Another day, another topic

Funny things are happening today. I have shifted gears in my head (again) but it feels right and more to the point it felt like somewhere I’d not been before and I was excited so I thought I’d post about it. In preparation, I re-read my previous topic posts to refresh myself of the journey I’m taking and discovered the post of 15 February actually foreshadows where I’ve got to today. This reminds me how knowledge builds on knowledge and while I feel like some days I’m drifting away from where I should be, it is all going to come together at some point in some amazing way. (well, I’ll keep telling myself)

The February post refers to how everyone has an expectation of HE and how would I reflect this in my topic. This morning I was in a complete hole over my literature review. I’d followed some rabbit holes and was going off track, getting confused about what goes in and what goes out. I went for a walk and did some thinking.

David has been telling me my third aspect is not commodification for some time. Until today I wasn’t convinced. Today I mapped out the commodification influences and agree, it’s too big for one thesis. This is why my literature review was in a hole. I have to narrow my topic again. I have arrived at two options, and if you’ve got time, big wide world (well, my FB mates), I’d be keen for your input. I’ve come to these because I can see how they come from the literature I’ve read so far. I can also see a data set to go with these. Basically my plan is to see how policy intent has changed over time through policy white papers and committee reports, see how business expectations have changed over time by exploring how accounting came to be a university course and how the associations have engaged with universities over time, and lastly examine a handful of universities’ strategic educational plans over the last 20 years and see how they have changed over time. The contribution to knowledge I’d be making is the top down view. Much of the literature about policy relates to funding, not intent. Much of the literature about business expectations relates to the failure at the chalk face, rather than the input of associations. And the literature on commodification is broad with a focus on quality education (teaching to the lowest common denominator) and the management take over of universities. So, my contribution aims to show what is happening at the top level to see if it intersects with the literature and see if it intersect with each other. The question being, what happens if there is no intersection at all?

Anyway, onto the options. Option 1:

“What does the intersection of policy intent, business expectation and universities’ education direction reveal about higher education in Australia today?”

Option 2:

“What is the impact, if any, at the intersection of policy intent, business expectation and the education direction of universities in Australia today?”

I think option 1 has a level of judgement I’m not convinced I will have the capacity to make at the end. Option 2 is a lot more open and I think will work a bit better for me. Of course, we all know the topic will change again, but I need to have something for my introductory coming up!


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