Bowling Green State University
Technology and its impact on higher education
Technology is profoundly changing academic and administrative activities in American higher education. Lifelong learning, degree completion, distance learning and certification instruction are increasingly common activities at “traditional” universities. Web portals, virtual libraries, online courses, mobile devices, smart card/one card, social networking and Web 2.0 interactive Web technologies are rapidly becoming as commonplace as email, word processing and telephones.
Technology is changing students and their expectations as well. As their usage of technology in their daily lives has expanded, their expectations for the classroom have also changed. The demand for distance education continues to grow; nearly 3.5 million students in the United States took at least one online course in fall, 2006, a 20% increase from the previous year. In addition, instant access to content and services, as well as connection to peers and colleagues–activities enabled by current technologies–influence how students learn and what they anticipate in their education and in the services provided to them.
Changing times in the classroom
The Horizon Report 2008 Edition, a collaboration between the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative, identifies key emerging technologies likely to impact learning organizations, including “grassroots video,” “collaboration webs,” “mobile broadband” and “data mashups.” As the capabilities of these technologies continue to expand, the landscape of teaching and learning continues to change.
The classroom is becoming more decentralized as points of access to content are increased. For example, the “Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Courseware” project provides free lecture notes, exams and videos from MIT to anyone with a Web connection. The role of the instructor is shifting and assessment techniques are being reconfigured. Courses are now frequently “blended” as on-campus courses utilize online technologies.
Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning, The Sloan Consortium
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