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A LIFE BEYOND THE GOLDEN ARCHES ICICTE 2009 Keynote Dr Simon Shurville University of South Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "A LIFE BEYOND THE GOLDEN ARCHES ICICTE 2009 Keynote Dr Simon Shurville University of South Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 A LIFE BEYOND THE GOLDEN ARCHES ICICTE 2009 Keynote Dr Simon Shurville University of South Australia

2 “Señor, do you know where we’re headin’?” Neoliberal expectations of higher education and the shortfall of resources

3 Education and globalization In this era of knowledge economies and societies, many governments now recognize that “universities are critical to the national innovation system” (Australian Research Council, 2008, p 2) and hence to prosperity within a highly competitive globalised market for intellectual capital and property See: World Bank Group, 2002; Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2004

4 Form provision to regulation Meanwhile, following widespread shifts toward neo-liberalism and “technological and economic reductionism” (Bullen et al, 2004, p 7), many governments have shifted roles from providing and funding elitist-HE towards regulating mass-HE See: Gee and Lankshear, 1995; Moreau and Leathwood, 2006

5 Potential for McDonaldization Neo-liberal expectations Expectations of HE have undergone significant changes Academic capitalism Accountability and compliance Student numbers Funding Key = Pre-massification = Post-massification LowHigh Characteristic of these changed expectations are increases in academic capitalism, accountability, massification, and McDonaldization See: Ritzer, 1996; Boarini et al, 2008

6 Academic capitalism Academic capitalism describes a shift in the purpose of research Humboldt’s vision of universities searching for truth and knowledge has been replaced by universities searching for the production and commercial exploitation of intellectual property Quantitative assessment of this research reduces HE’s freedom to self-define goals, policy or quality assurance for research See: Slaughter and Leslie, 1997; Bok, 2003 Nybom, 2007; Australian Research Council, 2008; Henderson et al /

7 A culture of accountability for learning and teaching A new culture of accountability of both the quality of learning and teaching and its fitness for the labour market has mainstreamed androgogic and student-centred learning styles

8 Massification of HE Massification of HE refers to the unprecedented growth in student numbers and the standardized oversight of their preparation for the knowledge-based workforce See: Scott, 1998; Ritzer, 1996; Hale 2006; Trow 2006; Baker, 2007

9 A culture of accountability for learning and teaching While this shift may be overdue, its culture of regulatory compliance leaves HE with less room to self-define policy, practice and quality assurance of learning and teaching See: Kis, 2005; Browne and Shurville, 2007; Boarini et al, 2008

10 McDonaldization of HE “Ritzer’s thesis is that western societies are being characterized by a desire for rationality, efficiency, predictability and control. McDonaldization is the process by which … fast food restaurant principles are applied to a wide range of production activities and service provision. Ritzer argues that HEIs are no different from other service industries and consumers require the same standardization, reliability and predictability in terms of [HE] provision as they do when purchasing a burger meal.” (Lomas, 2001, p 73)

11 The purposes and regulation of the ivory towers can be hard to distinguish from those of the golden arches

12 So what is actually so wrong with McDonaldization? Standardization → (over) specialization: –Fuller: The major cause of extinction of human tribes and other fauna and flora is over- specialization –von Forrester: When you are facing uncertain futures, act so as to maximise the choices for everyone

13 Unfortunately, policy makers have challenged HE to meet these expectations without commensurate increases in funding This challenge creates a shortfall between available resources, societal expectations and HE’s own aspirations See: Herbst, 2007; Johnes and Johnes, 2008 A shortfall between resources, expectations and aspirations A shortfall between available resources and societal expectations that HE is expected to fulfill via innovation and entrepreneurialism Actual Funding Expectations of compliance, quality, research output and quality Ideal Actual Many HE institutions attempt to fulfill expectations and close this shortfall via a combination of flexible delivery and ICT/TEL

14 A shortfall between resources, expectations and aspirations Society requires HE to narrow this shortfall via innovation and entrepreneurialism –The culture of accountability and regulation restricts HE’s leeway to increase efficiency by changing its action strategies via single loop learning See Argyris, 1992

15 Society requires HE to narrow this shortfall via innovation and entrepreneurialism –Innovation and entrepreneurialism require shifting governing variables to enhance effectiveness via double loop learning See Argyris, 1992 A shortfall between resources, expectations and aspirations

16 A shortfall between resources, expectations and aspirations Society requires HE to narrow this shortfall via innovation and entrepreneurialism But without leeway for double loop learning HE faces a man- made crevasse that can lead to McDonaldization

17 “ Is there any truth in that, senor?” Flexible delivery in compliance and cost conscious cultures

18 Flexible delivery Flexible delivery is key to meeting societal expectations of access, quality and HE’s goal of personalization of the educational experience –Flexible delivery promises: “students with flexible access to learning experiences in terms of at least one of the following: time, place, pace, learning style, content, assessment and pathways” (Chen, 2003, p 25). See: Gee and Lankshear, 1995; Seddon and Angus, 2000; Moreau and Leathwood, 2006

19 Economic benefits Flexible delivery facilitates mass- HE which is integrated with work—which is itself increasingly flexible—and shifts costs and responsibility to the individual See: Hall and Atkinson, 2006

20 Economic benefits of flexible delivery In base economic terms, flexible delivery enables students to attend HE and earn wages to pay their fees In fact I was one of them

21 Educational benefits of flexible delivery Flexible delivery also provides: –A framework for androgogic learning and teaching approaches, that prepare learners for lifelong learning –A means to implement the teaching-research nexus –A way to facilitate education for those with disabilities See: Boyer Commission, 1999; Browne and Shurville, 2007; Getzel, 2008

22 Flexible delivery So flexible delivery and flexible learning represent an economic policy that is appealing to neo-liberal governments and an educational philosophy which appeals to those who want to move beyond McDonaldization and implement Nunan’s ethical post-Fordist visions

23 “Can't stand the suspense anymore …” The Copernican sunclipse of flexible delivery

24 The Copernican sunclipse Flexible, post-Fordist delivery calls for a Copernican sunclipse for traditional universities because it reverses the loci of control and convenience from academics and institutions to learners

25 From sunsight to sunclipse Unfortunately, what was designed to be a Copernican sunsight often places substantial demands upon academics, professional staff and, ironically, the learners themselves thus transforming it into a sunclipse See: Chen (2003)

26 “Son, this ain't a dream no more, it's the real thing…” Flexible delivery and mature technology-enhanced learning

27 Technology-enhanced learning and andragogy Some argue that ICT/TEL can mediate new and personalized educational experiences: –“Our perspective … is not focused on efficiency in terms of using technology to accelerate learning processes by faster delivery and distribution of learning materials. It is rather oriented towards the role of technology to enable new types of learning experiences and to enrich existing learning scenarios” (Laurillard, et al, 2009, p 289).

28 Technology-enhanced learning and the crevasse Some believe that the crevasse can be reduced by mature ICT systems and TEL that offer educational and institutional flexibility: –In Australia, for example, the application of ICT/TEL to academic and business process has recently been shown to produce cost improvements in the order of 3.3% across all Australian universities— with a range of 1.8% to 13.0%— (Worthington and Lee, 2008) See: Shurville et al, 2008b; Conole and Oliver, 2006; Balacheff et al 2009; Laurillard et al, 2009

29 Technology-enhanced learning However, the perceived low price of TEL can— oft-times erroneously—be seen to be a driver for cost conscious senior managers when the reality is more complex: –“unlike conventional forms of course delivery which require physical plant of limited capacity, many Internet-based e-learning courses have theoretically unlimited capacities. If the substantial initial costs of course creation can be invested then there is the potential for significant return on investment …. an attractive proposition to the senior managers of universities” (Williams, 2006, p 515)

30 Technology-enhanced learning can widen the crevasse Flexible delivery mediated TEL can actually be more expensive and labour intensive to implement than traditional approaches So investment decisions cannot be taken on economics alone and certainly not on naïve or optimistic assessments of either financial or educational return on investment See Guri-Rosenblit (2005) Enlarged crevasse caused by real vs. perceived cost of ICT/TEL and personal and institutional transformation Actual Cost of ICT/TEL Requirement for transformation Perceived ICT/TEL LowHigh

31 “Let's disconnect these cables, Overturn these tables …” Setting Institutional ‘Levers’ for a Sunsight

32 Levers for organizational design Simons invented a model to (a) help organizations to design effective roles in terms of resource allocation, entrepreneurialism and double-loop learning; and (b) set appropriate cultural expectations for collaboration and cooperation (Simons, 2005). It contains four levers which can be set independently from low to high Lever of resources Lever of freedom of accountability Lever of influence Lever of support LowHigh Management can shift each lever independently to the left or right

33 Lever 1: the lever of resources Sets the range of resources for which an individual is given decision rights and held accountable for performance Lever of resources Lever of freedom of accountability Lever of influence Lever of support LowHigh

34 Lever 2: the lever of freedom of accountability Sets the range of autonomy, self- definition, trade-offs of the measures used to evaluate an individual’s achievements (and empowerment / job satisfaction) Lever of resources Lever of freedom of accountability Lever of influence Lever of support LowHigh

35 Lever 3: the lever of influence Sets the size of the social network in the organization within which an individual can influence the priorities of others Lever of resources Lever of freedom of accountability Lever of influence Lever of support LowHigh

36 Lever 4: the lever of support This lever sets the amount of informal help and goodwill that anyone in the organization can expect to receive from across the organisation Lever of resources Lever of freedom of accountability Lever of influence Lever of support LowHigh

37 The entrepreneurial gap Simons argues that reining in the lever of resources while simultaneously loosening the lever of accountability creates his entrepreneurial gap which encourages individuals to solve problems in resource-light ways by practicing innovation and double-loop learning Lever of resources Lever of freedom of accountability LowHigh The entrepreneurial gap 1 2

38 Supporting the entrepreneurial gap The entrepreneurial gap can be enabled by setting high values for the levers of influence and support, which creates expectations of collegiality: everyone is expected to contribute goodwill and knowledge to innovative practice Lever of resources Lever of freedom of accountability Lever of influence Lever of support LowHigh The entrepreneurial gap

39 Settings for resources and freedom of accountability: HE The crevasse faced by HE Lever of resources Lever of freedom of accountability Resources and freedom of accountability = low Actual HE faces a crevasse rather than an entrepreneurial gap because the lever of resources and the lever of freedom of accountability are set by the regulatory environment, which is largely beyond the institution’s or the sector’s control

40 Transforming part of HE’s crevasse into an entrepreneurial gap Thesis: If institutions can implement high settings for the levers of influence and support, which are in their control, then some of the shortfall might be transformed into an entrepreneurial gap, with collegiality presenting opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship LowHigh 2 HE’s new entrepreneurial gap HE’s remaining crevasse High settings for Influence and support

41 Supporting the entrepreneurial gap in HE Due to its cultural history as a collegiate environment, HE is in a good position to set higher settings for influence and support than might be achieved in industry The cultural outcome of collegiality means that individuals and units who are narrowing the crevasse and creating an entrepreneurial gap do not have to fear undermining or other pathological behaviours, e.g. “tricks” and “black holes” (Scott, 2007, p 17) See: Becher and Trowler (2001) Lever of influence Lever of support 3 4 Collegiality

42 Shifting the lever of resources This lever is largely externally imposed by public funding We can apply expert power to ensure human and technical resources maximize educational and institutional flexibility and projects maximise stakeholder participation in development and deployment of services

43 Shifting the lever of freedom of accountability This setting is largely externally set by regulation –Academics and senior educational technologists can lobby for changes to policies for managing learning and teaching and research –Managers and senior managers can contribute by setting the levers of influence and support to enable academics and educational technologists to work in local, national and international communities of practice to lobby for evidenced change

44 Shifting the levers of influence and support These levers are set by modeling and rewarding appropriate behaviors. So it is essential that academics continue with the tradition of collegiate practice and that educational technologists establish codes of conduct that prioritize similar collegiality and transparent allegiance to theory –Establish and attend meetings of special interest groups across the campus and beyond –Engage in local, national and international mentoring schemes –Senior academics and senior educational technologists apply expert and legitimate power to upward influence cultural norms See: Shurville et al, 2008a; in press b

45 “Can you tell me what we're waiting for, Señor ?” Do you want a life beyond the golden arches?

46 Disconnecting the cables Imploring you to engage more deeply with a collegiate model of institutional culture in the face of mounting workloads is certainly a big ask

47 Overturning the tables We must choose to wrest and retain control of the two remaining levers We need to model behaviors and engage in initiatives that might transform the crevasse into an entrepreneurial gap In turn this entrepreneurial gap might help us to offer everyone, including ourselves, a life beyond the golden arches

48 Thanks to the gang at UFV for organizing “the little conference that could”... now let’s get out and do Have a great conference! “I’m ready when you are, Señor”


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