What’s higher education all about – it’s all about opinions

John Kelly has a piece in todays Irish Times calling for a review of higher education.  Some aspects I agreed with and some I rather didn’t.  But this post isn’t about my opinion, or at least, not overtly my opinion on what higher education is about?

The end of the article had a “have your say on this article on irishtimes.com”.  A-ha, the joy of the 2 way online world. Any interested Joe Soaps can post their opinion on what is published in the print edition.

I logged on and had a look. There was just one comment, but what a comment!  It was from Disillusioned Lecturer.  S/he starts with “Oh give me strength”. Then, s/he goes on to wonder why there is a call for yet another taskforce / committee spending more scarce resources on more bureaucracy, adding to lecturer’s work and administered by those not in a position to be administering them.

But, this post is not about Disillustioned Lecturer’s opinion either (even if very interesting).

It’s about the concept of opinions!

  • I love the way the Internet allows airing of such opinions. Anyone (ok, admittedly within reason) can log on and give their twopence worth and have it read. Long gone are the days when journalists had all the power. Now, they have to somehow accommodate the views of Joe Soaps. At the very least, they need to be cognizant of them.
  • I’m often struck by how the first comment is a list can set the scene for any other potential comments that might follow.  In this case, there’s only the one comment. Why? Is the tone and content of this comment such that Disillusioned Lecturer has said it all, is difficult to argue against, or something else?
  • Are commenters more or less likely to comment on an opinion piece of journalism or a factual piece of journalism? Why might this be the case?
  • Should opinion pieces have a place in “news” papers. Can someone’s opinion be classified as news?
  • How informed does an opinion have to be before it can be considered to have any weight?

A post about opinions, that ends up asking questions about opinions – what’s your opinion?

Should questions always be posed of opinions so that said opinions are made as robust and reliable as possible?  What role might the 2-way interactive nature of the Internet play in this endeavour?

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Posted on April 16, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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