We have moved away from a defining model of scarcity and can expect fundamental change in the availability and delivery of higher education in the US.
Most of the possible implementation strategies for eText seem quite logical and are based on existing technologies that have been available to the higher education community for some time. But there is still a problem holding us back--a problem that lies in the fact that defining, combining, and implementing eText components has as yet been accomplished only on a very limited basis and by only a few "technologically entrepreneurial" institutions. Large-scale eText implementation is a task that has been identified as too daunting, too difficult, and it is the perhaps the most significant replacement ever, of an educational tradition that has served higher education well for centuries.
A team at Ryerson University in Toronto is working on a broadcast network that will use high-speed Internet and video-streaming technology to connect institutions around the world to deliver student-produced news and programs.
Canada's University of Ottawa has begun using a new system to deliver reserve materials from its media library to its classrooms.
Accessibility for all students is a key concern in IT in higher education, one tied to the core mission of education and underscored by recent federal activity reinforcing the need for compliance in all aspects of technology implementations. Yet institutions are scratching their collective heads over how to make digital information accessible to students with visual and auditory impairments while keeping technology at the cutting edge.
For many reasons--grade inflation, disparity between quality of educational institutions, confusion about what the grades actually demonstrate--the value of grades, as they are constructed now, is slipping. An emerging process using electronic portfolios produces evidence-based evaluations: richer data for better decisions during college and at graduation.
American higher education--the jewel in the global crown of universal education, with nearly a quarter of the total number of higher education institutions in the world, and including graduate programs that are the envy of the world--is facing the prospect of being the next bubble to burst. Technology is both a culprit and a promising ally.
The largest electronic portfolio conference in the world to date, the AAEEBL ePortfolio World Summit 2011 will be held in Boston July 25-28. The conference will be hosted by AAEEBL, The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning, and co-located with Campus Technology 2011 at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center on the Boston Harbor.
In the popular imagination, the Web distances learners and teachers (and "face-to-face" in the classroom is then assumed more desirable). But in reality "face-to-face" can be the most distancing experience for the student, and Web-based learning the most connected of all. It is odd to realize that in many higher education classrooms, we find the real "distance learning."
As more and more digital technology finds its way into academic, business, and social domains on higher education campuses, and as the world into which students are received when they graduate demands greater technological competency, the pleas for "digital literacy" heard at colleges and universities make sense. Sherry Turkle also argues that institutions should foster a deeper understanding of how new digital tools affect students’ work and lives, though she proposes a somewhat different focus--she suggests "rethinking technological literacy."