by James L. Morrison and Jeanne C. Meister // Vision
Corporations have long since brought banks and dry cleaners within their walls for the convenience of staff members. Now they are beginning to establish something far more important on site: corporate universities that provide employees with practical business knowledge, managerial competence, and task-oriented education. According to Jeanne Meister, President of Corporate University XChange, more than 1,600 of these learning centers now exist. James Morrison interviews Meister to discover why, in her Vision of the future of education, corporate universities will outnumber their traditional counterparts by the year 2010.
Beyond Teacher Bashing: Practical, Philosophical, and Pedagogical Influences on Educators' Use of Educational Technologies
by Nancy Cooley and Michelle A. Johnston // Commentary
According to a recent report from the CEO Forum on Education and Technology, "children of the Digital Age are too often taught by teachers prepared with techniques more appropriate to the Industrial Age." Rather than simply blame teachers for their inadequacies, however, the Forum investigates the factors behind their rejection and/or lack of knowledge about technology. In this issue's Commentary, Nancy Cooley and Michelle Johnston cite additional literature that moves from teacher-bashing to a productive discussion of the practical, philosophical, and pedagogical influences on educators' uses of technology.
by Stephen Downes // Commentary
In our second Commentary, Stephen Downes contends that today's educational technology is like a Rube Goldberg contraption: technology-enabled classrooms are a mish-mash of computers with associated wires, video displays, modems, CD-ROM libraries, tapes, and more. To use these tools effectively, teachers must slog through dense operating manuals and avoid being distracted by malfunctions. Does it really have to be so complicated? Downes says no and argues that purchasers should insist on?and vendors should be pressed for?equipment so easy to use that educators can spend less time fussing with wires and more time engaging students in useful activities. Read on to learn Downes's nine criteria for "good" technology.
by Carol Sears Botsch and Robert E. Botsch // Case Studies
In 1998, Carol and Robert Botsch, professors at the University of South Carolina at Aiken, became the first USCA faculty members to offer a course completely online. They designed the class with their colleagues' fears in mind; other faculty had expressed concern that Web courses would significantly decrease interpersonal contact with students, be plagued by issues of testing security, and require too much work to create and maintain. In their Case Study, Botsch and Botsch explain how they avoided these pitfalls and offer advice to anyone facing the daunting task of winning over doubting faculty to Web-based instruction.
by John Foltz and Ann Garnsey-Harter // Case Studies
Agriculture is big business in Idaho, a large and sparsely populated state. But those who wish to study the subject often live and work far from a university center. Thus the College of Agriculture at the University of Idaho, as part of a larger tri-state alliance, now offers an upper-division Agribusiness Management class through distance delivery. In our second Case Study, John Foltz and Ann Garnsey-Harter detail the objectives, requirements, and innovative features of the course.
by Stephen Kessell // Faculty and Staff Development
Stephen Kessell takes readers to Australia in his Faculty and Staff Development article. Kessell notes that, like many of its counterparts worldwide, the Western Australian Department of Education is striving to meet prescribed student-computer ratios and outfit schools with hardware, software, networks, and infrastructure. Training teachers to use new technology is problematic, however, given that Western Australia is a large landmass and that many of its educators work in remote, Outback areas. Kessell has rescued these teachers by creating (with colleagues at the Curtin University of Technology) a Learning Technologies postgraduate program that is taught entirely via the Internet and CD-ROM. Now even the most isolated instructors can learn how to connect their classrooms to the world.
by Katie Kashmanian // Critical Reading
How does technology affect the health, creativity, and brain development of children? Are schools better off with or without computers in the classroom? Katie Kashmanian offers a Critical Reading of two books that address those very questions: Donald Tapscott's Growing Up Digital and Jane Healy's Failure to Connect. The authors agree that schools are ill-positioned to embrace technology and use it properly, and both advocate a significant redesign of instructional environments. But while Tapscott touts the benefits that even pre-schoolers can gain from technology use, Healy claims that computers are "not necessary or even desirable in the lives of most children under age seven." Kashmanian weighs their arguments and contributes to the debate.
by Stephen Downes // Spotlight Site
The Spotlight Site for this issue is MCI Worldcom's MarcoPolo, a repository of teaching resources from six educational and cultural institutions that provide free Internet content for K-12 education. Stephen Downes praises MarcoPolo for providing comprehensive materials that adhere to national curriculum and evaluation standards. But he also questions whether the presence of corporate names and logos throughout the site compromises its mission. This review is a must-read for anyone interested in the issues surrounding Web-based instructional resources.
by Cathy Gunn // Virtual University
In the taxonomy of Virtual Universities, the Illinois Virtual Campus is considered an online catalog; it lists the distance education offerings of colleges and universities across the state and provides support for students who elect to take distance courses. Director Cathy Gunn details for Technology Source readers the "high touch" services that the IVC provides in order to ensure that students' experiences with online learning are successful and rewarding.
by Mathieu Deflem // Letters to the Editor
In a Letter to the Editor, Mathieu Deflem claims that he was misrepresented in a previous issue. Stephen Downes suggested in a March/April letter to the Technology Source that Deflem disapproves of online learning. Deflem counters that his real beef is with commercial companies that invade colleges and universities to buy and post lecture notes without instructors' permission.