Saturday, August 02, 2008

when the proverbial stuff hits the fan, it's mobile and flexible too

There is no inherent goodness in being mobile and flexible.
Avian flu meets such criteria, anywhere, anytime.
Surely the substance of what occurs anywhere anytime has to be considered.

To this end, Digital hemlock by Tara Brabazon, is a provocative read.

In higher ed, a major point of tension is directed use of online teaching platforms.
I love them, there is potentially greater freedom; learning doesnt have to be at a predetermined time or place. But my love is not unconditional, and the conditions are rarely addressed.I take this moment to quickly affirm the conditions I believe and which are legislated imperatives: According to the Universities Act (1961) the purpose of a University is teaching, research and to be the social conscience of society. I take this to mean service, not profit ; and that things of serious importance to society will be attended to, such as social justice and equity.

However, what happens if this plot is lost?
Tara Brabazon notes, Socrates was not sentenced to die by his students, but by the Gods.
Attending to students is not enough.

...And I have just been invited to put in my cv and a vision statement to be able to keep doing what i have been doing for 2 decades;teaching and lecturing in higher ed.
Is this an example of what Brabazon points to with tenured staff fighting for their jobs rather than for social justice and social responsibility?
There seems too much truth in the preface for me to ignore this book.

In an analysis informed by actor-network theory one could consider a technosocial story of change in university life and consider the things that are needed to make an assemblage stable. In this instance, attending to students and to the content or purpose of learning is not enough, the management layer un-peels itself as well as the resources at their discretion, and enroll such actors as they can including online platforms such as blackboard, fewer people, more well as distracting academic staff in having them reapply for their positions... I feel that i am kept running to even be able to stand still.
No conspiracy theories here. Just a technosocial story that helps to account for how things are shaped as well as shaping, and a consideration for knowing that things might also be different.

No comments:

Post a Comment