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Freedom to innovate
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-21, 00:34 authored by Deneen, CC, Michael ProsserMichael Prosser
Freedom to innovate in teaching and learning are essential to meaningful higher education. Universities’ rhetorical commitments to freedom and innovation are ubiquitous and quite homogenous. Beneath the rhetoric, however, lie sharp divides between neo-liberal and Humboldtian approaches to innovation, course design, teaching and learning. This article argues that to understand the authentic approach of a university to innovation requires going beyond the rhetoric. We must instead examine context-specific experiences and understandings of the curriculum, especially in terms of teaching, learning, assessment and evaluation. Making this critical examination, we see that Humboldtian frameworks rely on broad understandings of value connected to learners and their communities. Neoliberal frameworks by contrast reduce and essentialise these understandings to customer service provision. Treating students as customers has significant implications for how innovation is defined and enacted through increasing aversion to the risks inherent to attempting innovation. Quality evaluation and assurance processes inevitably align with an institution’s authentic approach, regardless of what rhetorical commitments suggest. The article concludes by suggesting ways forward grounded in teaching, learning and evaluation. These are congruent with a Humboldtian approach and may, through their application bring the rhetoric of teaching and learning innovation into alignment with experienced reality.
Publication titleEducational Philosophy and Theory
Department/SchoolFaculty of Education
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statementCopyright 2020 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia