Untangling the Web: Applications of the Internet and Other Information Technologies to Higher Learning

By David J. McArthur; Matthew W. Lewis | Go to book overview

Chapter Six
ADDRESSING PLANNING AND POLICY: HOW TO
MAKE THE BEST USE OF THE INTERNET
AND WWW IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Anyone who began reading this report with the expectation that simple prescriptions would be given for increasing productivity in higher education using information technology might be confused at this point, if not disappointed. Far from sketching an easy fix, we have reviewed a wide array of Internet and Web-based applications for education and training. And the applications are not just numerous; they differ along many dimensions:
• Distance-learning systems aim (at least primarily) to increase access to learning while reducing costs.
• Cutting-edge applications, such as intelligent tutoring systems and simulation-based trainers, increase the quality of learning but will not help institutions deal with shrinking budgets (at least in the short term).
• Individual publishing may be the best way to provide a new generation of learning materials that are responsive to consumer and business needs (although this approach is much newer and less certain than traditional publishing).
• Online communities might help in meeting many challenges in higher education (yet most seem to operate outside current institutional structures rather than within them).
• External providers of training and educational services are making some of the most innovative uses of the Internet (but it is rarely clear how higher education should use these models and whether to do so in new markets, such as contract training, or in more-traditional venues).

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