Posted by: MandyS | June 27, 2013

Digital Diploma Mills

Block 3, Week 17, Activity 1b: Noble (1998).

What does Noble see as the motive forces behind the introduction of new technologies in university?

The driving force here is the ‘commercialisation’ of higher education. ‘How did we let it happen?’ says Noble, but in reality it is simply just a given. Noble’s stance reminds me of the backlash to the industrial revolution but at the end of the day it arrived and we worked with it. The introduction of technology is just the same and, in reality, organisations just wouldn’t survive without the use of technology, hence why the majority of organisations have undergone similar changes over the last 15 -20 years and it is not surprising that HE is no exception. Was education really that much better without the use of technology?

2. Why does he use the term ‘diploma mill’ to describe the changes?

I suppose because the introduction of technology has brought about ‘faceless’ education where HE is just a machine for churning out qualifications. Again, akin to the industrial revolution which replaced lovingly, hand-crafted products with mass production at a fraction of the cost.

3. Do you think these dire predictions made in 1998 have been borne out since then?

Perhaps at some stage over the last 15 years there may have been some element of mass producing students with qualifications, but I think in recent years there has been more of a move away from quantity back towards quality. I think it would be fair to say that everyone is much more cost/quality conscious than they were a few years ago and students are, again, no exception. Noble said there was no evidence in 1998 of the ‘high-tech’ agenda as being student driven, but I would suggest that he may have a different view today. Surely if learning is to be student-centred then  so too is the way in which they achieve that learning?


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