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The War on Learning: Gaining Ground in the Digital University [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Losh
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Behind the lectern stands the professor, deploying course management systems, online quizzes, wireless clickers, PowerPoint slides, podcasts, and plagiarism-detection software. In the seats are the students, armed with smartphones, laptops, tablets, music players, and social networking. Although these two forces seem poised to do battle with each other, they are really both taking part in a war on learning itself. In this book, Elizabeth Losh examines current efforts to "reform" higher education by applying technological solutions to problems in teaching and learning. She finds that many of these initiatives fail because they treat education as a product rather than a process. Highly touted schemes -- video games for the classroom, for example, or the distribution of iPads -- let students down because they promote consumption rather than intellectual development. Losh analyzes recent trends in postsecondary education and the rhetoric around them, often drawing on first-person accounts. In an effort to identify educational technologies that might actually work, she looks at strategies including MOOCs (massive open online courses), the gamification of subject matter, remix pedagogy, video lectures (from Randy Pausch to "the Baked Professor"), and educational virtual worlds. Finally, Losh outlines six basic principles of digital learning and describes several successful university-based initiatives. Her book will be essential reading for campus decision makers -- and for anyone who cares about education and technology.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6300 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (May 2, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00K3B97TQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,422 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book by Losh, The War on Learning, is in many ways a terrifying tale of today's higher education. It is a well told and structured narrative that presents to the reader what can and is happening as technology is "introduced" or penetrates the "classes" of education. She presents this in an exceptionally clear and well documented manner and for anyone who has memories of the "old days" of higher education, to paraphrase Dante, "abandon all hope ye who enter" the new hallowed halls. The explosion of iPhone and instant capture and exposition of events in the class, the use of anonymous and derogatory Twitter accounts and commentary, crowd events to create chaos, are all elements that thwart modern education.

One must imagine what it must be like to teach under the constant recording eyes and ears of today's technology equipped and entitled students. There appears in Losh's student base to be a total lack of "standards" in deportment in class and that in fact there appears to be an ongoing battle between student and instructor, and in many cases the instructor may very well have been the implementer or facilitator.

Losh focuses on several key areas:

1. The almost ubiquitous explosion of recording methods and the subsequent public display of what has been recorded along with an exposition of the various "social media" outlets. She discusses the recording of some professor whose behavior, albeit well from the norm, would in bygone days become some tale told at reunions, but in today's world it becomes a memorialized video record of an individual disgraced. This memorialized record is then spread worldwide. Thus anyone who is involved in teaching enters a class in total fear of what slips they may make and thus appear to a world audience as some fool.
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More About the Author

Elizabeth Losh is the author of Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication, and Mistakes and the Director of the Culture, Art, and Technology program at Sixth College at U.C. San Diego. She writes about institutions as digital content-creators, the discourses of the "virtual state," the media literacy of policy makers and authority figures, and the rhetoric surrounding regulatory attempts to limit everyday digital practices. She has published articles about videogames for the military and emergency first-responders, government websites and YouTube channels, state-funded distance learning efforts, national digital libraries, political blogging, and congressional hearings on the Internet.


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