Seminars

Unbundled Higher Education – exploring the potential impacts on learners and learning

Neil Morris, School of Education, University of Leeds.

Key Debates Seminar: The Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), Lancaster University, April 2019

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The market, digital technology and the unbundled university

Neil Morris, School of Education, University of Leeds.

King’s Online Conference, Kings College London, July 2018

Summary: In this presentation, I will present findings from our ESRC Newton funded research project, conducted in collaboration with the University of Cape Town, South Africa.  I will focus on the data collected in the UK from senior managers, academics and students which provides insight into the changing nature of Higher Education in the UK as a result of marketisation, digital technology and the unbundling of educational provision.  I will discuss the possible implications of the increasing marketisation and unbundling of educational provision on the student experience, academic activity and the future of universities.

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Unbundling Higher Education: A New Site of Contestation for Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, and Assessment?

Unbundling Higher Education: A New Site of Contestation for Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, and AssessmentAlan Cliff and Rebecca Swartz, Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT), University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Research Centre for Digital Learning Seminar, Tuesday September 12th, 12.30 – 2pm, Coach House, Hillary Place, School of Education, University of Leeds, UK

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Abstract

This seminar grapples in particular with the opportunities and challenges for curriculum (teaching, learning and assessment) presented by processes of unbundling in public higher education institutions in South Africa (and by implication in the U.K. and elsewhere). By “unbundling”, we refer here to the increasing presence and impact of curriculum disaggregation and “repackaging” occurring as a consequence of growing marketisation and digitisation of higher education in South African higher education and elsewhere internationally.

The seminar commences with a brief description of the research project which has brought us to Leeds at this time and on the collaboration between Leeds and Cape Town universities in the project researching unbundling in the higher education space. The seminar then moves in the main to a focus on the changing nature of curriculum offerings in an unbundling landscape. Given that the research project is currently at an early stage, this seminar offers primarily a theoretical and analytical perspective on challenges and contestations presented by curriculum unbundling, although some reference will be made to emerging empirical data drawn from initial interviews with South African higher education stake-holders.

The analytical aspects of the presentation will draw on Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) as a lens through which to view unbundling, marketisation and digitisation as processes interacting with curriculum. Unbundling as process will be proposed as impacting on – and being impacted upon – by core components of what is referred to in CHAT as the “activity triangle”. If we assume “activity” here to mean a dialectical, goal-directed, purposive and socially-situated system, it will be argued that both curriculum and unbundling are constituted of these features. Using the key conceptual tools of CHAT – subject/object; means of production; division of labour; community; rules – the seminar will offer the “activity” of unbundling as being in dynamic and productive tension with the “activity” of curriculum. The seminar will argue this tension to be “real” and mutating and will propose responsiveness to this site of contestation to be a significant and “power-full” challenge in contemporary South African higher education.