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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Moray House School of Education and Sport : Education

Postgraduate Course: Philosophy and Policy in Higher Education (EDUA11422)

Course Outline
SchoolMoray House School of Education and Sport CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will begin with two central questions: what are the aims of Higher Education?, and how should Higher Education systems be funded? It will be emphasised that how policy-makers and university leaders answer and respond to these two questions shapes the way in which HE is conducted. The course shows that there can be many different answers to these two key questions about the aims and funding of Higher Education, and in turn this influences how a number of contemporary discourses, such as widening participation, internationalisation and massification, and student satisfaction might impact on the sector. The course will consider how policy and wider economic/social forces (such as the rise of capitalism) have shaped the HE system in the UK, as compared to that of other countries including China, the USA, Australia, and Europe.
Course description Students on the course will be invited to explore a number of current discourses and policy agendas in Higher Education from a philosophical perspective. While reference will be made to the works of different educational philosophers, students themselves will philosophise as they reason about questions of value and justification that often lie behind common questions of education policy. Alongside the two central questions framing this course (what is Higher Education for and how should it be funded?), students will also consider questions such as:

How does the neoliberal model of HE influence academic-student relationships?
Are students 'consumers' of their university education?
What does it mean to 'widen participation' under the current funding system?
What do the terms 'research excellence' and 'teaching excellence' mean in practice?

These questions will be considered through an engagement with current literature and policy documents; students will be encouraged to reflect on their own experiences of Higher Education, in the UK and elsewhere, to inform their philosophical analysis of issues.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 11/01/2021
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 16, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 180 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Group presentation (15% weighting) on students' topic of choice, followed by an individual critical writing task based on one aspect of the presentation (15% weighting, 500 words).
2. Essay (70% weighting, 2500 words).
Feedback Students will be given formative feedback on their essay plans prior to submission. Informal feedback will also be given by tutors during workshops.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify and be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of the key policy debates influencing the field of Higher Education at the present time
  2. Write philosophically about core questions and issues pertaining to Higher Education
  3. Critically reflect on how the philosophical literature relates to Higher Education policy and practice
  4. Evaluate the impact of recent policy initiatives on teaching and learning processes in Higher Education
Reading List
Barnett, R. (2015). Thinking and Rethinking the University: The selected works of Ronald Barnett. London: Routledge.

Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). (2011). Students at the heart of the system. London: Stationary Office.

Gibbs, P. (2015). Happiness and education: Troubling students for their own contentment. Time & Society, 24(1), 54-70.

Johansen, U.V., Knudsen, F.B., Kristoffersen, C., Rasmussen, J., Steffen, E.S., and Sund, K.J. (2017). Political discourse on higher education in Denmark: from enlightened citizen to homo economicus. Studies in Higher Education, 42(2), 264-277.

Macfarlane, B. (2017). Freedom to Learn: The threat to student academic freedom and why it needs to be reclaimed. London: Routledge.

Molesworth, M., Scullion, R., and Nixon, E. (2011). The Marketisation of Higher Education and the Student as Consumer. London: Routledge.

Olssen, M., & Peters, M.A. (2005). Neoliberalism, higher education and the knowledge economy: from the free market to knowledge capitalism. Journal of Education Policy, 20 (3), 313-345

Ortega y Gasset, J. (1946). Mission of the University. London: Routledge.

Peters, M.A. (Ed.). (2002). Heidegger, Education, and Modernity. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.

Rawolle, S., Rowlands, J., and Blackmore, J. (2017). The implications of contractualisation for the responsibilisation of higher education. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 38(1), 109-122.

Scottish Government. (2010). Building a smarter future: Towards a sustainable Scottish solution for the future of higher education. Green paper. Edinburgh, Scotland.

Smith, R. (2003a). Thinking With Each Other: The Peculiar Practice of the University. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 37(2), 309-323.

Smith, R. (2003b). Unfinished Business: education without necessity. Teaching in Higher Education, 8(4), 477-491.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking; argumentation skills (both written and oral); knowledge of Higher Education systems.
Keywordsphilosophy,policy,philosophy of education,Higher Education
Course organiserDr Claire Skea
Tel: (0131 6)51 6233
Course secretaryMrs Alta Mene
Tel: (0131 6)51 6381
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