When considering who to recommend and why, I reflected on two questions, “Who am I?” and “What is important to me?”. Reflections around these questions, guided my research for this assignment.

I am a mother and grandmother who has battled oppression, inequity, patriarchy, poverty, and prejudices based on caste, color, and creed. I am also a feminist, a first-generation immigrant, a fighter, learner, xenophile, realist, and inclusion ambassador. Coming from a community that was seen as belonging to a ‘backward caste’ in rural South India, I have experienced neglect, indifference, and vigorous oppression when trying to be heard or seen. To be acknowledged as an equal with common human rights, is a luxury many from my background still do not have.  

Inclusion, equity, and representation in learning matter to me, and I strongly believe it should matter to anyone working towards a career in learning and development. Unheard, unsung voices bring unknown and unrealized knowledge to the forefront; and we simply cannot overlook them. Thinking deeply, I am reminded of my idol, Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel’s words from the US News & World Report (1986) “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” As aspiring educators, we simply cannot afford to be indifferent to those whose voices may be drowning in a Eurocentric, white male-dominated educational landscape. Dr. Taskeen Adam, whose works I hope to shed light on through this assignment, brings to the table arguments that resonate deeply with me, given my beliefs both as a person. and a professional seeking a career in learning and development.

Dr. Taskeen Adam completed her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge. Her research topic highlighted that historical injustices, cultural imposition, and economic dependence play a critical role in education. A Muslim woman from Africa her powerful journey is reflected in her work. From being an engineer who started an organization called ‘Solar Powered Learning’ with the somewhat blemished idea that technology alone could improve education, to rising above the fray to become a resonating voice in technology-aided inclusive education, Dr. Adam is a powerhouse of learning and wisdom.

Dr. Adam begins her thesis ‘Addressing Injustices through MOOCs: A study among peri-urban, marginalized, South Africa youth’ with an irrefutable statement “The legacies of colonial rule continue to impact everyday life, particularly in education. These structural inequalities are often reinforced and amplified in online ‘global’ education through a form of digital neocolonialism, which is where hegemonic powers indirectly control or influence marginalised groups through the internet or information technology”. Her research aims to specifically address the question “To what extent do or could Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), particularly those produced in South Africa, support the educational needs, preferences, and aspirations of marginalised, peri-urban South African youth and address the material, cultural-epistemic, political, and geopolitical injustices they face?”(p.3). I would recommend every aspiring educator to read this stirring body of work. 

Another critical publication of Dr. Adam that caught my eye when researching this assignment is ‘Digital neocolonialism and massive open online courses (MOOCs): colonial pasts and neoliberal futures’ Here, as stated in her abstract, Dr. Adam evaluates MOOC platforms and argues that MOOCs in the dominant MOOC platforms tend to embed occidental epistemologies and propagate them without questioning global relevance. Dr. Adam goes on to state that such MOOCs can be detrimental when educating diverse and complex participants because they erode local and indigenous knowledge systems. She discusses several critical thoughts that should concern us, including coloniality in education and technology, coloniality embedded in MOOCs, and especially the problems brought on by digital neoliberalism like the commodification of education and learners.

This paper is a must-read for all of us in the MALAT program. Not convinced yet? Citations for this article include our course instructor George Veletsianos’s work with Shandell Houlden (2021) “The Problem with Flexible Learning: Neoliberalism, Freedom, and Learner Subjectivities. Learning, Media and Technology”. I rest my case.

I conclude my recommendation contemplating on Audrey Watters reflection from ‘Un-Fathom-able: The Hidden History of Ed-Tech #CETIS14’ -“What alternatives can we build on? What can we imagine — a future of learner agency, of human capacity, of equity, of civic responsibility, of openness, for example.”

My inquiry continues.

 

Recommended Works of Dr. Taskeen Adam

  1. Addressing Injustices through MOOCs: A study among peri-urban, marginalised, South African youth
  2. Between Social Justice and Decolonization: Exploring South African MOOC Designers’ Conceptualisations and Approaches to Addressing Injustices
  3. Digital neocolonialism and massive open online courses (MOOCs): colonial pasts and neoliberal futures
  4. Is there Learning Continuity during the COVID-19 Pandemic? A Synthesis of the Emerging Evidence
  5. Literature reviews of educational technology research in low and middle-income countries: an audit of the field
  6. Open educational practices of MOOC designers: embodiment and epistemic location
  7. Reflecting On Epistemic Injustices In Open And Online Education
  • View and access Dr. Taskeen Adam’s works through the links provided here
  • Follow Dr Taskeen Adam on Twitter @TaskeenAdam
  • Follow Dr. Taskeen Adam on LinkedIn here

 

 

 

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