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Freedom to innovate


Deneen, CC and Prosser, M, Freedom to innovate, Educational Philosophy and Theory, 53, (11) pp. 1127-1135. ISSN 0013-1857 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia

DOI: doi:10.1080/00131857.2020.1783244


Freedom to innovate in teaching and learning are essential to meaningful higher education. Universitiesí 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 institutionís 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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:higher education, neoliberal, freedom, learning, teaching, assessment
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education systems
Research Field:Continuing and community education
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Learner and learning
Objective Field:Learner and learning not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Prosser, M (Professor Michael Prosser)
ID Code:145199
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2021-07-09
Last Modified:2021-12-07

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