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Opinion Cards

The opinion cards are thematic distillations of the opinions being expressed in the vox pop interviews, focus groups, and related events conducted at the University of Edinburgh from 2017-2018 as part of the Near Future Teaching project. These opinion cards are the result of a thematic analysis of all data collected as part of the project. Each opinion card has theme on one side and a sample of quotes direct from the students and staff of the University of Edinburgh on the back.

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There are currently 19 cards
Opinion 1: Education should not be treated like a commodity

Opinion 1: Education should not be treated like a commodity

  • “We resist being treated as consumers, and seeing our education treated as a commodity.”
  • “It puts everyone into a box and if you don’t fit in you won’t do well.”
  • “The risk of reducing every aspect of learning ro a form of economic capital.
Opinion 2: Students should be encouraged to cooperate, not compete.

Opinion 2: Students should be encouraged to cooperate, not compete.

  • “Negative emotional consequences for many from intense competition in schooling… we should be taught without having to prove our worth.”
  • “We resist assessment systems that force us to compete instead of cooperate.”
Opinion 3: Assessment systems are one dimensional

Opinion 3: Assessment systems are one dimensional

  • “Academic performance does not reflect the ability to be a good clinician”
  • “We resist assessment systems that tell us how to teach, learn and research, and ignore extracurricular learning.”
  • “We resist hierarchies that defer to credentials before and above the learned experiences of teachers, students and non-academics on the ground.”
Opinion 4: Education should encourage creative thought

Opinion 4: Education should encourage creative thought

  • “The university should be a space for learning and un-learning.”
  • “The opportunity to wonder about stuff… I think that if you lock that off too much you will be too deterministic.”
  • “... avoid being too driven by training in some sense it should be on education that we are focussing on. It should be trying to encourage curiosity.”
Opinion 5: Students should be given the freedom to fail.

Opinion 5: Students should be given the freedom to fail

  • “Having the opportunity to fail and take risks”
  • “Is a future without failure a good future? What is the educational value of mistakes?”
Opinion 6: Disciplinary silos should be broken down

Opinion 6: Disciplinary silos should be broken down

  • “Use Technology to make it possible to explore connections between different courses and course content.”
  • “The first group designed a random curriculum generator which would force students and academics out of their disciplinary silos”
  • “That's… why we want to have interpersonal dialogues.”
Opinion 7: Diverse perspectives in education enhances learning

Opinion 7: Diverse perspectives in education enhances learning

  • “Inherent biases and prejudice should be challenged through critical engagement with literature, which is diverse in race, gender, secuality, ability.”
  • “One of my lecturers and I had a discussion about the content being quite difficult to discuss… pretty much everyone bar the four of us are very middle class.”
  • “How does what we see feed into what we believe to know, how that confirms existing biases.”
Opinion 8: Financial barriers are affecting students

Opinion 8: Financial barriers are affecting students

  • “We resist financial barriers to education, including tuition fees, hidden course costs and high costs of living.”
  • “We resist living under debt.”
Opinion 9: Precarious employment is affecting staff

Opinion 9: Precarious employment is affecting staff

  • “We resist precarious employment in all its forms - including short-term contracts, zero hour work and poverty wages.”
Opinion 10: Education is enhanced by personal exchanges

Opinion 10: Education is enhanced by personal exchanges

  • “A huge part of learning is about… discussing ideas, benefitting from someone else's experiences.”
  • “Ideas spark in the exchange between people.”
  • “There is a very different empathy when you are with people.”