Digital Academe: The New Media and Institutions of Higher Education and Learning

Digital Academe: The New Media and Institutions of Higher Education and Learning

Digital Academe: The New Media and Institutions of Higher Education and Learning

Digital Academe: The New Media and Institutions of Higher Education and Learning

Synopsis

This collection provides a critical, non-commercial exposition of both the enormous opportunities and challenges for higher education that are tied to the use of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the development of distance education and distributed learning.

Excerpt

I greatly appreciate being asked to write a forward to this lively and in many places provocative book. It is forum-based, and I can give it no greater praise than to say that it has made me feel, after reading its many chapters, that I wish I had been present at the forum. Fortunately, the book carries with it the drive to continue debate. The contributors offer first thoughts: and the thoughts - and the insights - will not be the last. People will be far better informed for reading this, and many of them will want to read more. The issues - and it is, above all, a book about issues - are very sharply posed. There are more choices than there are prescriptions.

Having been involved with many university institutions in many different countries, large and small, old and new, 'traditional' and 'innovatory', confident and troubled, I know how difficult it is to generalize. I note that many of the contributors to the book draw on their own specific experiences. I wish, however, that some of them had concerned themselves rather more with comparisons and contrasts in their own learning experiences. Now that I myself am largely de-institutionalized, such comparisons and contrasts in learning, teaching, researching and managing stand out in my mind. I am aware too of the advantages of de-institutionalization. I have seldom found that single institutions learn much from comparisons and contrasts with other institutions even when their histories get written. Now that they are more competitive and at the same time are being drawn into bigger consortia, they may at last be forced to do so, as many of their faculty members and managers always have been.

The focus of this book is rightly on 'learning processes' rather than on educational structures, and thanks to its editors, who have had contrasting if converging experiences, the framework of the book is sturdily constructed. The editors explain very clearly in their introduction how and why they have divided the book into four parts. As they

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