All posts in Digital Education

Personal Responsibility in (Digital) Education

One of the great problems in online education is the low completion rates for classes and subsequently programs. To be sure this is certainly partially the result of overeager recruiters and administrators who are in it for the buck or the developers and teachers of online classes who have not made them interesting enough to hold users’ attention in both the short and long terms. We should certainly take steps to police the recruiters and administrators as well as develop best practices for online courses to make them better. The third leg of the stool however is the student him

Books are Networks

When academics especially humanists think of using the web we use as our model the printed page.  We have online “journals” and are looking for ways to produce online “books”.  This is of course natural in that these are things most familiar and that have made up most of our lives.  We have learned how to analyze, produce and teach with these printed materials and are loathe to relinquish these things in which we have invested so much.  Much of the the current stage of digitization has been about being able to reproduce printed materials for easier dissemination.  Yes non-printed

College Teaching and Digital Enhancements

Recently while reading  Cathy Davidson and David Theo Goldberg’s article “The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age” I read  a sharp criticism about the viability of digital enhancements to teaching.  Davidson and Goldberg’s future book extols the virtues of a digital future which allows students to be educated in a way that spurs their independence, curiosity, and connection with the world.  I will discuss their argument in a future post.  Right now I want to address one of the criticisms of their view on by Kevin Nenstiehl (here).

Though some students love learning enough to be self-motivated, they

Digital education and Democracy

While doing some research I came upon the following quote from W.E.B. Du Bois,

In the long run the people will and must rule.  And our only opportunity is in helping to decide what kind of people these potential rulers shall be.  The failure of democracy in the United States and in the modern world is due primarily to the fact that the government has not succeeded in making the ruling people intelligent and efficient, so that democratic power is continually wielded by mass ignorance debauched by demagogues.

While I am aware that the success or failure of the United States democracy

Digital Education and the “Marching Morons” Problem

Way back in my youth in an anthology I read a story by C.M. Kornbluth written in 1951 called “The Marching Morons.”  In it a man from the past awakes in a distant future shaped by a population problem.  Simply put there was not enough reproduction by those with high IQ’s and overproduction by those with low ones.  This has shaped a future where the few with high intelligence must constantly work to ensure the survival of the society because the vast majority of people are not intelligent enough to do so by themselves. You can read the plot summary

College Teaching and Research in the Digital Realm

The dirty little secret about college teaching is that not everybody is concerned with doing it well. No one is dedicated to doing it badly and all would rather be better at it than worse, but how much effort one puts into it is variable.  There really two parts of a college teacher’s job: producing scholarship and teaching.  There are certainly other aspects of it such as college administration through committee service, department chairing and even administration for those who have crossed over to the dark side.  Rarely do these however earn one


In a recent post I wondered aloud what the new existence of information formats that were “not-books” meant for the academy. At that time I did not either spell out the varieties of format that will become not-books nor really even tentatively explore what differences they make for the academy. I did not do so because the former is still in motion and the latter calls for a longer discussion than I can tackle in this space. I will explore neither of those things here but rather relate an experience that sheds light on both.

Last summer I participated in a

Books and not-Books

I just got a new e-book reader.  I love it but it provides an opportunity to think about what the digital revolution implies for the information format that has served for hundreds of years.  I am by no means predicting the end of the book; books in paper or electronic form will always survive and be part of humankind’s legacy. Yet the transformation of them into electronic bits and bytes offers a new way of thinking about storing and transmitting information.  One can argue that this is also true for audio, video and photographs as well, but I only want

Digital Education as Parenting

A few months ago one of my son’s college teachers asked me what parenting tips I had that she could use to make her son as intellectually curiosity, polite, hardworking and engaging as mine.  I quipped “Be careful what you wish for!” The truth is I’m not sure what we did that made him turn out the way he did.  Ninety percent of it comes from him.  The impetus to explore the world, respect people and have some personal and social concern for others is not something we explicitly taught although I would like to believe that he saw it

Ethnic Digital Notions

Scholars have studied race from many perspectives ad infinitum if not ad nauseum. Yet the question that my elders always asked still prevails; “would you get the same result if you substituted white for the non white group?” We must still ask that question about digital media. A friend of mine once said he has to keep reminding his peers at his institution that African American history is American history.  In the same way (insert ethnic group here) American studies is American studies. The best American history and studies programs have realized this long ago even if