Mariya P. Ivancheva, Rebecca Swartz, Neil P. Morris, Sukaina Walji, Bronwen J. Swinnerton, Taryn Coop & Laura Czerniewicz(2020)Conflicting logics of online higher education,British Journal of Sociology of Education,DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2020.1784707
The advent of massive open online courses and online degrees offered via digital platforms has occurred in a climate of austerity. Public universities worldwide face challenges to expand their educational reach, while competing in international rankings, raising fees and generating third-stream income. Online forms of unbundled provision offering smaller flexible low-cost curricular units have promised to disrupt this system. Yet do these forms challenge existing hierarchies in higher education and the market logic that puts pressure on universities and public institutions at large in the neoliberal era? Based on fieldwork in South Africa, this article explores the perceptions of senior managers of public universities and of online programme management companies. Analysing their considerations around unbundled provision, we discuss two conflicting logics of higher education that actors in structurally different positions and in historically divergent institutions use to justify their involvement in public–private partnerships: the logic of capital and the logic of social relevance.
Unbundling – the disaggregation of educational provision and its delivery, often via digital technologies
Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s (2006) framework of different orders of justification, connecting them to the sociological literature on institutional logics
We suggest that more explicit and nuanced national and institutional policies need to be produced around unbundled provision, which are cognisant of emerging trends in and dangers to the evolution of unbundling at public universities.
Unbundling the traditional university ‘bundle’ affects not only property, services and facilities, but also administration, evaluation, issuing credentials and even teaching (Wallhaus 2000, 22). This process involves separating educational provision (e.g. degree programmes) into component parts (e.g. courses) for delivery by multiple stakeholders, often using digital approaches (Swinnerton et al. 2018). Universities can unbundle on their own, offering individual credit-bearing modules outside bounded disciplinary curricula, or in partnership with OPM providers, offering MOOCs or credit-bearing courses or programmes. Proponents of unbundling suggest that the disaggregation of television and music production and its re-aggregation as on-demand digital content like Netflix or Spotify could represent a template for universities (Craig 2015; McIntosh 2018).
The introduction of market logic into the sector happens even if higher education is a stratified positional pseudo-market with scarce excludible resources only available to groups with access to a few prestigious institutions; its outcomes and value are difficult to measure in purely economic terms
Under accelerated marketisation, Tomlinson (2018, 714 and 724) argues, higher education is reduced to the latter frame and measured in terms of income generation, employability, consumption and performativity. Building on this framework, and relating it to unbundling, we identify the emergence of two organisational logics of higher education: the logic of social relevance and the logic of capital.
Institutional logics are ‘supra-organizational patterns of activity by which individuals and organizations produce and reproduce their material subsistence … [and] symbolic systems, ways of ordering reality… rendering experience of time and space meaningful’ (Friedland and Alford 1991, 243). Unlike new institutionalism, which remained focused on processes of institutional isomorphism or the replacement of a static single logic by another, the institutional logics perspective offers a more dynamic multi-level view: a plurality of logics coexist in complex interrelations within organisational fields like higher education
Launched in 2000 as a project of the OECD, the PISA is administered every three years to nationally representative samples of students in each OECD country and in a growing number of partner countries and subnational units such as Shanghai. The 74 education systems that participated in the latest PISA study, conducted during 2009, represented more than 85% of the global economy and included virtually all of the United States’ major trading partners, making it a particularly useful source of information on U.S. students’ relative standing.
The United States’ historical advantage in terms of educational attainment has long since eroded, however. U.S. high-school graduation rates peaked in 1970 at roughly 80% and have declined slightly since, a trend often masked in official statistics by the growing number of students receiving alternative credentials, such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
in many respects the U.S. higher education system remains the envy of the world. Despite recent concerns about rapidly increasing costs, declining degree completion rates, and the quality of instruction available to undergraduate students, U.S. universities continue to dominate world rankings of research productivity. The 2011 Academic Rankings of World Universities, an annual publication of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, placed eight U.S. universities within the global top 10, 17 within the top 20, and 151 within the top 500. A 2008 RAND study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense found that 63% of the world’s most highly cited academic papers in science and technology were produced by researchers based in the United States. Moreover, the United States remains the top destination for graduate students studying outside of their own countries, attracting 19% of all foreign students in 2008. This rate is nine percentage points higher than the rate of the closest U.S. competitor, the United Kingdom.
Abel, H. (1959). Polytechnische Bildung und Berufserziehung in internationaler Sicht. International Review of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft / Revue Internationale de l’Education, 5(4), 369–382. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01417254
At one time it was left to teachers and administrators to decide exactiy what level of math proficiency should be expected of students. But, increasingly, states, and the federal government itself, have established proficiency levels that students are asked to reach. A national proficiency standard was set by the board that governs the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which is administered by the U.S. Department of Education and generally known as the nation’s report card.
a crosswalk between NAEP and PISA. The crosswalk is made possible by the fact that representative (but separate) samples of the high-school graduating Class of 2011 took the NAEP and PISA math and reading examinations. NAEP tests were taken in 2007 when the Class of 2011 was in 8th grade and PISA tested 15-year-olds in 2009, most of whom are members of the Class of 2011. Given that NAEP identified 32 percent of U.S. 8th-grade students as proficient in math, the PISA equivalent is estimated by calculating the minimum score reached by the top-performing 32 percent of U.S. students participating in the 2009 PISA test. (See methodological sidebar for further details.)
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CAO perspectives: The role of general education objectives in career and technical programs in the United States and Europe
by Schanker, Jennifer Ballard, Ed.D., National-Louis University, 2011, 162; 3459884
Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard University’s first and only female president
1) Do It For The Right Reasons.
As a history professor early in her career, Drew never envisioned crossing over to university administration, “what my faculty colleagues call the ‘dark side.’” She would raise her hand for leadership tasks not because she wanted to get noticed, but because she felt it was “good citizenship to serve others.”
2) Don’t Be Afraid To Take The Leap.
3) Define Yourself Publicly, Or Others Will Do It For You.
“If you don’t define yourself publicly, someone else will, and it will likely be according to stereotypes,”
4) Gender Is Always An Issue, But Don’t Let It Derail You.
5) Understand That True Leadership Happens In The “Grey Space.”
Being the head of an organization often involves picking between the best of two imperfect choices, forging a path without having all of the facts, or breaking a tie between two competing factions.
6) Spend Political Capital To Plow The Path For Authentic Diversity And Inclusion.
Principals trained and supported by New Leaders — a New York City-based nonprofit — are contributing to higher student achievement and staying in their jobs longer than those hired through other preparation programs, a new RAND Corp. study shows.
Students attending K-8 schools that have had a New Leaders principal for at least three years score at least 3% higher in math and roughly 2% higher in English language arts (ELA) than students with school leaders prepared in other ways.
The RAND researchers found that specific aspects of being a leader — specifically competencies related to instruction, and adult and team leadership — were more closely associated with increases in student achievement.
What New Leaders calls “cultural capital,” which includes skills related to “cultural leadership” and “operational leadership,” was more closely linked to retention.
A 2017 Stanford University study showed that academic growth among CPS students in grades 3-8 was increasing at a faster rate than in most districts in the nation.
But seldom has this level of attention from students and employees been so focused on the finances of their own campuses. It coincides with what polls disclose is falling public confidence in higher education. And given the results, it seems likely to create more, not less, mistrust.
Higher education has become a popular public target. Fifty-eight percent of people polled by the think tank New Americasaid colleges and universities put their own interests ahead of those of students. About the same proportion in a Public Agenda survey said colleges care mostly about the bottom line, and 44 percent said they’re wasteful and inefficient. And a Gallup poll found that more than half of Americans have only some, or very little, confidence in higher education.
We want to see greater transparency in how they spend our money. And it is our money, most of it,” since such a large percentage of the budget comes from tuition
Rural school leaders have some of the most complex, multifaceted jobs in education. They also have some of the highest turnover. Half of all new principals quit their jobs within three years, according to a 2014 study. A national survey released in July found that principals in rural school districts are even less likely than their urban and suburban counterparts to stay at their school the following year and more likely to leave the profession altogether. The schools they preside over, meanwhile, often struggle with persistent poverty, low college-going rates and extreme racial disparities in student outcomes.