Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Frankenstein In The University

My essay Frankenstein in the University was just published in Campus Technology. I'm also making available an unabridged version which explains at greater length why narratives of technological determinism often mask the larger social and commercial forces that drive IT change in the university. In the essay I use the literature of technological determinism as a device for thinking about the amount of influence that IT plays in determining university affairs. But much more could be said on the subject. For example, in the recently published Toolbox or Trap? Course Management Systems and Pedagogy Lisa Lane explores at greater length the way our CMSs constrict our pedagogical practices. And in a much older article titled "Aligning IT Strategy to Open Source, Partnering, and Web Services" Brad Wheeler grapples with open source options that may help universities to better control their IT destiny. For a quick introduction to the subject of technological determinism from the standpoint of political theory see Langdon Winner's piece Do Artifacts Have Politics?. For a topical article surveying technological determinism from the standpoint of a professional historian see Jill Lapore's recent piece in The New Yorker titled Our Own Devices; Does Technology Drive History?.