On teaching

Following the 2003 University Law, university teachers and researchers are required to communicate academic knowledge to the public. Indeed, communication is viewed as being as important as research and teaching. In my view, some of the most important communication and dissemination of academic knowledge occurs through teaching. Therefore, I consider my course homepages an integral part of my communication.

Since the Fall 2007, however, access to such teaching resources at the University of Copenhagen has been restricted to people affiliated with the University, and for the participants in a given course. This way, teaching activity and materials are being firmly held secret to he public, prospective new students worldwide, enrolled students interested in a course, fellow academics worldwide, teaching colleagues within the University and even within Departments, and so on. In 2007 one could read this peculiar sentence at that web address:

"This portal is the log-in site for individuals who wants to visit open areas
of the University of Copenhagen Virtual Learning Environment."
https://absalon.ku.dk, 12 September 2007, 11:47

I never understood the concept of an "open area" for which you need special access. The formulation has also vanished (I noticed that in October 2010.) In any case, this is a peculiar way of "communicating" academic knowledge by a publicly-funded institution, and this shift towards less transparency in teaching is beyond my control (and me). I strongly believe in, and adhere to, transparency in this dimension, so I have refused to adhere to the secrecy. Others may explain why a public university hides its teaching from the public, and thereby hamper scientific communication among those who need it. I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you (but you can get help if you can't log in). The official explanation is normally in the ballpark of "Others also have a closed system, so therefore we should also have one".

On September 10, 2007, the newspaper Information ran a story on this issue. It can be accessed here. Since then, nobody has really bothered complaining about it.


In May 2015, I tried to raise the issue again (in Danish), as I noticed that students may also find the system unbearable. For example, one could entertain the herretic idea that students would like to make informed decisions about which courses to attend. In particular, because of yet another catastrophical policy reform from the ministry (of something with education - I can't keep track of its continuous name changes and changes in ministers). This one is about reducing completion times for studying by making it impossible for students to change their minds should they have signed up for a course that is inappropriate for them.

 

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