The Role of Information Technology in Quality Education

The Role of Information Technology in Quality Education

G. David Garson (North Carolina State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-86-5.ch011
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Discusses the rise of information technology functions in higher education and the related advent of quality standards for on-line education. The limited nature of existing guidelines is emphasized, particularly in the dimension of establishing authentic relationships, empowerment of faculty and students, and the inculcation of critical thinking. The Borkian vision of the future of education is summarized and contrasted with the limits if not failure of the legacies of past large-scale educational investments in programmed learning and in computer simulation. The drift toward mandated standards in on-line/distance education is discussed as well as the tension of this with empowerment concepts. Further contrast is drawn between the competing models of the university as “community of scholars” and as “marketplace of consumers.” Cost-cutting motives for on-line course delivery are explored in some detail, raising issues about radical proposals to restructure university teaching functions. A hybrid model, involving both computer-mediated and face-to-face methods, is seen as the superior instructional strategy, but the cost of this model raises the danger that a two-tier educational system will emerge – a more expensive upper tier with sound traditional education supplemented with the benefits of electronic media, and a cheaper, inferior tier dispensing programmed training to meet objectives far narrower than the traditional goals of liberal education.

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