Higher Education in Transition: The Challenges of the New Millennium

By Joseph Losco; Brian L. Fife | Go to book overview
professionals, I am not exceptional. In fact, compared to some of my colleagues, I am a novice. I use the Elmo and an audio tape recorder almost daily. I use the video-cassette recorder and the overhead projector once or twice a week. I rarely connect my classroom to live satellite transmissions from Spanish-speaking countries or use my computer in class. Many of my colleagues do all of the above -- and more.My colleagues did not set out to be technowhizzes. They were not attempting to impress the department head, the dean, or someone else who was pushing technology. They use slides of places in foreign countries, tapes, or CDs of music from these countries and videos that show typical holiday celebrations. They also use live satellite transmission to put their students in contact with the news of the day and a computer link to a website to instruct students in how to obtain information from that resource. And, they do all of this because, when one teaches a foreign language, it is important to bring students into the most immediate contact possible with both the language and the culture being taught. An instructor should not use technology for technology's sake; rather, because it works.In examining all of the challenges technology will present for higher education in the next millennium, this one is paramount. Our greatest challenge, as faculty and administrators alike, will be to examine each new technology and each new application of technology critically to see what it can offer us and our students. This cannot be a knee-jerk process. That is, the first time I see a new technology, I cannot dismiss it out of hand because, at that point, it seems cumbersome, awkward, or expensive. Many of the techniques I routinely use in my courses did not work well the first time I used them. I need to grant technology the same degree of latitude that we would for any other teaching method.When one thinks of how technology has already changed so many aspects of our lives for the good, it is hard not to be enthusiastic about what the next millennium holds for us. There may even be a new technology out there that will help us reach the young man or woman in the third row that we never seem really able to teach effectively. There will be problems. Sadly, if things do not change, faculty may well have to battle their own administrators to see that technology is used well and not just in ways that the administrators advise. But, new centuries are a time for optimism. With faculty and administrators working together instead of at cross-purposes, what will we not be able to achieve in the new millennium?
APPENDIX
Technology in Higher Education: Informal Satisfaction Survey
How often can faculty on your campus/in your state system expect to get an upgrade for their office computer, printer, etc.?
____ 1-2 yrs. ____ 3-4 yrs. ____ 5-6 yrs. ____ Other, explain

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