by James Shimabukuro // Vision
James Shimabukuro, in a unique Technology Source feature, offers his provocative Vision of the future of technology in higher education. Projecting readers to the year 2010, Shimabukuro imagines a post-industrial world in which teaching and learning have undergone radical changethrough rapid innovations in software and hardware, the widespread decentralization of software codes and applications, and the eclipse of the traditional university by a virtual, global network of institutions. Through these trends, he suggests, higher education will eventually be able to overcome geographic and economic barriers and offer individualized learning to students around the world. This account will undoubtedly inspire debate for many readers, and we invite you to participate in the live Author Forum session to discuss its further implications.
by James L. Morrison and Michael David Warren, Jr. // Vision
As technology has provided new opportunities to enhance education, it has also become a catalyst for reform within state school systems. In an interview with James Morrison, Michael Warren, Secretary of the Michigan Board of Education, discusses his work with the Board's Task Force on Embracing the Information Age. Stressing the need to go beyond the promotion of computer literacy, Warren outlines a systemic vision of reform for Michigan schoolsa vision that encompasses faculty training in technology, the fundamental redefinition of learning standards, the statewide integration of distance learning within education, and fostering collaborative networks among all local school districts. Through the implementation of such changes, notes Warren, the full potential of the information age can be unleashed for educators throughout the state.
by Karen Kaminski and William D. Milheim // Case Studies
When creating a new online program, institutions face an often-daunting range of issues. In their Case Study, Karen Kaminski and William D. Milheim discuss the issues that arose in the launch of an online undergraduate degree program at Colorado State University: establishing course design standards, ensuring sufficient student-instructor contact, developing efficient methods of student testing and course evaluation, and providing needed support services and academic advising to students. Additional questions with regard to marketing the program, as well ensuring sufficient faculty compensation and intellectual property rights, also became significant factors in program development. In illustrating how they addressed these challenges, the authors establish the importance of efficient, focused collaboration among faculty and administrators for success.
by Rebecca Bernstein, James T. Gorman, and Robert Wright // Case Studies
In their Case Study, Rebecca Bernstein, James T. Gorman, and Robert Wright give an overview of the planning, design, and implementation of MyUB, an online service portal for the University at Buffalo. After addressing the main goals of this project, as well as their decision to build the portal in-house, the authors discuss the additional challenges that they confronted during the design and launch of MyUB. The success of this project, they conclude, allowed the University at Buffalo to adopt a "customer service" approach in providing support to faculty and students, and thus helped to establish a stronger sense of community on campus. For institutions seeking either to develop or expand their campus networks, this case study offers a helpful account of best practices.
by Samuel Sudhakar // Faculty and Staff Development
In his Faculty and Staff Development feature, Samuel Sudhakar introduces readers to the Sandburg Educational Network (SEN), a community outreach program based at Carl Sandburg Community College in Illinois. Through this program, the college provides technology workshops to local K-12 teachers, allows school districts to share its server space, and offers distance education courses to qualified high school students. Moreover, through an initiative that will create technology-supported "learning centers" within the schools themselves, SEN's impact on its local community promises to be even greater in the near future. Sudhakar's discussion of this programits goals, challenges, and advancesestablishes a worthy model for how higher education can work hand-in-hand with surrounding schools to improve education through technology.
by Tuiren A. Bratina, Darrin Hayes, and Steven L. Blumsack // Faculty and Staff Development
In this issue's second Faculty and Staff Development article, Tuiren A. Bratina, Darrin Hayes, and Steven L. Blumsack point out the advantages of using "learning objects" for technology-supported instruction. For online educators, such learning objects may include a wide range of reusable digital resources: graphics, Web pages, electronic forms, audio and video files, and interactive content produced with graphics software packages or programming languages. Incorporating research, governmental education mandates, and common sense, the authors argue that these learning objects enrich the educational experience incalculably. At the same time, they recognize that for many teachers, selecting and creatively incorporating learning objects seems overwhelming, and they offer helpful suggestions about where to begin.
by James L. Morrison and Kenneth C. Green // Commentary
Kenneth C. Green, founding director of the Campus Computing Project, discusses the results of the recent 2002 Campus Computing Survey in a Commentary interview with James Morrison. Launched in 1990, this survey was designed to gather comprehensive data on information technology (IT) planning from educators throughout the United States. In highlighting current trendsthe broad expansion of technology-enhanced instruction, the increased use of course management systems, and the development of campus portalsGreen assesses how far we have come over the past decade. He also comments on the impact of budgetary cutbacks in IT, as well as current efforts in China to integrate IT into the learning process. By placing technological innovation in a broader context, Green's research offers a valuable touchstone for educational policymakers.
by Jamus Jerome Lim // Commentary
In his Commentary, Jamus Jerome Lim assesses the OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whereby MIT offers free, online access to its varied course materials. By examining this initiative within the context of a knowledge-based economy, with emphasis on how it fosters change in both the supply and demand of learning, Lim provides readers with a broader sense of OCW's implications for higher education. Lim also addresses some of the critical issues that have been raised in response to the initiativethe role of intellectual property rights, the question of faculty incentives for course development, and the inherent limitations of OCW as an independent vehicle of online learning. While the short-term impact of this initiative will be modest, Lim concludes, its long-term impact promises to be significant as institutions continue to adapt to a new playing field.
by Stephen Downes // Spotlight Site
For our Spotlight Site feature, Stephen Downes offers readers a guided tour of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Web site, with particular focus on the much-publicized OpenCourseWare components that MIT has released for public use. While such free access to MIT materials is not intended to provide an entirely self-sufficient learning experience, this initiative has been regarded by many as an influential first step towards promoting greater access to high quality educational resources. After taking their tour with Downes, readers will want to explore the site further to see what MIT has to offer.