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Coolness is culture : for universities it is part of the learning culture

July 23rd, 2008 by Graham Attwell

My post ‘Universities get with it, wake up, be cool‘ has attracted some attention, both in comments on the blog and on twitter. Most people have agreed that the university degree ceremonies in the UK are outdated but some have not.

OK – it was a semi-humerous post. But there is a serieus point. How we celebrate achievement is part of our culture. And how universities celebrate student achievement is part of the learning culture of the institution. Degree cermonies such as the one in Aberystewth that I described – and I have no reason to believe there is any great difference in other UK universities – cannot be seen as anything other than a reflection of the learning culture of those institutions. What are the messages such events present. Firstly a veneer of the medieval univerity run by mysterious committees with inpenetrable ceremonies. Places where hierarchies are important – why else the different coloured gowns – or batman claoks as someone said on twitter. Secondly the lack of technology speaks for itself. And thirdly all this is overlaid with a crass commercialism. Vendor produced souvenirs, overpriced group hotos, hired gowns etc. University is a place you go to purchase your degree. This is not the learning culture I want to see. Universities should be serious fun. Universities should be democratic – a place of mutual leaning. And universities should be a part of continuing learning – not seperate from the rest of your life but part of a learning journey.

Universities get with it, wake up, be cool!

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One Response to “Coolness is culture : for universities it is part of the learning culture”

  1. AJ Cann says:

    I go along with the heritage and celebration aspects, but let’s be honest, the video sales are a major income stream for most institutions.

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