Corporate Fantasy and the "Brave New World of Digital Education"

  • Michelle Rodino Penn State University


This article confronts the virtual university movement by analyzing its promotion in Washington state, particularly during 1998. I critically evaluate key speeches and policy proposals made by Locke and his advisors and analyze planning and promotional documents of the Western Governors University and the 2020 Commission.  I also consult PricewaterhouseCooper’s Reinventing the University (1998). Analysis of these texts shows that the virtual university serves as a discursive toolbox that helps rationalize and obfuscate strategies to reorganize higher education.  In so doing, the e-cademy distracts us from the less dramatic, less visible ways in which policymakers and administrators intend to finance higher education and deskill and downsize its labor force.