifiable<br />Theory vs.. ideology:<br />Ideology may well be predictive and explanatory, but instead of generative it is restrictive, instead of typical it is normalising and instead of falsifiable it is enforced. (Popper)<br />
    31. 31. So, we have a (new) typology of theory… <br /> a theory of theory<br />explanatory<br />predictive<br />generative<br />typical<br />falsifiable<br />
    32. 32. Activity<br /> We’ve had a typology, but<br /> What’s theory for you?<br />
    33. 33. Stephen Brookfield’s four “critical reflective lenses”<br /><ul><li>our “autobiography as teachers and learners”, i.e. through our own eyes
    34. 34. through our students eyes
    35. 35. through our colleagues’ experience and peer review
    36. 36. through the theoretical literature</li></ul> Theoretical literature helps us to name our practice and to find that it is not idiosyncratic<br />
    37. 37. That’s all very well in practice, <br /> but how does it work in theory? <br />
    38. 38. ... learning can be enhanced through: a consideration of the context and experience of others, familiarity with received wisdom, reflection on these, and the use of the first hand experience of the learner. <br />[however] <br />Discussions of reflection in learning often emphasise the first hand experience of the learner rather than the role of formal theory, the importance of the broader social context and the experience of others<br />(Dyke 2006)<br />Reflective practice?<br />
    39. 39. Theory<br />Systematic codification or abstraction of:<br /><ul><li>Accumulated observations ( or assertions)
    40. 40. Beliefs</li></ul>Conceptual framework<br /><ul><li>Model</li></ul>An attempt to answer the question, “Why...?”<br />An approach or a perspective, e.g.:<br /><ul><li>Positivist
    41. 41. Socio-cultural</li></ul>See De-localized Production of Scientific Knowledge. (2007, October 7). . Retrieved from<br />
    42. 42. A theory of identity…?<br />
    43. 43. Academic identity<br />Disciplinarity as a dimension of diversity in higher education, showing an understanding of broad differences in epistemologies<br />Disciplinarity may affect<br />learning approaches<br />curriculum outcomes<br />current challenges<br />learner characteristics…<br />
    44. 44. Discipline… is a type of power, a modality for its exercise, comprising a whole set of instruments, techniques, procedures, levels of application, targets… And it may be taken over… by institutions that use it as an essential instrument for a particular end (schools, hospitals)… <br />(Foucault, 1977, p. 215)<br />
    45. 45. Activities<br />1<br />VAK Questionnaire<br />2<br />Think of something you have learned.<br />How did you learn this? What processes did you go through? What did you do to learn?<br />
    46. 46. Critical theory<br />Expose hidden assumptions<br />Structured reduction of complexity<br /><ul><li>What is left out</li></ul>Indirect object of learning<br /><ul><li>Hidden curriculum</li></ul>Appropriation<br />
    47. 47. Typical critical theory<br /><ul><li>anti-essentialist/critical realist: the basic givens of existence are fluid and unstable
    48. 48. heteroglossic/dialogic: all thinking is largely determined by prior cultural experience (ideological or identity commitment)
    49. 49. language is an actor (weak linguistic determinism)
    50. 50. meaning is characterised by ambiguity
    51. 51. context is everything
    52. 52. grand narratives are hegemonies of the powerful</li></li></ul><li>Epistemologies<br />The study of knowledge<br />In here : out there<br />deductive : inductive<br />
    53. 53. Models<br />Linear<br />Beetham<br />Cyclical<br />Kolb<br />Laurillard<br />Hierarchical<br />Bloom<br />Salmon<br />
    54. 54. Beetham’s typology<br />Assimilative<br />Constructivist<br />Social constructivist<br />Situative<br />
    55. 55. Kolb’s Learning Cycle<br />experiencing<br />planning<br />reflecting<br />thinking<br />
    56. 56.
    57. 57. Conversational model<br />Borrowed from<br />
    58. 58. Levels of learning: Bloom<br />evaluation<br />synthesis<br />analysis<br />application<br />comprehension<br />knowledge<br />ATHERTON J S (2005) Learning and Teaching: Bloom&apos;s taxonomy [On-line] UK: Available:<br />
    59. 59. Sequence & Stance<br />Sequence<br />Where are you in the course? Is it the first week or the 8th week?<br />Have groups been used in other settings?<br />Do people know one another yet?<br />What is the interactional function of groupwork (as opposed to the instrumental or regulatory orheuristicfunctions?)<br />Maxims of stance (Scollon 1998)<br />Channel<br />Relationship<br />Topic<br />e-Tivity Sequence<br />(Salmon)<br />
    60. 60. Education levels and taxonomies<br />Pedagogical pragmatism<br />Face<br />Posture<br />Stance<br />
    61. 61. BREAK<br />
    62. 62. Higher Education Policy<br />Levels of analysis<br />Drivers<br />Outcomes<br />Pragmatics <br />
    63. 63. Policy: the Big Picture<br />Globalisation<br />Liberalisation<br />Participation<br />Innovation<br />Education and training policy replaces industrial policy as the means by which governments seek to make regions economically competitive<br />
    64. 64. Critical reflection<br />“Reflection becomes critical when it has two distinct purposes:<br />… to understand how considerations of power undergird, frame and distort educational processes and interactions.<br />… to question [hegemonic] assumptions and practices that seem to make our teaching lives easier but actually work against our long-term interests.”<br />Brookfield (2005: 8)<br />
    65. 65. Level/scale<br />personal<br />local<br />institutional<br />regional<br />sectoral<br />national<br />global<br />…<br />Impact<br /><ul><li>When analysing policy impact it is customary to consider 3 (or 4 or 5) levels.
    66. 66. The choice depends on the rhetorical aim of the analysis</li></li></ul><li><br />
    67. 67. and<br />
    68. 68. Peer review<br />How have you drawn on a process of peer review?<br />Formal e.g. teaching observation<br />Informal e.g. note of a lunch-time conversation after you gave a good lecture<br />Programmatic e.g. programme development team meetings, course review events, validations, examination committees, etc<br />
    69. 69. Values<br />Core values<br />Respect for learners<br />Commitment to scholarship<br />Developing learning communities<br />Encouraging participation in higher education<br />Commitment to personal CPD (or CPPD)<br />
    70. 70. Outcomes Debate 2<br />This course and others like it are taught from a very pronounced “perspective”:<br />Constructive Alignment<br />Stated simply:<br />Description, aims, outcomes, activity, assessment are all clearly articulated in a common language<br />
    71. 71. Outcomes Debate<br />In the 1970s and 1980s, learning outcomes were seen as a progressive attempt to overcome the “old-school-tie” effect where who you knew and who you were were more important factors in determining educational success and employability than what you could do.<br />By making learning outcomes explicit and linking them to real-world evidence, it was hoped that a greater meritocratic ethos would prevail. This became known as the “competency and outcomes movement”.<br />However through the 1980s and 1990s competencies and outcomes became associated in the public mind with performative targets and managerial micro-control of learning and teaching. Far from being seen as a progressive attempt to wrest education from the hands of social elites, competencies and outcomes were seen to be a reactionary imposition on academic freedom.<br />
    72. 72. M-level<br />Masters degrees, PG Certificates and PG Diplomas <br />systematic understanding of knowledge, and critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice; <br />comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship; <br />originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline; <br />conceptual understanding that enables the student: <br />to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline; and <br />to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses. <br />Quality assurance agency for higher education (QAA)<br />
    73. 73. Looking forward<br />Workshop programme<br />
    74. 74. Wrap-up<br />Questions?<br />Academics anonymous<br />
    75. 75. Thank you<br />George Roberts<br />Senior Lecturer, Educational Development<br />OCSLD<br />Wheatley Campus<br />Oxford Brookes University<br />Oxford, OX33 1HX<br /><br /><br />