Week 17 1b: Digital diploma mills

Noble (1998) ‘Digital diploma mills: the automation of higher education’.

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


‘University administrators and their myriad commercial partners’ …commercialization of higher education.

incorrect perception that the introduction of technologies  in universities would reduce costs.

‘Like these others, their [teachers] activity is being restructured, via the technology, in order to reduce their autonomy, independence, and control over their work and to place workplace knowledge and control as much as possible into the hands of the administration. As in other industries, the technology is being deployed by management primarily to discipline, de-skill, and displace labor.’

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

Diploma mill  where quality is superseded by the need for quantity ie mass certification.

Maybe he’s reasoning that this will prove  similar to Don Quixote and the windmills 😉

3. Do you think these dire predictions made in 1998 were born out in the following years?

Thank god Noble’s predictions proved incorrect. As seen in previous weeks, different stakeholders are seeing the benefits of using new technologies in education.


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