Can students simply be consumers?

Credit CardUsing the analogy of requiring effort to go to a gym, higher education requires a significant input from students … they cannot simply “buy” a degree off the shelf:

Professor Enders said he did not believe it was truly possible to create a market in higher education with a range of fees, as the coalition government set out to do in 2010, because “you cannot really know about the value” of a degree.

The difficulty of judging education – whether by the skills it imparts, by the extra income and employability it brings or by some other measure – made it hard accurately to gauge the value of a course, he argued.

Similarly, there was a “problem” with higher education being treated as a “commodity” to be bought and sold by a consumer, Professor Enders said, because university needs some effort on the part of the student.

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Student as Producer: A Pedagogy for the Avant-Garde; or, how do revolutionary teachers teach? Mike Neary (via :@ariadnacruzv)

In this paper I set out the intellectual ideas that lie behind the concept of Student as Producer, and how that idea is being developed across the sector and at the University of Lincoln.  The theoretical basis for my work is derived from critical social theory grounded in avant-garde Marxism that developed in Soviet Russia after the Bolshevik uprising in 1917, before being suppressed by Stalin, and a group of modernist Marxists working in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. A key issue for Student as Producer is that social learning is more than the individual learning in a social context, and includes the way in which the social context itself is transformed through progressive pedagogic practice. This transformation includes the institution within which the pedagogical activities are taking place, and the society out of which the particular institution is derived. At a time when the market-based model for social development appears increasingly untenable, the creation of a more progressive and sustainable social world becomes ever more necessary and desirable. Work on developing the principles and practice of Student as Producer are currently funded through the National Teaching Fellowship Project Scheme 2010-2013.

Read the paper. Thanks to Ariadna Cruz for alerting me to the full details of this project, that I’d tweeted about: