Monthly Archives: October 2012

New Research on the Automation of Education and the MET Program

In memory of David F. Noble, I am revisiting the automation of education and trends in the MET program here at UBC.  My first report was published in 2005: “How (and why) Digital Diploma Mills (don’t) Work: Academic Freedom, Intellectual Property Rights, Automation and UBC’s Master of Educational Technology Program.” The MET program is now ten years old and on first glance, many of the problems documented in 2005 still exist with the most poignant being a continued exploitation of sessional or part-time faculty members.  At that time, I chronicled:

MET sessionals work without basic support and for a piecemeal wage of $220 (CD) per student. When necessities, such as office space, a monthly photocopy allocation, and a phone budget were requested, the MET Coordinator asserted that these niceties are unnecessary for S2S courses (Gaskell, 2005). Laptop and workstation requests were similarly denied. After calculating the time that MET sessionals spend in attending to the everyday demands of S2S courses, remuneration for teaching MET courses disintegrates into the average national minimum wage ($7.30 per hour) or worse. (p. 51)

After ten years, none of this has changed save for a minor increase in the piecemeal wage.  After ten years, the program has yet to be submitted to a review. Once again, time for an empirical analysis of the MET program.

Reports Added for Downloadable Resources

I’ve queued up a range of reports for downloadable resources.  Some provide data and narratives for institutional histories while others provide helpful analyses of trends.  Downloadable reports include the following:

Petrina, S. (2012). Notes for a recent history of the Faculty of Education at UBC. Vancouver: UBC. (16 pp.)

Petrina, S. (2011). A brief history of media and technology in the Faculty of Education at UBC. Vancouver: UBC. (5 pp.)

Petrina, S., Gunderson, L. & Siegel, L. (2010). Concerns with CREATE’s direction [New Teacher Education Program at UBC]. Vancouver: UBC. (5 pp.)

Petrina, S. (2009). How to Govern Scholars. Vancouver: UBC. (4 pp.)

Petrina, S. (2008). Framework for Reforming the PhD Program in the Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy. Vancouver: UBC. (13 pp.)

Petrina, S. (2008). Brief history of the PhD and EdD (Doctoral) Programs in the Faculty of Education at UBC. Vancouver: UBC. (2 pp.)

Petrina, S. (2008). “Cross-Border Collaboration” and the LT in EPLT. Vancouver: UBC. (5 pp.)

Petrina, S. (2008). What is “the Faculty”? Vancouver: UBC. (8 pp.)

Petrina, S. (2008). On the history of the Centre for Cross-Faculty Inquiry (CCFI). Vancouver: UBC. (6 pp.)

Petrina, S. (2008). Observations on hiring trends in UBC’s Faculty of Education. Vancouver: UBC. (4 pp.)

Petrina, S. (2007). A brief history of the Department of Curriculum Studies [Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy]. Vancouver: UBC. (7 pp.)

“Preschools for Science” Awarded Founders’ Prize by CHEA

A recent article written with Penney Clark and Mona Gleason, “Preschools for science: The Child Study Centre at the University of British Columbia, 1960-1997,” was awarded the 2012 Founders’ Prize by the Canadian History of Education Association! The award winning article can be found in volume 52, Issue #1 of the History of Education Quarterly. 

The development of the Child Study Centre (CSC) at UBC provides a unique perspective on the complex and often contradictory relationship between child study and preschool education in postwar Canada. In this article, we detail the development and eventual closure of the CSC at UBC, focusing on the uneasy interdependencies of scientific child study research and the education of preschoolers. Similar to laboratory schools on Canadian campuses, the CSC was a strange hybrid of school and clinic, educational classroom and psychological lab, a place intended to cultivate both cutting edge research and children’s imaginations.

Postliterate Machineries

One might just as well be machinic rather than literate in the way one would “rather be a cyborg than a goddess.”  Literacies are certainly “legion,” but reach semantic saturation or exaggeration against an analog of mediation and machination.  The sheen of the “new” is worn and tarnished yet literacies are wont to saturate while exhaustion sets in against a failure to reduce or subject all to literal experience.  Of course, the saturation half of the thesis is well explored and exploited but the machinic counterpart to the literate is entirely underplayed.  To simplify, literacies signify reading and writing while machineries signify processing and designing; literacies signify acquisition and gatherings while machineries signify diffusion and assemblages.  With no intention of negating the literate, the goal of this chapter is to recognize generations and significations of machineries over time.  By tracing histories of machinic thought and documenting the exhaustion of literacies, this chapter informs and elaborates our conversation about what we have, know, or can acquire with what we became or what is becoming of human-machine assemblages, diffusion, and cyborgenic machinations.  Henceforth and once again, claims staked on dimensions of natural, cultural, and artificial experience are contested: Is it literacies or machineries at work and play?

Machineries, like literacies, are material, metaphoric, and metaphysical and one necessity is rewriting histories and philosophies of the two in analog. This chapter provides a history of machineries and literacies, beginning with a history of the Deus ex Machina. Subsequent sections trace the history of machineries, history of literacies, and contemporary renderings of the postliterate. For a copy of the chapter, email Stephen Petrina.

The New Critiquette

This article coins and juxtaposes two new concepts or terms, critiquette and scholactivism, distilled from longstanding practices.  Critiquette refers to the etiquette of critique as well as little everyday criticisms we level on each other and things we evaluate.  Scholactivism refers to scholar-activism, which has recently run up against policies designed to suppress criticism and academic freedom, and contradicts contemporary trends in the critique of critique.  Following analysis of the new critiquette policies, including respectful environment and workplace decrees, the article provides two historical narratives of critiquette.  The first is a history of the etiquette of critique and criticism while the second attends to historical and theoretical practices in the critique of critique (e.g., Latour and Ranciere).  The last section addresses the academic freedom implications of critical mannerisms.  Although the new critiquette issues from academic managers invested in critiphobia and offers a series of disturbing threats to academic freedom, criticism, and critique, old scholactivism is nevertheless on the upswing with economic and cultural protest unsettling routine academic matters. Download The New Critiquette and Old Scholactivism: A Petit Critique of Academic Manners, Managers, Matters, and Freedom