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Distance and e-learning, social justice, and development: The relevance of capability approaches to the mission of open universities | Tait | IRRODL 14(4): (2013)

October 2, 2013

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“The programmes of study that are adopted by an open university represent significant strategic choices as to the most effective way to deliver on its development aims. This creates a qualitatively different rationale for curriculum strategy than the inheritance of classic disciplines or indeed the primacy of academic choice or preference. This can bring significant tension with the traditional understanding of many academics as to how university curriculum should be constructed and their rights within that process. With the adoption of the capability approach as an overarching framework an institution has to ask itself explicit questions as to how it will help students exercise their freedom ‘to be and to do’. Thus programmes of study need to be adopted and developed that will empower successful students to make choices about the sort of person they aspire to be, and the ways in which they gain livelihoods. In other words programmes of study need to centre themselves on outcomes for students. These choices derive from students present and future, supported but not supplanted by the academic and professional skills in the university.”

[op. cit., 12th page]

Manuel J. Matos‘s insight:

I wonder why these types of strategies should be only aims of open or distance universities. I’m quite comfortable with them being aims also of traditional universities. In fact, the institutions should be, always, a little more student centered than professor centered. Academics are always a bit too off the regular world, too self centered. Can these institutions of higher education change?

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