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Inequality as higher ed goes online


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Presentation about the intersection of two current major trends- inequality and online higher education.

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Inequality as higher ed goes online

  1. 1. CONSIDERING INEQUALITY AS HIGHER EDUCATION GOES ONLINE Laura Czerniewicz /@czernie 10 September 2015
  2. 2. THIS TALK o The changing HE landscape o Equality/inequality as a frame o Key questions & implications at global, institutional and course levels through the inequality lens o What should we do?
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION The changing digitally – mediated Higher Education Landscape
  4. 4. THE PROVISION LANDSCAPE conventional flexible FORMAL SEMI-FORMAL NON-FORMAL Lectures Tutorials Course materials Short courses Summer school Blended courses Online courses Professional development courses Emergent MOOC related variants Czerniewicz,L;Deacon,A;Small,J;Walji,S(2014)DevelopingWorldMOOCs:acurriculumviewoftheMOOClandscape
  5. 5. DISAGGREGATION & CHANGING MONETISATION MODELS: From singular to differentiated Traditional Complete package Emergent models Individual elements Fees Yes No/ maybe Content May be free/included in fees/paid for May be paid Support Free/included in fees May be paid Assessment Free/included in fees May be paid Certification Free/included in fees Paid Quality Assurance Free/included in fees Paid Platform May be licensed or free (student does not pay) May be licensed or free
  6. 6. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Ron Mader
  7. 7. INCREASED DIVERSITY OF PLAYERS & INTERESTS Olds and Robertson 2013 & telecommunications companies & publishers-become-education providers & digital media companies & & &
  9. 9. GROWTH OF FORMAL, SEMI-FORMAL & NON-FORMAL ONLINE LEARNING o Traditional institutions & residential institutions gaining ground on the for-profits in online & DL (Allen & Seaman, 2015) o Private sector dominance decreases o MOOCs & MOOC type offerings continue to grow & be provided by a range of organisations with different agendas around the world (ICEF 2014, Swope 2015)
  12. 12. AT THE SAME TIME
  14. 14. o Equality • “capability to function fully as a human being” (Therborn 2013) o Inequalities are inherently unjust and immoral, violation of human dignity • “Inequalities are produced and sustained socially by systemic arrangements and processes, and by distributive action, individual as well as collective. It is crucial to pay systematic attention to both.” (Therborn 2013) o Multidimensional • Equality of opportunity and of outcome • Dimensions of inequality
  15. 15. DECLARATIONS “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal …” American Declaration of Independence (1776) “All men are equal by nature and before the law” French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1793)
  16. 16. SOUTH AFRICAN CONSTITUTION The Republic of South Africa is one sovereign democratic state founded on the following values: (a) Human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms. 1996
  17. 17. Increasing inequality is the number one challenge facing North America
  18. 18. INEQUALITY The Palma ratio = the ratio of the richest 10% of the population's share of gross national income divided by the poorest 40%'s share
  19. 19. SOUTH AFRICA The wealth of Johann Rupert and Nicky Oppenheimer, is equal to 26.5-million South Africans, poorest 50 percent . Seery & Arendar 2014
  20. 20. NOT JUST THE GLOBAL SOUTH Income distribution OECD countries
  21. 21. NOT JUST THE GLOBAL SOUTH Income distribution OECD countries In the UK the richest 10% of households hold 44% of all wealth. The poorest 50% own 9.5% of the wealth.
  22. 22. o “Digital access is becoming as much an equity issue in our society as access to water and electricity” Mpho Park, Executive Mayor, 6 May 2015, City of Johannesburg State of the City address 2015 la Rue, 2011, UN General Assembly Report INEQUALITY & TECHNOLOGY
  23. 23. AND YET…. o No mention of inequality
  24. 24. CONTRASTING VIEWS ON CREATING EQUALITY IN INFORMATION SOCIETIES “Very simply, there are two prevailing social imaginaries about digital technologies .. The prevailing dominant imaginary in today’s information societies is market-led. In contrast, alternative imaginaries are best described as ‘open’ or commons-led. …. It is this conflict that leads to major problems for stakeholders in deciding which policies and strategies, or mix of policies and strategies, is most likely to facilitate progress towards more just and equitable information societies”. Mansell, R (2013)
  25. 25. MARKET-LED TREND Ed Tech Funding Hits $1.87 Billion in 2014 January 20, 2015
  26. 26. GEOGRAPHIES OF INVESTMENT “With the opportunity for digital education encompassing a global audience, over 50% of Ed Tech deal activity in the last two years has been investments in non-U.S. companies. These countries are based in a diverse array of geos ranging from the U.K. to China to India to Russia”
  27. 27. THE COUNTER NARRATIVE We are on the cusp of a global revolution in teaching and learning. .. These educators are creating a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. They are also planting the seeds of a new pedagogy where educators and learners create, shape and evolve knowledge together.
  28. 28. DECLINE OF GOV FINANCING OF HE o Cuts cuts cuts o Recent Oxfam report argues that governments need to • take back control of public policy • agree to spending at least 20 % of government budgets on education (Seery & Arendar 2014) • (Between 2008 & 2012 more than half of developing countries reduced spending on education) (Seery & Arendar 2014 ) o “Transformation will not happen without a recapitalization of our institutions of higher learning” (Mbembe 2015)
  29. 29. How can a values-led hybrid ecology of digitally-mediated educational provision be shaped that strikes a strategic balance between state support and private sector provision to prioritise and enable equality in higher education?
  31. 31. KINDS OF INEQUALITY (Therborn 2013) Vital inequality Resource inequality Existential inequality
  32. 32. VITAL INEQUALITY Life or death issues
  33. 33. VITAL INEQUALITY o Link between life chances and education • Poor people less likely to be educated (Seery & Caistor 2014) • Educated people live longer (Meara at al, 2008) • Parents of college graduates live longer (Friedman& Mare ‘14) o Educational deprivation • recognised as an important indicator in multiple indices of deprivation, poverty & inequality (Noble & Wright 2012) Vitalinequality
  34. 34. IN SOUTH AFRICA o Access and success • 25% of students in South Africa graduate in regulation time (e.g. 3years for a 3 yr degree, excl UNISA) • More than half of students who enrol in universities in South Africa never graduate (even taking into account students who take longer than five years, or who return after dropping out) • White completion rates are on average 50% higher than African rates • About 5% of apartheid-category black and coloured youth succeed in any form of higher education Vitalinequality Council for Higher Education 2013
  35. 35. IN THE EARLY DAYS o New HE landscape imperative to solve broader education & social problems • MOOCs have a capacity for “incredible democratisation of education” Anant Agarwal (in Pailin, 2014) • “…budding revolution in global online higher education. Nothing has more potential to lift more people out of poverty …” Thomas Friedman (2013) Vitalinequality
  36. 36. o MOOCs students • predominantly highly educated & employed • more men than women • more educated than the general population (esp in BRICS and other developing countries) • largely from developed countries • those from developing countries older (Christensen et al 2013, Palin 2014) Vitalinequality
  37. 37. CHALLENGES FOR ONLINE LEARNERS o Online works better for older, female students with higher GPAs “While all types of students in the study suffered decrements in performance in online courses, some struggled more than others to adapt: males younger students, Black students students with lower grade point averages” Survey of 40 000 online students in nearly 500 000 courses (Xu, D & Jagger, S 2014) Xu, D & Jaggar, S. 2014. Vitalinequality
  38. 38. Most universities and most academics in Africa do not have the luxury to invest time and resources into anything, simply on the basis that it is ‘a good thing to do’ … If [it] will ‘solve’ an existing problem, then it becomes a no-brainer. Catherine Ngugi, Director, OER Africa Vitalinequality
  39. 39. o Need to bring back the focus to how the new landscape can address the needs of the disadvantaged and enable social inclusion • The answer to the question “how can online education (including MOOCs) help less privileged people to learn and / or get an acknowledged education?” has not been found yet See Yanez, 2014 Vitalinequality
  40. 40. o Need to grow the small body of relevant research • Eg Dillahunt et al 2014; Yanez, 2014; de Waard et al 2014; Moser-Mercer 2014; Nkuyubwatsi 2014; Liyanagunawardena et al 2013; Nyoni 2013, de Boer et al 2013 o Need to draw policy attention at institutional and government level to social (rather than commercial) possibilities of online education Vitalinequality
  41. 41. Which forms of blended and online education can best serve the social and economic interests of developing countries and of the disadvantaged in unequal societies?
  43. 43. RESOURCE INEQUALITY o Access to resources • Economic, material, infrastructural • Cultural capital • Institutional (qualifications) • Embodied (abilities, disposition) • Social capital o Contestations, power • Who has access to which resources? • Configurations of resources Resourceinequality
  44. 44. ELECTRICITYResourceinequality
  45. 45. INTERNET ACCESS THE EXCEPTION, NOT THE RULE Income is key Location is key o North America – 84% connected o Sub Saharan Africa- 13% connected o In US • 99% of US adults with incomes over $75k • 77% of adults with incomes less than $30k, 2014 Resourceinequality
  46. 46. MOBILE DRIVER Resourceinequality, 2014
  47. 47. IT’S THE DATA, NOT THE DEVICE: AFFORDABILITY o Affordability (5% monthly income) • Entry level -100MB; maturing – 500MB; connected -2GB • In Sub-Saharan Africa, 53% could afford access of only 20 MB, (enough for SMS & email) Resourceinequality,2014
  48. 48. DIFFERING PURPOSES o People in developing countries tended to use connectivity for personal advancement, more so than people in developed countries, who used it for convenience. • 40% of respondents in emerging markets said connectivity had “improved their earning power,” compared with just 17% in developed markets. • •39% of respondents in developing nations experienced a “significant transformation in their access to education” because of connectivity” Juniper Networks, Global Bandwidth Index f Dec 2014, a survey of 5,500 adults from 9 countries Resourceinequality
  49. 49. o More diversity of student populations than ever before o Greater diversity of delivery models than before o Differentiation of cultural capital Resourceinequality
  50. 50. DIVERSE STUDENT POPULATIONS o Flexible learning • comes into the mainstream, becoming mainstream? o Literature shows that flexible, part-time and non-traditional learners poorly supported by universities • See Chikoko 2010, Adesoye & Amusa 2011 and others • 50 % + student population within HE in South Africa part time (Buchler et al 2007) Resourceinequality
  51. 51. RETHINKING STUDENT LITERACIES Resourceinequality
  52. 52. STUDENT LITERACIES The online learner has a strong academic self- concept; is competent in the use of online learning technologies particularly communication and collaborative technologies; understands & engages in social interaction & collaborative learning possesses strong interpersonal & communication skills and is self-directed Resourceinequality Dabbagh 2007 elite
  53. 53. RESEARCH ON STUDENTS’ DIGITAL PRACTICES “Learners' engagement w digital world is v differentiated Learners’ digital skills shallower than we tend to think ‘Digital natives' story hides many contradictions Active knowledge creation & sharing a minority Activities typically introduced by educators Consumer practices & populist values dominate in digital space - many feel excluded or worse” Beetham 2015 Resourceinequality
  54. 54. INSTITUTIONAL CAPITAL o Certification as an equity issue • Forms • Legitimacy • Value • Stigma Resourceinequality
  55. 55. Around 70 percent of students with a Coursera credential list it on their LinkedIn profiles Daphne Koller 2014
  56. 56. INSTITUTIONAL CAPITAL: CERTIFICATION “Free online courses are not going to change education in Africa, not because of access or sophistication issues or even context issues… but rather because education in Africa and South Africa is a means to an end – the qualification helps to get you a job which puts food on the table. Until we can get verifiable accreditation right for free online courses, I don’t think there will be much traction” Kerry de Hart, Office of the VC, UNISA Resourceinequality
  59. 59. EXISTENTIAL INEQUALITY o Therborn - this is the most neglected type of inequality • Self development • Autonomy • Freedom • Dignity • Respect Existentialinequality
  60. 60. EXISTENTIAL INEQUALITY IN HE o Issues of power and agency • for academics and for students o At different levels • across the HE sector • across disciplines • within and across institutions • within qualifications, curricula & courses o Who decides? Which are the primary drivers? Existentialinequality
  61. 61. CRITIQUES OF THE SECTOR The rescaling of the university is meant to achieve one single goal – to turn it into a springboard for global markets. The brutality of this competition is such that it has opened a new era of global Apartheid in higher education. In this new era, winners will graduate to the status of “world class” universities and losers will be relegated and confined to the category of global bush colleges. Mbembe 2015 Existentialinequality
  62. 62. CRITIQUES OF MOOCS o Critiques include • Money, power & condescending attitudes • Practices ingrained in local social realities and epistemological world views left out • Questions regarding who really benefits “evangelical arguments and self-appointed saviors of the less civilized rule the airwaves on the global front” Shyam Sharma 2013 Existentialinequality
  63. 63. CRITIQUES OF GLOBALISING KNOWLEDGE o Dangers of a flattened “Coca-colonisation” of knowledge (Gregson et al 2015) “The world of a Eurocentric model is presumed to be universal and now being reproduced almost everywhere thanks to commercial internationalism. To decolonize the university is therefore to create pluriversalism, via a horizontal strategy of openness to dialogue among different epistemic traditions” Mbembe , 2015 Existentialinequality
  64. 64.
  65. 65. RESHAPING NETWORKS o Redrawing provider and recipient relationships Existentialinequality
  66. 66. RESHAPING RELATIONSHIPS o Shift from broadcast model o Address the digital production gap • The read- write web for whom? • Consumption culture See Brake 2014, Schroeder 2011 o Access must equal participation Existentialinequality
  67. 67. Existentialinequality MOOCS ABOUT AFRICA
  68. 68. FOSTERING PARTNERSHIPS The course is a joint initiative of TU Delft, the international BE-Basic consortium and University of Campinas, Brazil. Course materials CC-BY-NC-SA Existentialinequality
  69. 69. MUTUALITY & RECIPROCITY “To recognise digital learning as the practice that networks small higher education institutions to global circuits of influence and profit, we need to think about …this strategic withholding of reciprocity... What are the obligations for care that should accompany the power to impose curriculum from one place on learners at another? What are the implications for longer term sustainability of research-led teaching in smaller institutions around the world?” Bowles, 2015 Existentialinequality
  70. 70. LANGUAGE o Language • about 80% of all content online is in one of 10 languages: English, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, German, Arabic, French, Russian or Korean. o In order to make the internet relevant to 80% of the world, it would require content in at least 92 languages Existentialinequality 2014
  71. 71. CULTURAL & LANGUAGE COMMUNITIES o Need new forms of research into user cultural and language behaviour online • Eg User-centric Ethnological Mapping of WWW to identify and characterize Regional Cultures on ethnological Maps of WWWs the world Wu and Taneja ( 2015, under review), Existentialinequality
  72. 72. Identifying online regional cultures Existentialinequality Wu and Taneja ( 2015)
  73. 73. COMPLETE RANGE OF ONLINE CONTENT o Online content dominated by US and developed countries (Flick, 2011) • Includes open content, MOOCs (Olds) o Online representation matters • For knowledge formation • For learning (Bruno, Piaget) • For existential equality Existentialinequality
  74. 74. Existentialinequality ALL KNOWLEDGE NEEDS TO BE DISCOVERABLE • Dangers of open access policies drowning out southern research
  75. 75. LEGALLY ENABLING TWO-WAY ENGAGEMENT o Open licences – remix & adapt essential o Eliciting and respect for user experiences • Ownership of user-generated content Existentialinequality DavidBlackwell.
  76. 76. LEARNING DESIGN FOR DIVERSITY o Global online courses increasingly diverse • ITO backgrounds, culture, ethnicity etc o Good/ bad diversity o Designing for diversity increasing - needs more attention • Review principles of cultural inclusion (Marrone et al 2013) • Leverage research into designing for large scale instances (see Klemmer 2015, Kulkarni et al 2013 2014, 2015) Existentialinequality
  77. 77. ACCESS o The emergence of new online business models increasing opportunities of access • Global access, new forms of certification • Increased access & new forms of opportunities for some groups • Not trivial in a rapidly changing world- value for teacher education, professional development, lifelong learning
  78. 78. DIGNITY: OPPORTUNITIES TO SUCCEED We have to distinguish between equity of access, and equity of opportunity and outcomes. … equity of opportunity and outcomes depend crucially on supportive institutional environments and cultures, appropriate curricula and learning and teaching strategies and effective induction, and mentoring. Badat, S 2015 Existentialinequality
  79. 79. SUCCESS o The challenges of success in online and distance education provision remain significant • The value of fully online courses as part of full qualifications unproven o Success online requires resources, scaffolding, flexibility • The role and extent of blended forms unproven o Care costs
  80. 80. CONCLUSION
  81. 81. o How do we ensure values-based pedagogically-shaped online learning in an austerity environment and a hybrid higher education ecology?
  82. 82. WE NEED o Critical research o Inequality-framed experimentation o Policy & advocacy
  83. 83. CRITICAL RESEARCH o Critical in all senses • Difficult argumentative questions • Important • Surfacing power o Theorised scholarship
  84. 84. INEQUALITY-FRAMED EXPERIMENTATION o Business models for the commons o Innovating with emergent forms of provision o Exploiting the affordances of the technology to support the needs of disadvantage
  85. 85. POLICY & ADVOCACY o Policy matters • The allocation of goals, values & resources (Codd 1988) o Advocacy reminds, explains, challenges
  86. 86. THE LAST WORD If issues of inequality and inclusion are accepted as crucial issues and critical absences in the global online higher education landscape, we must foster communities of policy, research and practice to find shared solutions amongst a range of parties from different parts of the world
  87. 87. THANK YOU Image: Stacey Stent References With thanks to Paul Prinsloo and my colleagues in CILT
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