An observer looking in the windows of most classrooms at most colleges and universities doesn’t see anything very different from a few decades ago. The communication between faculty and students via Email outside of class doesn’t show. The increasingly common practice of putting some course-related information on the Web for student access doesn’t show. The frequent student use of the Web to reach that information or to do assigned research doesn’t show.
Something like half of all courses in colleges and universities in the United States already involve some Email communication among students and faculty. Many faculty members report two major changes: First, the volume of correspondence in the form of Email they exchange with colleagues and students has dramatically increased – and so has their workload. Second, they are also receiving course-related communications from students AFTER a course has ended. [Note: Less data is available about the widespread but un-publicized adoption of technology applications in academic departments where those applications have become essential for doing the work of the discipline; e.g., accounting, architecture, music, geography, health sciences.]
Many faculty members, beginning to use Email and the Web in these ways, would answer “No” if asked if they use information technology in their teaching. They don’t initially perceive these changes as significant. But they are.