Reforming the university: evolution or revolution? – A Response

Ivory Tower

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As a ‘disenfranchised insider’ I really enjoyed reading Tony Bates’blog post ‘Reforming the university: evolution or revolution?’. In it Dr Bates discusses change in universities from a stakeholder point of view and considers Faculty, Students, Government and the Economy. He concludes by saying:

My view is that universities do need to change quite radically, and some form of direct intervention is needed to speed up the reform of the university. In other words, we need to build on academic contributions that suggest the need for and methods of change, and move these into some kind of movement for change. The stakes are high. Those countries that move quickly and successfully to bring about the much needed changes in universities will reap enormous benefits, educationally, economically and socially.

He then goes on to ask four questions of his readers.

  1. Do universities need reform? Are they meeting the needs of the 21st century as well as can be expected, or do they need to change more quickly?
  2. If they do need to change, what models or visions can we offer? What role should technology play in these models or visions?
  3. If change is needed, what is the best way to bring about change in a timely and orderly manner? Or should we not worry about whether it is orderly?
  4. Who will join me on the ramparts with my banner?

I have commented on Dr Bates’ blog but I do think it is worth expanding on some of those comments in my own post. So here are my answers to Dr Bates’ question. Read more

Wrong on so many levels


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I read an article in The Age on Tuesday titled ‘Politics wanes on the digital campus’. It was essentially about the changes in university campus life over the last forty years and it was quite an interesting read. What struck me though was the following couple of sentences:

“Online lectures make an easy symbol for the death of the traditional university experience. But they are a symptom of a changed era, not its cause. Not all staff put lectures online, and some have ways of saving the lecture theatre from redundancy, reportedly announcing that they are about to give an important exam hint — then covering the mic recording for online.”

I had to smile. This is so typical of the muddled and inconsistent thinking of many academics. Read more