Digital Diploma Mills
IAT INFOBITS December 1997 No. 54
In "Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education" (October 1997) David F. Noble argues that recent events at two large North American universities "signal dramatically that we have entered a new era in higher education, one which is rapidly drawing the halls of academe into the age of automation. ... UCLA has spawned its own for-profit company, headed by a former UCLA vice chancellor, to peddle online education (the Home Education Network). ... in Toronto, meanwhile, the full-time faculty of York University ... ended an historic two-month strike having secured for the first time anywhere formal contractual protection against precisely the kind of administrative action being taken by UCLA."
While faculty concerned about their future employment might be expected to react unfavorably to inroads by outside commercial outsourcing providers, there are indications that students at both UCLA and York were less than enthusiastic as well. For example, the student handbook distributed annually to all students by the York Federation of Students contained a warning about the "dangers of online education."
FIRST MONDAY: PEER-REVIEWED INTERNET JOURNAL
FIRST MONDAY is a peer-reviewed journal on the Internet whose aim is to publish original articles about the Internet and the global information infrastructure. First Monday will "follow the political and regulatory regimes affecting the Internet, examine the use of the Internet on a global scale, . . . analyze research and development of Internet software and hardware, study the use of Internet in specific communities, report on standards, and discuss the content of the Internet." The editorial board includes Edward J. Valauskas, founder and principal of Internet Mechanics, a technology consulting group advising schools, libraries, government agencies, and corporations on telecommunications, computing, and the Internet; and Esther Dyson, chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a member of the U.S. National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council.
First Monday is available at no cost on the Web at
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The Web site also includes a paper describing the creation and maintenance of dynamic encyclopedias. "A Solution to the Problem of Updating Encyclopedias" by Eric M. Hammer and Edward N. Zalta is available at http://plato.stanford.edu/solution/solution.html
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