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Wednesday, November 27 • 10:45 - 11:50
Has “Opening” Higher Education Imperiled the Commons?

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Session Table Name: NAPOLI

Has “open”, which we normally associate with positive effects, actually had unintended negative consequences for higher education?

This World Cafe discussion considers that question using the lens of higher education as a commons. My current research indicates the answer is yes and I have posited a framework and narrative for how, at least for the United States, that has happened.

The question for participants at this café table is: Does this ring true for your country, culture, or institution? Has efforts to “open” access to higher education, that is, to greatly scale participation in higher education and educate more students, actually had the negative unintended consequence of changing the nature of higher education itself? Have technological changes that have “opened” the campus also resulted in commodification of learning itself and attempts to enclose the commons?

The discussion will open with a brief of the higher education-as-commons institutional framework first presented at the OER19 conference and updated with a brief narrative of how two waves of “open” in the United States have actually had negative unintended consequences. The first wave was the effort to greatly scale participation in higher education and resulted in the burea-state and firm-market orientations exerting dominance in colleges and universities to the detriment of the learning commons. The second wave has been the technological wave that has resulted in publisher efforts to enclose the commons as a means to replace the control they once had via the printing press.

With the help of participants I aim to explore the hypothesis that this is a global phenomenon and not just a United States narrative. If so, it may shed light on how we may collectively reassert open as a positive force that supports the commons.

avatar for Jim Luke

Jim Luke

Prof. Economics / Open Learning Lab, Lansing Community College
Known as Econproph on the webs. I'm Professor of Economics & Open Learning Faculty Fellow in the Center for Teaching Excellence at Lansing Community College. I write about open and the economics of higher education and the commons - see my blog at econproph.com. Inventor & innovator... Read More →

Wednesday November 27, 2019 10:45 - 11:50 CET
BL27 ground floor north corridor - World Cafe