by James L. Morrison and Sally Johnstone // Vision
In this month's Vision article, James Morrison interviews Sally M. Johnstone, Director of the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications, about information technology tools and the future. Johnstone argues that, in order to cultivate "greater comparability between institutions, "universities and colleges must develop a competency-based system of articulating academic credit. She also comments on the ways in which information technology tools, such as electronic courseware and "smart" programs, will transform the roles of both students and faculty in the coming century.
Out with the old and in with the new? In this month's Commentary article, Steven Stahl demonstrates that sometimes "old" learning theory proves remarkably effective in "new" educational environments. Stahl applies the 1930s pedagogy of psychologist Kurt Lewin to today's distance education market; by implementing Lewin's principles of active learning and cohesive teaching, Stahl argues, educators can vitalize distance learning.
In this month's Case Study, Ken Stevenson reports on the Beaufort (SC) County School District's 1997 initiative to provide laptop computers to 300 sixth-graders. Data from the County's first report will encourage and excite any educator interested in the utilization of electronic notebooks in public schools.
by Gerald S. Edmonds // Faculty and Staff Development
In our Faculty and Staff Development section for March, Gerald Edmonds summarizes the central concepts of change management, emphasizing that developers must articulate a vision and anticipate individual responses to innovation. According to Edmonds, each of these activities is essential to the successful implementation of technology in any organizational system.
In the inaugural article of the new Virtual Universities section, A. Trevor Thrall considers these basic questions: Should virtual universities develop something other than traditional curricula? Will they really prove more cost-efficient than brick-and-mortar institutions? Are students prepared for the technological skills and equipment that virtual institutions require?
Thrall raises many questions worthy of debate and solicits reader
commentary on "this fascinating and important trend in higher education."
Gary Brown and Mary Wack discuss David Noble's 1998 article, "Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education," in the first article of the new Critical Reading section. Critics have aggressively challenged Noble's contention that we are entering a new era of "commoditization" of instruction, resulting from an alliance of Machiavellian administrators and corporate predators. Brown and Wack referee the responses.
The Site of the Month for March is IFETS, the online home of the International Forum of Educational Technology & Society. The site hosts both formal and informal discussions on issues important to developers of technology-based educational systems.
In this month's Letter to the Editor, Tom Abeles argues that research universities will face far more serious challenges from the wired world than Jose-Marie Griffiths and Gary M. Gatien suggested in their February Vision article, "The Role of the Traditional Research University in the Face of the Distance Education Onslaught."