Editorial: Vada a bordo
Journalists report that the expression from the Italian coast guard officer: “Vada a bordo” to the captain of the capsized “Costa Concordia”, has taken a new and wider meaning. Initially captured from a radio communication between the coast guard officer overlooking the process and the captain, it now has become a clear message from the people to their leaders about assuming the leadership they are appointed to have. In Italy, the concrete backdrop is the financial crisis, as it is in many countries affected by the same trend: a hyperactive economy based on greed and turbo capitalism. Globally, it also addresses the inabilities demonstrated by the main economic actors to get to grips with topics like the global warming, pollution and poverty.
In education there is a call for “getting back in command” in a quite parallel meaning. In the European and Western educational domain, the trend is to ask less and less about moral and ethics in schooling and upbringing, and to ponder “competencies”, “qualifications” and “employability”. The effects of the Bologna process and its subsequent agreements, declarations and policy documents, have been that the ethical and moral aspects of education have diminished. Words alluding to the social and ethical responsibility of higher education institutions are being filtered away from the rhetoric of curricula, programmes and projects. A new language of learning and learning outcomes is replacing the conventional. One of the silly effects is that the taxonomy of learning outcomes for programmes for BA, MA and PhD programmes often contains descriptions that are less academically demanding than for secondary school. The occurrence of terms like “critical thinking” is less prominent in higher education than of secondary schools in some instances. This development is so much in contrast to what the renown philosopher Ronald Barnett claim is the most challenging task for higher education: to develop courage and judgement in students to cope with uncertainness and conflicts in the supercomplex society:
The student’s being has to take centre stage. Feeling uncertainty, responding to uncertainty, gaining confidence to insert oneself amid the numerous counter-claims to which one is exposed, engaging with the enemy, and developing resilience and courage: these are matters of being. Their acquisition calls for a revolution in the pedagogical relationships within a university. (Barnett 2000, s.170-171).
Please, politicians for higher education, “VADA A BORDO!”
In this issue we bring five articles – a Russian and German paper, one Austrian, one Danish and Swedish, one Danish and a Norwegian paper. In diverse ways they all address concerns that relate to changes in knowing and how knowledge is acquired.
Thommy Eriksson, of Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and Inge Ejby Sørensen, of Copenhagen University, are both bold pioneers in their diligent work presented in the paper “Reflections on academic video”. Their ambition is to establish an academic journal for visual publications, predominantly videos. They present us for the paradox that a substantial number of academics teach visual subjects, video analysis and video production, and yet rarely disseminate and mediate via audiovisual media. They argue that documentary theory and semiotics are two critical traditions in academia that will provide the conventional credentials for establishing a new academic genre. In the journal “Audiovisual thinking” we can follow an exciting new and path breaking way of academic discourse.
In the paper “Storytelling – EDU: Educational – Digital – Unlimited? Theo Hug of the University of Innsbruck, raises the question of “Digital Storytelling” as a genre for educational purposes. He acknowledges that students are often very competent in using media and are well prepared to go beyond “writing” as a monomedial activity. The paper reflects on various understandings of the phenomenon and highlights some conceptual problems and limitations of Digital Storytelling in educational contexts.
The third paper in this edition addresses students and their use of information technologies in Russia. Alexander Porshnev, of National Research University, Nogorod, Russia and Hartmut Giest, of Potsdam University, Germany, authors of “University Students’ use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Russia: A Focus on Learning and Everyday Life”” present results derived from a comparative analysis of German and Russian students. They discuss the variance and diversity of ICT use in Russian Higher education and addresses contemporary problems in this context.
The Norwegian nursing educators Edda Johansen, Thomas Harding (also Australian) and Tone Marte Ljosaa introduce us to “Norwegian Nurses Experiences with Blended Learning: An evaluation study”. They are affiliated to the Buskerud University College and are concerned with developing fruitful and effective learning environments. In their study they focus what eventually gave nursing students confidence and a proper foundation for lifelong learning. The paper takes us on a journey to identify a best practice of blended learning.
Finally, Heidi Phillipsen of the university of Southern Denmark, asks the question how it can be possible to make an entire short film in only 48 hours? The paper: “Scaffolded filmmaking in PlayOFF: A playground for worldwide film experiments” describes a particular method developed for producing films. It was initially a hallmark of modern Danish film production and has been refined and explicated by Heidi Philipsen, and then applied to the online film contest PlayOFF in Odense, a regional capital of Fyn, Southern Denmark. The paper addresses how scaffolding filmmaking affects creativity and how the experiences from two film contests may apply to an educational context.
Barnett, Ronald (2000) Realizing the university in an age of supercomplexity Buckingham : Society for Research
into Higher Education & Open University Press