Control and Autonomy in Online Learning – Plans of Significance

My own interest in educational planning is usually oriented by Learner Autonomy. A large portion of any course design should include the intent to guide students towards making their own intent. This is something that can cross all educational programs in some way or another, and hopefully will become of greater importance in how we teach younger people. (if it isn’t already, I don’t actually know so much about K-12 curriculum)

So, I find a certain relevance when Jacobs states, in condemning tone:

As in all Utopias, the right to have plans of any significance belonged only to the planners in charge. (p17)

And, she describes extensive situations where this is so.

I imagine that control, as implied here, is one of the main criticisms of traditional, outdated classroom style education. Direction of self-development is largely out of the hands of students in classroom-style education. Now, however, students are gaining more choices and are in more control of learning outcomes. Students are being encouraged to create more.

I can remember back to my school days, only being allowed to choose really between art and music as my elective, two of bio, chemistry or physics, or between two types of English classes. Undergraduate university offered more choice, but it was still heavily restricted and chunked.


In the utopian plans of people like Plato or Rousseau, this is certainly a feature of their education planning. Mean, ugly order prescribed by planners over disordered individuality. By my Learner Autonomy laced definition of the word education, Utopian Education is certainly an oxymoron.


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