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  • 51.
    Nilsson, Monica
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet, Barn- och ungdomsvetenskapliga institutionen.
    Wihlborg, Monne
    Lunds universitet.
    Higher Education as Commodity or Space for Learning: Modelling Contradictions in Educational Practices2011In: Power and Education, ISSN 1757-7438, E-ISSN 1757-7438, Vol. 3, no 2, p. 104-116Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this article the authors reflect upon and critically examine signs of a contradiction in higher education which they discuss in terms of the tension between ‘use value’ and ‘exchange value’. Use value here represents learning as something valuable ‘in itself’, whereas exchange value represents learning as an achievement of grades and credits to be ‘traded’ on a market. Their aim in this article is to present a model based on the concepts of use value and exchange value, clarifying how they might relate to surface and deep approaches to learning. The model is suggested as a device to explore and analyse local tensions emanating from the contradiction. They also argue in favour of a pedagogical philosophy based on the notion of community. 

  • 52.
    Nilsson, Monica
    et al.
    Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Sektionen för management.
    Wihlborg, Monne
    Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Sektionen för management.
    Reneland-Forsman, Linda
    Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Sektionen för management.
    Will this be on the exam?: The tension between use value and exchange value in higher education and its relation to forms of learning2007Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores discourses in higher education viewing two pairs of concepts, on the one hand, the concepts of use- vs. exchange value and on the other, the concepts of deep vs. surface learning. Drawing on Yrjö Engeströms’ position of use- vs. exchange value, and his elaboration on the activity system, we assert that any component in an activity system combines two inherent forces which compete yet presuppose one other. It is this dialectical relationship which makes systems dynamic and thus change over time. The paper is based on an empirical study using data from a distance- and net based course in general pedagogy at a Swedish university. In the context of higher education, the tension between use- and exchange value is present on a daily basis in the life and work of instructors and students. A student has to pay attention to rules and regulations that form the structure of the educational institution. For example, the Swedish educational system requires that a student maintain a certain number of credits per semester in order to qualify for a study loan. On the other hand, the university’s state funding is based on how many students pass their exams. For the student, the credit requirement often leads to a strategic approach to learning governed by a wish to pass the test as the major goal. For the instructor, the funding rule compels her to organize the interpreted curriculum so that the content of the course becomes achievable within the course time limit and the level of achievement is measurable. Thus, the student and the instructor have a shared interest. We define these interests as the exchange value of education. However, both the instructor and the student have an interest in reaching a goal beyond the immediate satisfaction of obtained credits. This goal is about developing competence, capabilities, skills and insights held as important in higher education. We define these goals as use value of education. At a first glance one would tend to relate the exchange value of education with what has been defined as the surface approach to learning (Marton & Booth, 1997). The surface approach to learning focuses on what can be called the sign, for example, a text itself (ibid). This implies that memorization, replication and rote learning become the main approaches to learning. A student’s attitude rests on the belief that knowledge is to be declared as rather fixed answers and tested in terms of right and wrong. This is in contrast to the belief that knowledge is constructed through an understanding of complex phenomenon and concepts involving the act of relating previous knowledge and experiences with new knowledge. On the other hand, the concept of the deep approach to learning could easily be related to the use value of education since this approach focuses on what which is signified, for example, the meaning of a text. The deep approach to learning also focuses on using organizing principles to integrate ideas (Marton & Booth, 1997). Hence, this approach leads to a more durable and complex set of competencies, skills, and insights. However, under present conditions this approach might require a longer process, which might not be available within the existing institutional structures. Thus, we assert that, there are a bound to be consequences for higher education in terms of the quality of learning. In this paper, though, we are interested in understanding the dialectical relationship between use- and exchange value and the link to learning. Thus, we want to go beyond the immediate perception of the relationship between exchange value and surface learning, on the one hand, and use value and deep level learning, on the other. In this paper we ask the following two questions. What are the signs of use- and exchange value in communication between students and instructors in higher education? How are manifestations of use- and exchange value approached by students and instructors in higher education aiming at a deep approach to leaning? Thus, the purpose of the paper is to contribute to an understanding of the dialectical tension in the object of the activity of higher education and its relationship to forms of learning. With forms of learning we here refer to surface- and deep approaches to learning but we might also include expansive learning though that is not the main focus of this study. On an applied level, higher education institutions aiming at deep approach to learning and durable and complex competencies, skills, and insights should benefit from this study.

  • 53.
    Nocon, Honorine
    et al.
    University of Colorado, Denver, USA.
    Nilsson, Monica
    Blekinge Institute of Technology.
    Cole, Michael
    University of California, San Diego, USA.
    Spiders, Firesouls, and Little Fingers: Necessary Magic in University–Community Collaboration2004In: Anthropology & Education Quarterly, ISSN 0161-7761, E-ISSN 1548-1492, Vol. 35, no 3, p. 368-385Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    On the basis of extensive research on university–community collaborative education projects in southern California and southern Sweden, this article proposes two roles and a research strategy and approach as elements essential to sustained collaboration. Recognition and fulfillment of the roles of “spider” and “firesoul,” while “leading with the little finger,” contribute to educational anthropology by linking qualitative and ethnographic research with university and community learning, practice, and service in a process of involvement.

  • 54.
    Nocon, Honorine
    et al.
    University of Colorado.
    Nilsson, Monica E.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, School Based Research, Preschool Education Research.
    Gentle partnerships: learning from the fifth dimension2014In: Pedagogy in Higher Education: A Cultural Historical Approach / [ed] Gordon Wells, Anne Edwards, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, p. 228-243Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 55.
    Sarja, Annelie
    et al.
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
    Poikonen, Pirjo-Liisa
    University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
    Nilsson, Monica
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, School Based Research, Preschool Education Research. Stockholms universitet, Barn- och ungdomsvetenskapliga institutionen, Förskoledidaktik.
    Interprofessional Collaboration in Supporting Transition to School2012In: Transitions and Transformations in Learning and Education / [ed] Päivi Tynjälä, Marja-Leena Stenström, Marjatt Saanivaara, Dordrecht: Springer, 2012, 1, p. 87-101Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter presents a cyclic model of interprofessional collaboration to support children in their transition from preschool to school. The conceptual model is based on activity theory and the concepts of expansive learning and boundary crossing. The expansive cycles of interprofessional teamwork are described as the connections between the team versus the collective and also as internalization versus externalization levels of activities. The process involves the following four expansive phases:

    1. Selecting a problem of boundary work (the team, internalization)

    2. The analysis of systemic level contradictions (the collective, internalization)

    3. The development of new boundary-crossing forms of joint activities (the collective, externalization)

    4. Adapting these new actions to practice (the team, externalization)

    In this chapter, these phases of boundary work are outlined in a review of theory, earlier research findings and empirical data. Developmental intervention is the method through which expansive learning cycles are facilitated.

  • 56.
    Sutter, Berthel
    et al.
    Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Sektionen för management.
    Nilsson, Monica
    Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Sektionen för management.
    Netbased student research - an attempt to make university education productive2006Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The paper presents an empirical project organised as netbased education. The aim of the project is to test the possiblity to make university education productive through inclusion of students in a research project. The idea is that undergraduate students are able to make contributions to the collaborative knowledge building process that makes up the research activity. The first part of the paper puts the empirical project in context by describing how education and research at the university have historically emerged, and which role the undergraduate student is expected to play. The second part tells about the empirical project, which was conducted as a collective research project within the framework of undergraduate education. Students from three classes in ”Education – a basic course” were involved, together with the researchers/lecturers of the course. The undergraduate students´ contribution to the research project consisted of two guided tasks: first, observation of a lecture in a class in a compulsory school in Sweden and writing a field note on that observation, and, second, conducting and recording an interview. The third and final part of the paper discusses what has been accomplished in the collaborative and netbased project.

  • 57.
    Sutter, Berthel
    et al.
    Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Sektionen för management.
    Nilsson, Monica
    Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Sektionen för management.
    Productive learning supported by ICT - a way of overcoming the grammar of schooling?2007Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The point of departure of the paper is that today´s school has a form that once probably was necessary for the fostering of a theoretical or reflective attitude to knowledge, but now has turned into a fetter of learning. This fact goes by many names, for example, the confinement of the school, the grammar of schooling, the inertia of traditional education. Hence, the need for the disruption of the grammar of schooling. In the call for this CAL´07 conference it is asked: ”Which current, and imminent, technological and conceptual developments are having, or could have, a disruptive effect on learning organisations?” The short answer of this paper is: a conception of student-involvement in productive learning supported by ICT, appropriately designed. Over the years, we have been involved in several attempts to overcome the grammar of schooling and develop a kind of learning that we interchangingly have called ”explorative”, ”productive” and ”expansive”. We will discuss three of those attempts. The first is a large project in primary and secondary school in the north of Sweden during the 1980´s. The second is our contribution, since a decade, to an internationally spread idea of meaningful learning called the Fifth Dimension. The third are forms of netbased and distance education that we recently have run and still are running. All three projects share three features. First, they were guided by the idea of productive learning. Second, the confinement of the school was broken up, and finally, ICT played a crucial role as a vehicle to achieve the goals of the projects. In this paper we use the term ”productive” to characterise the kind of learning that we have been aiming at. The term indicates two things. First, that learning of what is societally given (what students don´t know but teachers do) may be appropriated in a constructive fashion. Second, that the object of learning is what is not yet there, i.e. learning the societal new, in a collaborative manner, including teachers and other more knowledgeable people. And we always are putting more emphasis on ”learning the new”. Regarding ICT, we do not take for granted that it automatically is supportive to education and learning. In the three cases, we will present how information and communication technology, implicit of a modern digital sort, has been involved in the educational endeavour, supportive and not that supportive. Thus, not any kind of ICT will do. Our suggestion is that we need ”smart uses of existing technology in an educational framework”. In the paper we will explain what we mean by ”smart uses”, ”existing technology” and ”educational framework”.

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