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Abstract

Education is in a state of rapid change. The influx of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) lead us to question: ¡°How do we find the balance between continuity and discontinuity whilst critically renewing our educational traditions?¡± The paper develops a philosophical understanding that transcends utopian and dystopian claims that IT is either ¡°becoming education¡± or ¡°destroying the essence of education,¡± respectively. This philosophical perspective is developed around: (1) the question of student autonomy and the potential of its being undermined through ICT and (2) the processes through which students can potentially resist these threats. The paper develops and applies the philosophical understanding to the question of student autonomy. First, the paper emphasizes the importance of considering student autonomy in the debates around the relationship of ICT and education. Second, the paper proposes a conceptual model of autonomy, drawing upon some important ideas of Habermas and pragmatist thinking. Third, the paper identifies some systemic threats on educational processes arising from globalization and corporatization. Fourth, I outline the Habermasian response to these threats as a means to understand the nature of student response. Finally, drawing upon the conceptual ideas of autonomy presented, I consider five specific approaches to examine the question of the reform of MIS education.

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