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  1. Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Eduction
    Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Eduction
    Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Eduction
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  2. Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Eduction

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    Customer Ratings (4 reviews)
    Price R1753.00

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Is the Internet the springboard which will take universities into a new age, or a threat to their existence? Will dotcom degrees create new opportunities for those previously excluded, or lead them into a digital dead-end? From UCLA to Columbia, digital technologies have brought about rapid and sweeping changes in the life of the university—changes which will have momentous effects in the decade ahead.

In the first book-length analysis of the meaning of the Internet for the future of higher education, Noble cuts through the rhetorical claims that these developments will bring benefits for all. His analysis shows how university teachers are losing control over what they teach, how they teach and for what purpose. It shows how erosion of their intellectual property rights makes academic employment ever less secure. The academic workforce is reconfigured as administrators claim ownership of the course-designs and teaching materials developed by faculty, and try to lower labor costs in the marketing and delivery of courses.

Rather than new opportunities for students the online university represents new opportunities for investors to profit while shifting the burden of paying for education from the public purse to the individual consumer—who increasingly has to work long hours at poorly-paid jobs in order to afford the privilege. And this transformation of higher education is often brought about through secretive agreements between corporations and universities—including many which rely on public funding.

Noble locates recent developments within a longer-term historical perspective, drawing out parallels between Internet education and the correspondence course movement of the early decades of the 20th century. This timely work by the foremost commentator of the social meaning of digital education is essential reading for all who are concerned with the future of the academic enterprise.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

This is an amazing book. Along with the works of Walk Whitman and Emily Dickinson, it has profoundly changed my life and reshaped my values.

Though the title essay appeared in 1998, which in terms of the digital evolution of higher education seems ages ago, it captures perfectly the direction education has taken in the electronic age. While much praise can be heaped on savvy innovators in higher education, too much has happened to ruin education and undermine the position of even those innovators in the past twenty years.

Online "education" is probably the the most pernicious trick that "management" has played on educators since the current assault on higher education began last century. As David Noble writes, "universities are not only undergoing a technological transformation. Beneath that change, and camouflaged by it, lies another: the commercialization of higher education."

Read this book. Take some action. Your education,... Read more
I read Digital Diploma Mills back when it first came out, and since then, I have seen many of the things Noble prophesied come to pass. As the face-to-face classroom is replaced more and more by its very poor cousin, the "on-line" class, the largest piece gets taken from the educational puzzle: real-time human interaction. Things will get worse before they get better, but either during the rebuilding of the American college education or while we are sitting amidst its ruins, Noble will be seen as the prophet who foresaw it all.
David Noble effectively makes the case against online education. He points out that the rush to "clicks" means not only the replacement of "bricks" but also the replacement of people (or, more accurately, replacing many people who think with fewer people who count, but don't think.
Noble is a first-rate essayist-his "In Defense of Luddism" (in Progress without People) is wonderful. One problem is that Noble will have persuaded many readers after five pages, but won't have persuaded others after reading five volumes. A second is that readers could skim the basics of Noble's argument for free online (currently at [URL) and send a donation to the Monthly Review Press (a worthy cause). The book contains some added prose, but doesn't add much to Noble's argument.
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