Assignment information Communication Technology

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Information Communication Technology

Uses of Information Communication Technology (ICT)


The higher education community is planning for a world in which information communication technology (ICT) will be so pervasive that the very institution of higher education will change. Of course, information communication technology probably can be used to improve higher education. But information communication technology is exceedingly flexible, and we will face numerous choices about how best to apply it. Some of those choices are straightforward matters of efficiency, best left to technical experts. Other choices will require us to reflect carefully on the values that a university ought to express. If educators have learned anything from attempts to improve life using information communication technology, it is that significant improvements are possible only when institutions are rethought. But in order to rethink institutions in a responsible way, we first need language to describe them.

Let us consider an example. In a 1998 letter to University of California faculty members, Sandra Weiss (1998) -- then chair of the University system's Academic Council -- discussed course articulation, which she defines as "the degree to which students can build an additive degree program by taking courses either at different institutions or at the different campuses of one institution" (all quotes page 5). (This same idea is called modularity in Britain, where it was central to the higher education policies of the Margaret Thatcher and John Major governments.) Weiss contends that flexible course articulation is important because "we have moved into an era where individual campuses are becoming part of a larger academic community -- a 'global academic village,' so to speak". information communication technology helps drive this trend, and Weiss further explains that "[f]or technology-mediated coursework, we need to identify comparable content across courses that would be acceptable for transfer and also grapple with our expectations regarding traditional 'face to face contact' between professor and student and among students themselves."

The Implications for Higher Education

Institutions of higher education now compete on the basis of their distinctive programs: one economics department, for example, might be ranked above another in a magazine survey. Departments can design the curricula for their majors according to their own distinctive approach, and students can choose the program that fits best with their values and goals. Universities can design their core curricula according to an overall educational philosophy. Because decisions about program philosophy and course content are made by the faculty, the contents of and boundaries between courses are flexible; they can be changed to suit evolving circumstances, not least the interests of the best students.

A radical increase in articulation would threaten this flexibility. Allowing students to earn academic credit at multiple campuses is often a good thing. It can create financial tension between the campuses, but it also permits students to save money, discover new interests, or overcome imperfect high school transcripts. The University of California recognizes this fact; for decades, it has encouraged students to transfer from community colleges into the UC system, even though the transfer students sometimes find this transition ...
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