New free online course on how to use academic freedom

May 28, 2018

Scholars at Risk, the New-York based international network of institutions for protecting scholars and promoting academic freedom, and the University of Oslo, Norway, have jointly developed a free online course on how to use academic freedom to ask critical questions and contribute to a democratic society.

The course is aimed first at anyone in higher education – leadership, administrators, academic staff and students. Second, the course is aimed at anyone outside the sector who has an opinion about higher education, especially critical opinions.  You can register for the course through this link.

The course, ‘Dangerous questions: Why academic freedom matters’, will begin from 4 June and is available online on FutureLearn. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/06/23/scholars-at-risk-publishes-first-academic-freedom-monitoring-report-free2think/]

Quinn told University World News: “Higher education is undergoing historic transformation, and this adds confusion and puts pressure on academic freedom. The course aims to help members of the higher education sector better understand the values at the centre of higher education, and by doing so, offers a compass and a set of tools for navigating the current environment. “The course argues that higher education has an affirmative social responsibility – that is, the responsibility to use the freedom and autonomy afforded to it by the state and society for the widest public good….But meeting that responsibility can be dangerous or even very dangerous and that means the public also has an affirmative responsibility – to defend higher education leaders, scholars and students when they exercise freedom of inquiry and expression on the public’s behalf.”

Participants will learn how they can contribute to strengthening core higher education values at their home institution and in partnerships, and how to assess and react to incidents relating to the core higher education values.

The course will include videos, graphics, animations and interviews and enable participants from all over the world to talk to each other.

Beyond that, I think people will be surprised – academic freedom isn’t just for a few privileged intellectuals who want to be left alone. Academic freedom is an essential condition for free, open societies,” Quinn said. “If you value the freedom to have your own opinions, to ask questions, to discuss difficult topics honestly without fear, then academic freedom matters enormously to you too.”

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20180526061403734

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