A posthumanist critique of flexible online learning and its “anytime anyplace” claims
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Flexible approaches to online learning are gaining renewed interest in some part due to their capacity to address emergent opportunities and concerns facing higher education. Importantly, flexible approaches to online learning are purported to be democratizing and liberatory, broadening access to higher education and enabling learners to participate in educational endeavors at “anytime” from “anyplace.” In this article, we critique such narratives by showing that flexibility is neither universal nor neutral. Using critical theory we demonstrate how flexibility assumes imagined autonomous learners that are self-reliant and individualistic. Through relevant examples we show how such a framing to flexibility is oppressive, and argue that a contextual, relative, and relational understanding of flexibility may in fact be more liberatory. Such an approach to flexibility, for example, may involve contextual and relational efforts to relax prescribed curricula within courses or programs of study.
DescriptionThe version of record is available at https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12779.
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