Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Why Invest in Info Tech in Higher Ed? 1994!

 AAHESGIT Listserv Retrospective November 21, 1994

This Google Doc:  http://bit.ly/TLTG-Why-Invest-94RETRO

"Why Invest in Info Tech?"  

  • How much have/haven't conditions and rationales changed in 15 years?  
  • How well are we doing?

Below is the full unexpurgated text of a listserv posting from Nov. 21, 1994 - written by the listserv moderator, Steven W. Gilbert.

[Thanks again to Chuck Ansorge for keeping and compiling the AAHESGIT listserv messages from 1994-2006!]






I.  RATIONALE:  General


o       The Transformation is Inevitable Anyway

(The transformation of teaching and learning based in part on

the integration of applications of information technology:

this transformation has already begun.  The challenge is to

direct this transition and make it less painful and more

consistent with YOUR educational mission.)

o       Students Have Already Changed

(Most institutions report significant changes in the

composition of their student bodies.  Many faculty report

that many students are more resistant to reading and don't

respond as well to traditional courses.)

o       Build More Effective Communities of Learners-Scholars

(There are already many examples of communities of scholars

that support mutual learning via the Internet in ways and on

a scale that go beyond anything that ever happened before.)

o       Regain Public Trust

(While our leading universities are still considered the best

in the world, support for many higher education institutions

has eroded.)


(Whatever we mean by "academic productivity," we aren't going

to achieve it in colleges and universities in just a few more



II.  RATIONALE:  Faculty


o       Personal Productivity (Word-processing, EMail)

(Almost no one is arguing about the value of this any more.   [Clarification:  In the late 1980s and early 1990s there were serious arguments about the potential damage that word-processing would do to writing skills. By late 1994, almost no one was still arguing against using these tools.  SWG 20091201]

EMail may be the application in the 90s that brings people to

the Internet in the way that word-processing brought people

to microcomputers in the 80s.)

o       Clearer, Easier Presentation

(Using presentation and image manipulating software and

computer-driven projection devices in the classroom to

display information more clearly or easily.  Doesn't change

the basic approach to teaching or what is taught.)

o       Widen Instructional Bottlenecks

(Experienced faculty know the topics in their courses where

many students have trouble and fall behind.  Teachers develop

or find applications  of information technology that can help

meet these specific learning challenges.)

o       Better Communication with Wider Range of Students

(Use information technology to offer information in a variety

of formats to meet the learning needs and preferences of a

widening range of students.)

o       Teach New Content Better

(Emerging from the recent work of scholars in some

disciplines are some topics and approaches that can be

represented and communicated much more effectively using

information technology than using conventional print.  I've

got examples from geography/geology, American Lit., some

foreign language -- more examples welcome!)


III.  RATIONALE:  Institutional Leaders


o       Competition for Students, Faculty

("If we don't have computers in our ...., we'll lose students

to ..."

"When prospective students or faculty members visit our

campus, they always ask to see the computer facilities.")

o       Improve Quality of Teaching, Learning

(The experience base of the "early adopters" has convinced

more and more of them that information technology really can

be used to improve student motivation and learning.

Developing quantitative data to confirm this is quite

difficult.  The anecdotal evidence and public demand may

outweigh the need for data -- for a while?)

o       Better Access to Education for Wider Range of Students

(Information technology -- especially "distance education"

seems to be the ONLY way that the increasing variety of

students can have access to a high quality college education.

This applies to students whose location, finances, or work

schedules don't permit them to participate easily in

conventionally scheduled and conventionally presented


o       Information Literacy for Students

(The library community is leading this campaign and reminding

learners and teachers how important it has become for all to

master skills of finding, evaluating, and using information

-- especially via information technology.)




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