Economic Impact of Information and Communication Technology in Higher Education

Economic Impact of Information and Communication Technology in Higher Education

Carol A. Brown (East Carolina University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7230-7.ch036
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Abstract

Developed nations are experiencing economic growth through the advantages associated with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Digital resources along with Massive Open Online Courses provide educational opportunities to an ever-expanding population of students. Some areas, however, lack Internet connectivity and are unable to take advantage of ICTs needed to support the demands of global economies. Cloud computing is growing in usefulness as universities are able to work with remote applications and store data on cloud servers. Along with the ubiquitous Web and ICT resources, there is also the risk of too much information, which can negatively impact job performance and satisfaction. Even with reports of faculty concerns in disproportionate amount time needed to offer online courses, the university is experiencing growth in online education, extended opportunities for global education, and a challenge to manage an incessant flow of digital information.
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Economic Impact Of Global Connectivity

Universities and colleges are facing major changes with the relationship between the institution and its students. Online courses and degree programs have contributed to what Altbach, Reisberg, and Rumbley (2010) refer to as massification, a term used to describe the growth of college enrollment at a global scale. In 1960, the United States led the world in traditional college-age student enrollments. In a subsequent report (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2008), the U.S. still ranks high but follows Korea, Greece, Poland, Ireland, Belgium and Hungry with the highest rankings of young people ages 18-24 enrolled in college. Although massification in higher education appears to impact many of the developed countries, ranking for sub-Saharan regions remains consistently low for college enrollments. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and middle and eastern Asia continue to report lower enrollments at all levels of education (UNESCO, 2010, pp. 56-57).These disparities could be an indication of the digital divide that continues to be a world-wide problem (OECD, 2003; 2013).UNESCO’s reports provide information on policies related to use of ICT, availability of electricity, telephone, and broadband. A major goal for UNESCO is to increase access to educational resources in digital format. Their mission is grounded in the belief, “...a student in a developing country can now access the library of a prestigious university anywhere in the world,” and, “teachers can gain inspiration and advice from the resources and experiences of others,” (UNESCO, 2013). While formulation of educational policy could be a starting point for ensuring equity in access to digital resources, UNESCO describes a more basic obstacle─lack of electricity and broadband connection to the Internet. In Latin America and the Caribbean, electricity is available in most primary and secondary schools. This is the same for all Caribbean countries, with the exception of the Dominican Republic, where challenges remain. The situation is somewhat different in some South and Central American countries where fewer than 80% of primary schools have electricity (Wallet, 2012).

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