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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 (), 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. (), the ‘gamble’ being taken with the future of higher education (), and the ‘pedagogy of debt’ () that has been imposed through the removal of public funding of teaching and the concurrent tripling of tuition fees ().

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Susan Wright and Davydd J. Greenwood

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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.

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Hans Karl Peterlini and Mary Brydon-Miller

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Critical pedagogy and Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)

Questioning our post-secondary institutions’ investment strategies

David P. Thomas

Abstract

This article explores the use of critical pedagogy in addressing the important issue of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) in the post-secondary context. I argue that tools of critical pedagogy – in this case student-centred learning and sharing power in the classroom – provide a productive avenue for post-secondary students to engage with SRI. In addition, analysing current debates and trends in SRI offers an excellent opportunity to encourage active, engaged, student-centred learning, with the ultimate goal of producing citizens who are capable of questioning the world around them. The article presents a case study of a course on SRI at a small liberal arts university in Canada to illustrate the potential of critically teaching and learning about SRI.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

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From rite of passage to a mentored educational activity

Fieldwork for master’s students of anthropology

Helle Bundgaard and Cecilie Rubow

Abstract

This article discusses the teaching of anthropological fieldwork during a period of comprehensive educational reforms in Danish universities. We trace widely held conceptions of fieldwork among master’s students of anthropology and the efforts they make to live up to what they assume to be classic fieldwork. We argue that the ideals of classic fieldwork too often fail to support the learning process when fieldwork is squeezed into the timeframe of the curriculum and show how fieldwork as part of an educational programme can be mentored by online feedback. Our suggestion is that cooperative reflection during fieldwork can improve the quality of the empirical material and the analytical process significantly.

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International learning experiences at home in Japan

The challenges and benefits of taking English-medium courses for Japanese students

Yukiko Ishikura

Abstract

English-medium degree programmes are one of the trends within the internationalisation of higher education in Japan. The recent university internationalisation project, Project for Establishing University Network for Internationalization, or Global 30 is a good example. English-medium degree programmes attract a larger and more diverse international student population to study in Japan and create an on-campus international learning environment for both local and international students. This article aims to shed light on what attracts Japanese students to such an on-campus international learning experience and the kinds of challenges they face in taking English-medium courses. The results of my research show that English as a medium of instruction is a good tool to attract Japanese students, but the quality and relevance of what is being delivered are also significant. Japanese students are willing to challenge themselves in a different learning environment, but they tend to do so without seeking support, which in turn limits their learning.

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Teaching internationalisation?

Surveying the lack of pedagogical and theoretical diversity in American International Relations

Christopher R. Cook

Abstract

This article contributes to the discussion of internationalisation in higher education in the context of the international relations (IR) sub-field of political science. The field of IR might seem by definition to be ‘internationalised’, but the underlying theoretical assumptions of the field, its social science rationalism and privileging of the unitary nation-state exhibit an American or Eurocentric bias. This Western bias with its emphasis on security issues is then replicated in research agendas and reproduced in higher education classrooms across the United States and beyond. I argue that the way forward to promoting internationalisation partially lies with promoting plurality and diversity within research and in the classroom or what Lamy calls ‘challenging hegemonic paradigms’ (2007).

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Aftermath of the MOOC wars

Can commercial vendors support creative higher education?

Christopher Newfield

Abstract

The large-scale massive open online course (xMOOC) rose to prominence in 2012–13 on the promise that its outcomes would be better and cheaper than those of face-to-face university instruction. By late 2013, xMOOC educational claims had been largely discredited, though policy interest in ed-tech carried on. What can we learn about the future of ed-tech by analysing this eighteen-month period in higher education history? This article gathers different types of evidence to suggest several conclusions: MOOC momentum was propelled by an administrative failure to apply due diligence to xMOOC educational claims. The MOOC path was also smoothed by a confusion among key commentators between xMOOCs and small-scale ‘connectivity’ MOOCs that did show meaningful learning outcomes. At the same time, online courses do not overcome race-based disparities of outcome and in some cases make them worse. In addition, student use of online courses appears to be instrumental, even cynical, further limiting their educational value. MOOCs will be back in modified form to endanger educational equity and quality unless faculty members articulate explicit goals and standards for public higher education to which ed-tech can be held accountable.

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‘Being TED’

The university intellectual as globalised neoliberal consumer self

Wesley Shumar

Abstract

This article focuses on the ways that modern American universities are engaged in the process of articulating new producing and consuming subjects. It argues that the image of the engaged ‘media celebrity’ intellectual, as presented in the TED Talk model, has become a cultural ideal that reconciles a deeper contradiction in the academy. Through a complex process, university faculty and students are assimilated into the globalised lifestyle and the identity of cosmopolitans by participating in a social space that is at once an upscale shopping mall and at the same time a high tech corporate research park. This global elite is forged first out of individuals who make it through the university and then secondly out of those university students who successfully excel under the twin pressures of elite production and consumption. Most student, faculty and universities fall short of this ideal. But by watching TED talks they can aspire to this fantasy ideal through the image of the media celebrity intellectual.