Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Power Without Responsibility' keyword pg.1 of 1
02 DECEMBER 2012

University students face a constant stream of questionnaires designed to assess the standard of their courses

"I'm more bothered by the underlying assumptions about what makes good university teaching that lie behind many of these surveys. You can see them particularly clearly in the National Student Survey, and the reams of student feedback it publishes online – explicitly, so it says, to help prospective students choose a good course, and to help universities 'enhance the student learning experience'. ...

OK, I can see how at first sight that might seem obvious. Who, after all, wants to see their kids go off to university, at great expense, for a diet of dis–satisfaction? But, from where I sit, dissatisfaction and discomfort have their own, important, role to play in a good university education. We're aiming to push our students to think differently, to move out of their intellectual comfort zone, to read and discuss texts that are almost too hard for them to manage. It is, and it's meant to be, destabilizing.

At the same time, we're urging them never to be satisfied with the arguments they are presented with, never to take things on trust, always to challenge, always to see the weak points, or to want to push the argument further. Then along comes the National Survey, treats them as consumers, and asks them if they're satisfied."

(Mary Beard, BBC News, 2 December 2012)

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TAGS

2012anonymityassumptionsbureaucratic reductionchallenging conventional thinkingcomfort zoneconsumer culturecriticismcustomer satisfactiondepersonalising • destabilizing • discontent • dissatisfactionHigher Education Funding Council • honesty • Mary Beard • National Student Surveyperformativitypower without responsibilityquestionnaire • RateMyProfessor • satisfaction • satisfied consumers • satisfied students • student feedback • student learning experience • suggestions • surveysurvey form • survey-fatigue • surveysteaching • think differently • TripAdvisor • trusttrust and reliabilityundergraduateuniversityuniversity educationuniversity teaching • useful comments

CONTRIBUTOR

Phil Nodding
19 JANUARY 2011

The Fountainhead: parodying the absurdity of easy empiricism

Peter: "What do you think of this building? I'm taking a poll of the guests..." Dominique: – "A what?" Peter: "– A poll of opinion about it". Dominique: "What for? In order to find out what you think of it yourself?" Peter: "We have to consider public opinion, don't we?"

[After approaching Dominique Francon at the Enright Building opening – Peter Keating makes the assumption that Dominique Francon shares his faith in polling for deciding the worth of design.]

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audience reaction • audience response • ballot • customer satisfaction • DCD • design by committeedesigner-centred design • Dominique Francon • easy empiricismend user studies • group opinion • impromptu straw poll • investment in mediocrity • limitations of quantitative methodologiesmediocrityopinionopinion pollsPatricia Neal • perpetuating mediocrity • Peter Keating • pollingpollspower without responsibilitypublic decision-making • public opinion • reinforcing prejudice • seeking approval • simple evaluations • straw poll • straw vote • testing perpetuates mediocritytesting processThe Fountainheaduninformed opinionuninformed perspectivesunqualified opinionusability testinguser testinguser-based evaluationwhat I reckon

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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