The College Embraces Technology for Education

By Firebaugh, Francille M.; Watkins, David O. | Human Ecology Forum, Fall 1997 | Go to article overview

The College Embraces Technology for Education


Firebaugh, Francille M., Watkins, David O., Human Ecology Forum


The College of Human Ecology has joined Cornell and other colleges and universities worldwide in embracing new technologies to enhance teaching and learning. This issue of Human Ecology Forum delineates how college educators have used the World Wide Web, satellite videoconferences, and other new technologies to expand access to knowledge and facilitate collaboration.

"The burgeoning use of the Internet and other national and international networks is creating environments where intellectual capacity, information and knowledge bases, methodologies, and other valuables are made available to learners anywhere, anytime," note marketing and planning consultants Michael G. Dolence and Donald M. Norris. Indeed, the Internet, compressed video, and satellite technologies give us the opportunity to communicate with learners at work and at home, making lifelong learning a reality.

This college and others with a land-grant mission have been educating at a distance for decades. Our outreach programs supported by publications, videos, and, more recently, satellite-delivered programs have enhanced learning for countless New York citizens. This historical perspective makes clear the need for careful choice of appropriate technologies for learning. No single technology is a perfect fit for all situations, and multimedia approaches consistently give the best results.

Satellite-delivered programs that cross county, state, and national boundaries reach multiple sites at a reasonable cost, while compressed video technologies are effective and inexpensive when connecting fewer sites. Web sites that are visual, well organized, easily searchable, and interactive create expansive learning experiences for students on or off campus, at times they choose. The Internet in combination with other technologies can facilitate collaborations among universities and corporations.

From a faculty perspective, the ease in changing text and images is very advantageous. Extensive source materials on the Internet can encourage curiosity in students, and the technology allows them to collaborate with others on projects and programs. …

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