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.
Does college prepare students for jobs or for life? And does IT care?
For the LMS to remain relevant in higher education, it must move beyond the classroom and integrate seamlessly with the learning opportunities presented by the Web.
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.
In a time of knowledge stability, teach; in a time of rapid change in knowledge, learn… Clearly, we have left the time of knowledge stability and entered a time of incredibly rapid change. Web 2.0, a term coined in 2004, is a description of the new Web architecture, but is also a historical marker between the era of comfortable stability and the era of unsettling change. Many in higher education say we have accordingly turned to learning and away from teaching, but in fact we haven’t.
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 debate over electronic textbooks and ever-increasing costs for traditional textbooks continues to rage. Part of these Web-era dilemmas ironically involves the willingness to face contradictions from the university's past.
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."