I like “technoskeptic” much better than “Luddite.”

14 08 2011

I’ve got another post brewing in my head which I’ll write up as soon as I can find the time and the Internet connection simultaneously. In the meantime, others are doing this whole technoskeptic thing much better than I do. To see that work, I’d start with Leslie M-B here, then go to Historiann and, while it doesn’t explicitly cite technology as the problem, I’d still top it all off with Gary Trudeau.


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6 responses

15 08 2011
Matt_L

The links to Historiann and Leslie MB are great. Its nice to see you develop these ideas a little more in the next post, but I think the Gary Trudeau reference is worthless for a couple of reasons.

Trudeau hasn’t had any insight into campus life since the 1980s. He really just is a crabby old baby boomer. He has depicted young people in a demeaning and condescending manner since the 1990s and Generation X.

Second, its not important to listen to what employers say that they want. This is a red herring. You have to look at what employer are willing to pay for. And its quite clear that employers are not willing to pay the taxes necessary to sustain a vibrant public university system. In the 1990s, the state of Minnesota paid for about 70% of the cost of a MNSCU Bachelors degree and the student picked up 30%. Now, twenty years later its the student who picks up 70% of the tab and the state the rest. This is because the businesses do not want to pay taxes to sustain the system.

Employers want immediate gratification. They want employees trained at public expense to meet immediate skill needs. This is why Obama’s education plan consists in shoveling money into Community Colleges to pay for training programs in widget polishing and widget machining.

You do not get rich in business by paying for training your own employees. Its better to externalize that cost onto the tax payer and reap the benefit by paying as little as possible.

16 08 2011
Music for Deckchairs

I liked the links too. But for different reasons I also found the slide to Gary Trudeau both revealing and unconvincing. It’s the way you say “and, while it doesn’t explicitly cite technology as the problem …” before using it to make the point that you’re making about technology.

So if you can just imagine me wearing my customary “It’s not the technology you’re talking about” t-shirt, my question is fairly specific about lecture capture. Both Leslie M-B and Historiann point to this as a way of increasing our risk in relation to future adjunctification. I don’t want to diminish this risk (although I think it’s coming from other directions) but to ask why we’re driven by fear of having our stuff taken, more than by thinking about the good uses students might find for recorded lectures, including for review. When I first taught at a rural campus, students would genuinely use the audio recordings of lectures to review key points as they drove around the district–something we now take for granted as the value of podcasts. And they’re a huge boost for international students whose English is poor, and who again genuinely use them for review. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there you have it.

The negative is really that when students plan to rely on them to make up for missed lectures, often they don’t. This is because something that was 50 minutes of dull to sit through in the first place, even in the company of your friends, and with a snack, is really dull to listen to through the speakers of your laptop.

So I’m very much on the side of those who are arguing that the real issue about lecture capture is the lecture, not the capture.

16 08 2011
Dan Allosso

Some people come to life in front of a class. It can be hard to recreate that energy in front of cameras. My only experience of this is being in front of the camera when nobody is around — http://www.history-punk.com/AEH/AEHContents.html — and believe it or not, it took several tries to get these videos. I do think, however, that it’s a learned skill. So as I practice it, I expect to improve.

But on the other hand, as MfD suggests, some people don’t come to life in front of a class. In the days before recording, this failure was ephemeral. Now it’s becoming as permanent as bad writing.

16 08 2011
Jonathan Rees

Interesting. I didn’t expect to be hit so hard for throwing in a Doonesbury link that made me laugh at loud. If it helps, my backstory for the kid who got caught in the paper bag was that he spent his entire college career doing Facebook in the back of the class rather than someone who went to online college or something similar.

16 08 2011
Music for Deckchairs

Aha. Well, if it helps, my backstory is the kid who spent his entire college career looking for the answers in the bottom of the paper bag because he thought he heard his inspiring college lecturer say the good stuff was in there, when in fact he was so far back from the stage that he missed what the lecturer actually said, which was: “It’s no good looking for your lunch to be delivered to your desk in a brown bag, you have to get out there and make it for yourself.”

That’s the thing with backstory, it can fit any purpose.

19 10 2011
How do you skim an e-book? « More or Less Bunk

[…] (to steal yet another term from Historiann) seem to be taking a lot of flack these days. Some libraries are getting rid […]

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