The University Is Not a Technology

Sam Fallon, Len Gutkin, Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct 19, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Actually, the university is a technology, but thats periphrial to th main point. This article response to a critique of universities that has two major parts. Frst, "a small subset of elite universities are disproportionately represented in the most prestigious journals in the literary humanities." And second, it "isn’t simply that elite advantages in publication distribute prestige inequitably — it’s that they produce a damaged body of knowledge." The technology angle comes into play by metaphor: if you consider the university, then the flawed output can be predicted. Hence the objection: "the alleged need to replace the folk-knowledge of the discipline with a set of algorithms suggests a rather dim view of the basic competence of humanists to know what, in their own fields, matters." The problem with folk-knowledge - you know, like "Harvard has the best professors" - is that it is often demonstrably wrong.

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