by Steven W. Gilbert // Vision
Steven W. Gilbert laments the fact that most educational institutions adopt technology before administrators develop a clear program of how to use it to improve teaching and learning. "The increasing investments of institutional resources and individual time in academic uses of technology demand more coherence and direction," Gilbert argues. He then elaborates on his own hope that educators will recognize the potential of technology tools to promote lifelong?rather than the traditionally limited?teaching and learning.
by James Garner Ptaszynski // Commentary
James Ptaszynski reports on the mid-August Microsoft Scholars meeting. The Scholars' first priority: to identify the minimum level of technological skill and knowledge that should be required of every member of the higher education community. Within the general categories of Word-processing, E-mail, and Internet Skills, the Scholars list specific competencies that are crucial to operating successfully into today's colleges and universities. Find out what those competencies are; if you don't have them, you might not be prepared for education in the Information Age.
by Richard Holeton // Case Studies
Richard Holeton makes a Case Study of the "amphibious" condition?between paper and electronic literacy?that writing teachers and students increasingly find themselves in today. Should composition skills be taught on paper, with traditional face-to-face techniques, or online, with new technology tools? The author argues that technology tools and virtual space should be privileged in networked classrooms. According to Holeton, online activities and assignments foster critical dialogue among students, decenter the teacher's role, and enable more interaction between individuals and within small groups; likewise, electronic tools help budding writers compose, edit, and revise their compositions?as well as review the compositions of others?more effectively and easily. Holeton cites examples of impressive, technology-enhanced instruction and learning from his own writing classes.
by Ed Klonoski // Featured Products
Ed Klonoski describes "Living and Working on the Internet," a general education course offered by the University of Hartford (Connecticut). It is team-taught in a multimedia classrooms, where students learn to check their e-mail, surf the Web, search online library databases, author Web pages, and design PowerPoint presentations. Klonoski reports that, during the second half of the course, students routinely use the classroom's electronic tools to "teach" the course and present their individual research projects. This shift to students-as-teachers is a stellar example of how new technologies can help education become more learner-centered.
by James L. Morrison // Spotlight Site
Western Governors University (WGU) is a virtual institution that will combine the accreditation and prestige of a traditional university with the speed and connectivity of modern technology. One noteworthy fact: WGU will award degrees based on student competencies, not credit hours. To find out more about the current status of the WGU project, how it will be implemented, and the standards by which "virtual" degrees will be awarded, check out this thought-provoking, watershed site.