Beyond Good and Evil §194: of helpful people (and their techniques)

Among helpful and charitable people one almost regularly encounters that clumsy ruse which first doctors the person to be helped-as if, for example, he “deserved” help, required just their help, and would prove to be profoundly grateful for all help, faithful and submissive. With these fancies they dispose of the needy as of possessions, being charitable and helpful people from a desire for possessions. One finds them jealous if one crosses or anticipates them when they want to help. Involuntarily, parents turn children into something similar to themselves – they call that “education.”

(Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 1966, §194, p. 107)

We just want to help. Help these subjects with techniques. On the discursive level the logic goes as follows: to support the teachers to ‘”see student progress” and the student to “follow their own learning”.

An abstraction to justify plethora of concrete actions that command forth old and new material to maintain the technique. And they need our help, our technique – because otherwise they would be too capable for acting as humans.

Actions take place because helpful people, their helpful purpose, are by default “good”. And isn’t it always better to try to do good than do nothing? (“action is better” and “progress is good” logical mesh).

About learning analytics needs in higher education – a moment into teachers interviews

Teachers’ learning analytics needs analysis interviews are an event in itself which invites to discuss learning analytics in certain ways and under certain rules: self-regulation, future skills and (forced) distance learning.

The very thing that learning analytics and these discursive rules show up and act together directs the discussion and hides their conflict beneath their friendly appearing act, for example: “we need to better support the students in the online environment, so we need to see their progress”, (i.e., “self-regulation requires more management and surveillance”).

Conflict creates a difficult negotiation to try to fit these together. For this to take place and the negotiation to continue unbroken, all sorts of presuppositions and language tricks and games are needed, for example, the use of an abstraction: “learning analytics support the teacher to see the learner’s progress and the learner to get better information about their learning”.

As such, this does not mean much, but much is built on it.