Interesting article in Times Higher Education – I have DIY U – not read it yet though!

Few scholarly cheers for author’s ‘branded’ vision of accessible higher education. Sarah Cunnane writes

In 2008, a diverse group of people working in and around higher education decided they were – in the words of the film Network – “mad as hell, and not going to take it any more”.

The cause: the omnipresence of “cookie-cutter” content management systems for teaching such as Blackboard and the focus on new technology as a force for change, rather than on the potential of the community around that technology.

The result: edupunk. The term was coined by Jim Groom, instructional technology specialist in the arts and humanities at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, and it was quickly adopted by a group of academics, mainly in the US and Canada, who wanted students to create their education rather than merely consume it.

On his blog, Groom has described the importance of the work of edupunks, who he says are working in opposition to “the decline of higher ed into a series of feeding lots for the private sector job market”.

The definition of edupunk is somewhat loose, as preferred by its creator and early adopters. The New York Times defined the term as “an approach to teaching that avoids mainstream tools like PowerPoint and Blackboard, and instead aims to bring the rebellious attitude and D.I.Y. ethos of ’70s bands like The Clash to the classroom”.

However, The Edupunks’ Guide to a DIY Credential, a new self-published e-book by journalist and author Anya Kamenetz, has ignited an argument about the use of the term and what it stands for.

“It’s a word that has had a lot of different meanings, but it appeals to people,” Kamenetz says.

“Everybody loves the idea of being a bit rebellious, and the idea that I’m trying to get across is that there is a student-centric way to approach higher education.

An interesting debate to follow….

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