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Improving student assessments of elections: The use of information literacy and a course-embedded librarian

Paula Booke and Todd J. Wiebe

Abstract

The study of U.S. elections as a part of introductory political science courses has become an increasingly difficult endeavour as students encounter the ever-changing landscape of electoral politics. Instructors seeking to equip students with the skills needed to navigate this complex terrain may look for partnerships with library faculty and staff as a means of bridging the research gap faced by students in these courses. This article examines the efficacy of a course-embedded librarian and information literacy training as a means of increasing student research confidence and competence. The findings of our quasi-experiment suggest that students participating in a course with an embedded librarian, information literacy training and an assignment based on the training session reported higher levels of research confidence and demonstrated the use and understanding of selected information literacy skills and concepts.

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Phantasmagoria of the global learner: Unlikely global learners and the hierarchy of learning

Neriko Musha Doerr

Abstract

Though the concept ‘global learner’ has become a buzzword in education, few have critically analysed it. This article examines three types of ‘unlikely global learners’ who are not usually considered global learners even though they could be, according to a current definition: Māori–English bilingual students in Aotearoa/New Zealand; an American student who studied abroad in the U.K. in ways not valued in the dominant study-abroad discourse of immersion; and immigrant English-as-a-Second-Language students in the U.S. I analyse what their erasure as global learners tells us, arguing that the notion of global learner acts as what Walter Benjamin calls a phantasmagoria that masks the power relations involved. Though critical of ‘global learners’ as a globalist concept, I call for expanding the notion in order to engage with current transformations in education.

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A tale of two courses: challenging Millennials to experience culture through film

Katie Kirakosian, Virginia McLaurin, and Cary Speck

Abstract

In this article, we discuss how adding a final film project to a revised ‘Culture through Film’ course led to deeper student learning and higher rates of student success, as well as increased student satisfaction. Ultimately, we urge social science educators to include experiential projects in their courses that connect to all learning styles. Such projects should also challenge students to ‘create’, a task that requires generating ideas, planning and ultimately producing something, which, according to Bloom’s revised taxonomy, engages students in the highest cognitive process (Anderson and Krathwohl 2000). Although this class focused on the intersections of culture and film and was taught at an American university, we believe these lessons apply more broadly.

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Book Reviews

Barbara Grant and Penny Welch

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‘Insane with courage’: Free university experiments and the struggle for higher education in historical perspective

Sarah Amsler

Abstract

This article considers the role of experiments in learning in movements to democratise higher education ‘under the rule of capital’ (Gutierrez, Navarro and Linsalata 2017). It focuses on the emergence of a new generation of ‘free universities’ in the United Kingdom, situating these in a historical tradition of educational experimentation and a current context of global movements for autonomy from the state, capital and dominating epistemologies. It argues that free universities can contribute to transforming the relationship between knowledge, university and society, but that these contributions are often invisible within the logic of the dominant institutional systems. Conceptualising the projects as struggles for autonomy renders these contributions visible and valuable for educational reformers working both within and independently of the university.

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Pedagogies of resistance: Free universities and the radical re-imagination of study

Fern Thompsett

Abstract

Free universities are diverse but loosely networked projects that resist repressive capitalist and state configurations of power by re-imagining teaching, learning and research on their own terms, often through radical and ongoing experimentation. Drawing from my own experiences as a co-founder and organiser of the Brisbane Free University, along with research I conducted with around twenty-five different free universities across the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico, I focus in this article on activists’ attempts to develop emancipatory counter-capitalist pedagogies. Using Harney and Moten’s (2013) notion of the tension between ‘study’ and ‘education’, with the former connoting a vast realm of possibilities for learning and the latter pointing to the presence of pre-defined end-points, I ask: when does activists’ prefigurative work orbit around explicitly counter-capitalist end-points to learning (against capitalism), and when do they attempt to abandon end-points altogether, in favour of ‘radically open’ forms of ‘learning for its own sake’ (beyond capitalism)?

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Recreating universities for the public good: Pathways to a better world

Susan Wright and Davydd J. Greenwood

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Resources for hope: Ideas for alternatives from heterodox higher education institutions

Catherine N. Butcher

Abstract

This report describes my field visits to Berea and Deep Springs Colleges in the U.S.A. and explores their forms of ownership/control, governance, financing and organisational structure. Berea and Deep Springs are small, liberal arts colleges, distinctive in American higher education, in which students actively participate in a spirit of democracy. This report highlights the relationship between these heterodox organisational forms and student outcomes. It examines the practical significance of these two colleges for education policy and how certain features could be resources for hope used in constructing heterodox higher education institutions in other parts of the world. This report complements that of Wright, Greenwood and Boden (2011) on Mondragón University – a cooperative in the Basque country of Spain – by adding to the body of knowledge on alternative models of higher education institutions.

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There is an alternative: A report on an action research project to develop a framework for co-operative higher education

Mike Neary and Joss Winn

Abstract

This report provides an interim account of a participatory action research project undertaken during 2015–16. The research brought together scholars, students and expert members of the co-operative movement to design a theoretically informed and practically grounded framework for co-operative higher education that activists, educators and the co-operative movement could take forward into implementation. Our dual roles in the research were as founding members of the Social Science Centre, Lincoln, an autonomous co-operative for higher education constituted in 2011 (Social Science Centre 2013), and as professional researchers working at the University of Lincoln. The immediate context for the research was, and remains, the ‘assault’ on universities in the U.K. (Bailey and Freedman 2011), the ‘gamble’ being taken with the future of higher education (McGettigan 2013), and the ‘pedagogy of debt’ (Williams 2006) that has been imposed through the removal of public funding of teaching and the concurrent tripling of tuition fees (Sutton Trust 2016).

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Universities run for, by, and with the faculty, students and staff: Alternatives to the neoliberal destruction of higher education

Susan Wright and Davydd J. Greenwood

Abstract

After analysing the organisational pathologies and societal ills created by the neoliberalisation of universities, the article engages in an organisational critique of the pseudo-business model currently in use. It poses as a solution the re-creation of universities as trusts, with a model of beneficiary ownership, a matrix form of organisation and renewed relations with society. For inspiration it looks to beneficiary-run organisations on the model of the John Lewis Partnership or the Mondragón University. The article explains why such beneficial matrix organisations are superior to current universities and how they offer an opportunity to recreate universities for the public good.