Public discourse on the pedagogical uses of information technology runs the gamut of views from utopian to apocalyptic. A number of tacit alliances and formal partnerships between and among various ideologues have been forged with the objective of making shared views more credible to policymakers and institutional planners. Two ideologies in particular—both political constructs—have received much attention. The first, restructuralism, calls for radically restructuring postsecondary institutions from the ground up to respond effectively to social, demographic, and economic changes in society. The second, incrementalism, seeks evolutionary change as it preserves cherished principles of academic freedom, tenure, and faculty oversight. Both restructuralists and incrementalists share the conviction that institutions face [a triple challenge] of outcomes, accessibility, and costs (Ehrmann, 1995, p. 24). Although methods designed to achieve these ends will vary according to several factors, a foundation of common understanding based on research findings should center the debate and provide the basis for an acceptable resolution.
Make Its Digitized Resources More Universally
Leveraging technology to accommodate unprecedented growth and changing demographics requires overcoming a number of daunting obstacles to universal access. For colleges and universities, universal access operates on two levels: Intranet and Internet. Universal Intranet access refers to the ability of administrators, faculty, staff, and students to access campus networks for communication, instruction, research, scholarship, public service, and business processes and procedures. Major problems associated with universal Intranet access include (1) the inconsistent quality of offcampus dial-in networking services, (2) the shortcomings of campus computer labs, particularly as a critical safety net for on-campus students without computer access, and (3) the escalating costs of supporting an array of on- and off-campus software options and hardware configurations (Graves, 1997). Higher education providers will be hard-pressed to achieve the important goal of universal Intranet access without an unfaltering commitment to strategic and fiscal planning.