Comprehensive, insightful and visionary.

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The Idea of the Digital University


A sweeping study of the university structure, emphasizing how higher education must evolve in a digital era.

The mass adoption of online technology has pervaded every manner of business; universities are no different. In fact, as McCluskey and Winter suggest in this probing work, “the digital revolution is changing the very DNA of higher education.” Still, “the university has come late to the digital revolution,” and the authors explore the reasons why. In text that’s both interesting to read and carefully researched, McCluskey and Winter discuss the role and structure of the university in general, lending a historical perspective while continuously drawing comparisons and contrasts between the traditional and digital university. The authors address in detail the most obvious evidence of online influence—the growth of online courses—but they pay equal attention to broader implications: the opening up of new avenues for library research, the shift away from paper-based student records and the fundamental change in the way professors teach students. The authors often return to the notion that “Big Data will impact how the university sees its students and their learning.” McCluskey and Winter cite Target, the retail chain, as being exemplary in its use of customer data, and they directly relate those efforts to the ways in which universities will have to use “Big Data” in the future “to see where education is succeeding and where we have work to do.” The authors also raise the issue of nonprofit versus for-profit universities, the latter having expanded largely because of online course offerings. Rather than take a position in favor or against for-profits, however, the authors diplomatically discuss some of the ways the nonprofit and for-profit institutions could learn from each other. Finally, the authors offer their own perceptive assessment on what the digital university might someday look like, postulating about dashboards, data warehouses and digital report cards.

Comprehensive, insightful and visionary.

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-1935907985

Page Count: 274

Publisher: Policy Studies Organization

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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