I. Executive Summary of the Higher Education Sector Report
This report is a 'deliverable' of the Deploy Project, an
EC-funded bridging initiative between the European Commission Telematics
Applications Programme (TAP) and both users of and providers to the
'Information Society' at public, private, national and regional levels
The Confederation of European Union Rectors' Conferences, as a partner
of the EU-funded Deploy Project, surveyed via reports from twelve
national and international panels of experts in EU countries both
expectations of and perceived barriers to the implementation of new
information technologies (IT) in European higher education and research.
The higher education sector is significant for IT implementation, inasmuch
as universities have played key roles in IT development from the
beginning, consider the use of IT as indispensable to the future of higher
education, and exert significant influence on national political and
budgetary decisions regarding IT.
The reports submitted by the panels were based on, though not limited
to, an 11-page Desk Study on Higher Education and Research and
6-page Desk Study Synthesis Report, provided as a stimulus for
discussion and response. These presented a wide selection of issues
relevant to the increased usage of IT in higher education as culled from
publications of experts in the field. The national panels were asked to
verify, falsify, qualify, clarify or expand upon the issues in their
The national panels all felt that IT was of crucial significance for
higher education. The most-cited benefits were the growing immediacy of
access to information via the World-Wide Web and other internet tools;
remote access to computerized libraries and archives; the potential of
computer-assisted learning -- ranging from web or CD-ROM-based courseware
to help teach basic subject studies to the visualization of complex
scientific modelling on high-end workstations; and the extension of the
learning environment itself beyond the classroom to homes, workplaces, and
remote or rural areas. This step could, when complete, enable truly equal
opportunity in life-long learning.
However, the panels voiced concern about a number of real and potential
barriers to IT implementation. Foremost was cost. The oft-heard
suggestion by politicians and budget planners that IT would have a high
initial cost followed by economies of scale that would allow 'educational
savings' and staff 'efficiencies' was rejected outright. The panels felt
that costs will be high initially and higher thereafter. Massive continual
investment in hardware, software, and both intra- and inter- institutional
networking infrastructure is needed on the one hand, and vastly-expanded
staff (and student) training on the other, concurrent with the
establishment of funding for courseware development.
There were also concerns about the widely varying capabilities of European
regions and countries, as well as the mutual and urgent need to expand
internet bandwidth. Bandwidth must be expanded exponentially in order to
cope even with current demand, not to mention the vastly increased demands
of the near future. Also, as capability to communicate across cultural
boundaries increases, so must the ability to cope with cross-cultural
complexities inherent in that communication. As computer-mediated
independent learning expands, universities must understand and address the
changed roles of teacher, learner and educational institution alike in the
new educational process.
The panels felt that little research has been done on the pedagogical or
psychological implications of Open and Distance Learning, or on what the
goals, objectives and problematics of IT are in the educational process.
Other perceived barriers included a lack of qualified instructors to relay
IT expertise in a pedagogically meaningful way; the lack of standardized
software, both within institutions and between education and the
workplace; and a lack of adequate computers for staff even to keep up with
innovation in their own fields of expertise, much less to be able to
meaningfully incorporate IT in their teaching or serve as developers of
new courseware. Both the peculiarity of university bureaucracy and the
institutional rivalries within higher education are also handicaps to the
increased cooperation within and among institutions that is needed for
efficient development, evaluation and deployment of training expertise or
The national panels unanimously recommended more funding, more training
and more information toward solutions to these problems. The social and
educational context of IT is not yet fully known. Research must be funded
into the broad effects of IT as well as into its expansion. In the social
context, research is urgently needed on health issues rapidly emerging
from greater use of computers, as well as on the potential of telematics
to fragment traditional social structures and isolate individuals.
In the educational context, IT should be understood as simply one more
tool (albeit a powerful tool) for teaching and research. It offers ways
to enrich and compliment traditional 'face-to-face' learning. But the
notion that distance learning will supplant or even reduce the need for
physical human instruction or tutoring is unlikely to happen, nor in most
cases is it desirable.
Fully integrating IT into higher education will be a long-term process.
To succeed, it must be supported by coherent training implemented through
clearly-defined policies at Department, Faculty, University and National
levels. Higher education (in common with the larger society around it) has
not yet thought through what it wishes to do, or can afford to do, with
IT. It must do so.
Better coordination is needed among IT users at all levels of higher
education and research, as well as closer cooperation among educational
institutions and between higher education and its social, economic and
political environments. Tele-learning must become application-specific,
user-specific and user adaptive. Quality standards must be maintained.
Educational end-user needs must be understood and appreciated for the
market to produce viable courseware. Teachers need time as well as legal,
financial and academic-status incentives if they are to produce useful
courseware. Bandwidth must be increased Europe-wide to ensure better
research and education data flows. And more human understanding is needed
of the personal and cultural contexts in which this data flows.
The immense potential IT holds for higher education is apparent, but so
is the realization that implementing IT will carry its own costs. European
higher education and research will undergo significant change in the near
future, the exact nature and influence of which is not easily predictable.
The Report's recommendations will be submitted to the Members of the
Confederation of European Union Rectors' Conferences, with a view toward
establishing comprehensive guidelines for the deployment of information
and communications technologies in higher education and research.
II. Introduction to the Higher Education Sector Report
Deploy's objective is to "improve the understanding of and
the conditions for the implementation of an Information Society".
The first step was to identify key issues relevant to the deployment of
telematics in an Information Society. Through autumn 1996, Deploy
focused on Education and Research, Rural Areas, and Small and Medium-sized
Enterprises, in order to extract from users in these three sectors a wide
range of reactions, perceptions, and possible strategies or architectures
for the implementation of information technology which would be relevant
not only to these three, but by extrapolation also to other IT sectors,
such as Transport or Medicine and Health.
Issues identified in the feedback have been validated via workshops and
local user group meetings throughout Europe to ensure that they are
representative across all TAP sectors and European regions. Issues on
which there has been consensus will be presented to "Public Authorities,
Service Providers and Private Industry in order to gain resolution". The
second Deploy phase will then test specific solutions to issues and
concerns that were validated during the initial phase.
The Deploy partner responsible for surveying the implementation
of IT within European higher education and research is the Confederation
of European Union Rectors' Conferences, a membership association of the
national Rectors' Conferences of all fifteen European Union countries,
together with seven non-EU Associate members.
Higher Education may be considered the most significant of the
Deploy sectors. Whereas Deploy distinguishes between three
main types of information society actors, (1) users of telematics; (2)
providers of telematics; and (3) economic, social and political decision
makers of telematic policies; the higher education sector is unique in its
representation of all three groups:
- Universities have developed much of the existing IT
infrastructure, and university-based researchers and
consultants are universally engaged in developing and
assessing local and national IT options;
- Universities provide a high proportion of IT user access
via the telematic enfranchisement of their students and
teaching and research staff -- as well as individuals and
institutions outside higher education who enjoy access to
the information society via university facilities;
- Universities through their Rectors, professors and other
public policy shapers exert a high degree of influence on
IT policy development within their nations.
Thus, issues in the Higher Education and Research Sector should provide
an overview of IT prospects and problematics which are relevant well
beyond the educational sector alone. Higher education represents the
leadership in both information society experience and innovation
III. Information Collection Procedure
The collection procedure used by the Confederation produced a wide
cross-section of perspective from throughout European higher education.
Report requests were submitted to the national Rectors' Conferences of all
fifteen EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,
Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain,
Sweden, and the United Kingdom). This is sixteen Rectors' Conferences in
all, since Belgium has separate Conferences for Francophone and Flemish
universities. Requests were also sent to the Confederation's seven
Associate Members (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Poland,
Slovak Republic and Switzerland). EU funding to subsize the costs of
national meetings was available for the 15 EU countries.
Requests for reports were sent in January 1996, with followup in March
for conferences who had not yet responded. Submission of reports was
voluntary; each national Conference could determine if it wished to submit
a report, and if so what the composition and working procedure of its
local panel of experts would be. Reports were to be submitted by June
Reports from ten countries, including nine Rectors' Conferences, are
included in this Summary. The Conferences represented are
Belgium-Flemish, Belgium-Francophone, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece,
Ireland, the Netherlands and Portugal. A report from a Deploy
seminar on "Open and Distance Training Systems" in Valencia, Spain was
included due to its topic and the fact that its participants were
university-based, even if it was not sponsored by the Spanish Rectors'
Two other reports were also included in this Summary; those of an
07 May Brussels meeting of national representatives from
participating EU Rectors' Conferences, and an 08 May Brussels
meeting of Confederation "sister organizations", including EUCEN,
EuroPace 2000, the Association of European Universities (CRE),
ESMU (European Centre for Strategic Management of Universities),
the Coimbra Group, and the European Association for International
The totalling twelve reports which form the foundation for this
Summary were detailed and indicative of much reflection and
concern on the prospects for new information technology media in
European higher education. The reports ranged from two to twenty
pages in length (usually single-spaced and small print), with a
median length of about eight pages. The numbers and identities
of the national panels of experts were not given in all reports,
but where available they averaged about nine participants, who
represented different institutions and regions of the country.
Where identified, participants were most often Rectors or vice-
rectors, professors from a range of disciplines, and directors of
computing, hypermedia or information technology centers, with
occasional representatives of Ministries of Education and higher
educational professional associations.
Reports were based on (though not limited to) an eleven-page
"Desk Study on Higher Education and Research" prepared by the
Confederation in March 1996 and six-page "Desk Study Synthesis
Report", both of which were sent to each national Rectors'
Conference for dissemination to its local panel(s) of experts
(both form part of the WP3 deliverables). The Desk Study and the
Synthesis Report were intended as general, non-exhaustive 'snapshots' of
the IT status quo in February 1996, designed to elicit comments from the
national panels of experts on issues which had been identified in the two
reports, as well as any additional issues which each panel was free to
contribute. Issues presented in the Desk Study and the Synthesis Report
were taken from recent publications of experts on IT in higher education.
While the Confederation assembled the Desk Study and Synthesis Report, the
issues and opinions presented in the two documents were those of the
authors of the publications, not of the Confederation itself or its member
The function of the national panels of experts was to qualify,
verify, falsify and/or clarify the issues and opinions presented
in the Desk Study and the Synthesis Report. As the selection of
issues and the way particular issues were described in the two
documents may have been significant in influencing the responses
of the national panels of experts, summaries of both the Desk
Study and the Synthesis Report are presented below.
IV. The 'Desk Study Synthesis Report'
The "Desk Study Synthesis Report" outlined the Deploy focus and
methodology, and identified Key Issues common to all three Deploy
sectors, e.g. Market, Environmental, Psychological, and Political/Power
issues. Subordinate concerns within these Issues, as had been reported in
current literature, included (abridged, numbered and slightly reworded for
- Costs: High investment costs, the need for constant
updating of hardware, unpredictability of long-term costs for
hardware, software, training and infrastructure, restraints
on external funding; perceived high overhead operating costs.
- Psychological Barriers: Lack of confidence in telematics,
lack of privacy, fear of technology, fear of loss of jobs,
cultural traditions, personal habits, general ignorance.
- Lack of Training: Lack of time for training,
age/education as factors, limited computer literacy among
teachers, lack of incentive or motivation to employ IT.
- Organization and Structure: Conflict of organizational
hierarchies and local/regional power structures; implications for IT
diffusion; limited time for managers to be informed on IT, lack of
managerial open-mindedness (lack of confidence, perceived threats).
- Culture: Different European attitudes toward "progress",
group working, etc.
- Legal Aspects: Copyright integrity, security, individual
rights to use private electronic audiovisual conferencing.
- Language: User manuals and on-line help often available
only in English, and even this often incomprehensible jargon.
- Market Issues: Lack of information about IT markets for
designing/producing/selling IT content, lack of clarity on
obtainable benefits, services perceived to be technically
driven rather than content-driven, radius of targeted users.
- Tariffs, Data Transfer Rates, Standards, Services: There
are still regions where basic telephony is unavailable or
erratic, thus blocking IT usage; when it is available, long
connection periods produce high tariffs for on-line access;
broadband evolution is needed to speed data transfer; more
network services (file transfer, remote access, etc.) are
needed; information on user needs is inadequate; open systems
and interoperability is needed; non-standardized systems and
proprietary solutions are feared, but so is the destructive
potential of standardization on market niches.
- Time and Effort: Concern that IT may represent too
little value for the time invested to learn and properly use
it; that it may create too many distractions from what the
employee or the student, for example, should be doing.
- Traditional Thinking, Lack of Enthusiasm: Universities
see growth in terms of physical size (buildings, libraries,
etc.) rather than progress through IT development; rural
areas see growth as a threat to traditional jobs. The design
or focus of most broadband networks is on entertainment and
commerce, not education; designs are not in accordance with
local needs; the needs of end-users are often neglected.
- Bureaucracy and Power Play: Bureaucracies of national
and European policies and organizations are obstacles as
such; the restructuring of society and change in the balance
of power is seen as too-new, threatening, and expensive.
V. The 'Desk Study on Higher Education and
The "Desk Study on Higher Education and Research" put the general
issues of the "Synthesis Report" into a higher education context.
It defined IT for Deploy purposes as including virtually any
telematics or computer-assisted tool, including e-mail, internet
and WWW facilities, CAD/CAM, video-conferencing, multimedia
educational software, satellite communications, on-line search
systems, electronics-based distance education, and advanced
library cataloging and search systems.
'Education and research' was defined as all types of higher
education where research is a fundamental part of the activity,
including universities, technical and agricultural institutions,
architecture schools, business schools, music and art schools and
conservatories, other specialized higher educational institutions
and also public bodies such as ministries of education, research
councils, associations of deans, and agencies for cooperation
within higher education.
Most of the Desk Study citations came from education, teaching and
learning rather than research or university policies or strategies.
However, the way in which IT is spreading into all aspects of higher
education administration was illustrated, as was a cautionary note that
opportunity to benefit from IT still varies greatly from one university,
region or country to another. The Desk Study also included two chapters
on "Using IT to Enhance Education" (is it 'teaching to use, or using to
teach'?) and "What Can IT Contribute to Increase Learning?". The latter
described five potential benefits:
- Economies of Scale: the cost of IT instruction per student
is expected to be low after a large initial investment -- the number
of students educated can be multiplied without a proportional increase
in resources; distance learning cooperation among universities will
result in considerable savings; enormous quantities of information can
be navigated at low cost.
- Customization: IT will offer mass customization,
allowing institutions to accommodate individual differences
in student goals, learning styles and abilities while
providing improved convenience for both students and faculty
on an "any time, any place" basis.
- Information Flow: IT will ease the limits of time and
space in educational activity, providing necessary student-
teacher communication over less-necessary direct physical
contact, a resulting improved convenience for both student
and faculty, and higher motivation to follow.
- Self-Paced Learning: IT will enable a self-paced
learning which is sensitive to individual learning styles.
Interactive technologies can deliver education to students
where and when it is needed, in structures and at speeds in
line with individual requirements. Through continuous
assessment, teachers will be able to pinpoint areas where
more study is needed, with specialized multimedia
applications triggering further practice.
- Availability. Services will need to be available 24
hours a day, 365 days a year. Can this be reliably provided?
Finally, the Desk Study identified ten perceived "Barriers" to
increased IT implementation in higher education. These were presented as:
- Costs. Initial costs, though soon recoverable, are often
substantial, and in the early stage advantages may be
outweighed by disadvantages. Networking and communications
technologies must become cheaper and faster; the combination
of high cost for connective infrastructure and slow data
transfer rates is seen as a major development handicap.
Further, the high infrastructure costs may not be viewed by
all as an 'investment for the future', since IT changes so
rapidly that there is a constant need for updating.
- Traditional Thinking. Universities often consider 'growth'
in terms of new buildings and physical expansion, rather than IT
progress. There is often a belief that IT development will translate
into reducing faculty numbers and increasing student-faculty ratios.
- Lack of Services. According to an EITIRT Report on
"Distance Learning", the availability of interoperable
network services (e-mail, file transfer, remote access) in
Europe is uneven, and further hindered by poor cooperation
among local, regional and national actors.
- Tariffs. Distance learning requires lengthy on-line
connections, resulting in high communication tariffs. Total
connectivity costs cannot easily be calculated; this makes budgeting
and decision-making difficult.
- Data Transfer Rates. The limiting factor of slow data
transfer rates must be addressed by developers and standards
bodies, and the high cost obstacle resolved by politicians,
administrators and governing bodies. Further, the importance
of the education and training market should be emphasized to
service providers, relative to games and light entertainment.
- Limited Computer Literacy Among Teachers. Faculty
members are often ill-prepared to design new courses for new
media and developing technologies. Discussions of pedagogy
are rare in most research universities, and there is little
incentive for professors and lecturers to work with new media
for teaching, even if they had the training to do so. Also,
teachers do not agree on methods for teaching/training. New
technologies are not perceived by all as the path to pursue
for improved teaching and training.
- Time and Effort. Some institutions feel that IT requires
too much time and effort, creates too many distractions, and
yields too little value relative to investment. Faculty are
often ambivalent to using technology in their teaching.
Administrators may be more positive, but when faced with
budget shortages may find it difficult to shift their
importance. There is also suspicion of systems reliability
and data corruption, both of which are sometimes perceived as
resulting in 'more work in the long run' for teachers who do
begin to use technologies in teaching.
- Lack of Enthusiasm Among Service Providers. IT delivers
only what the marketplace provides. Most service providers
are currently supplying for the commercial sector of the
present, not the educational sector of the future. Designers
are primarily concerned with commercial rather than
educational requirements. The need for interaction is not
well understood by the design or the education communities.
- Bureaucracy of National and European Organizations and Policies.
The key to European competitiveness will be the harmonization and
deregulation of structures. This is occurring too slowly for IT to
gain critical mass, considering the diversity of European society.
The Desk Study concluded with a List of Main Actors Involved in
European IT, a review of educational end users identified by the
DELTA BEACON programme (Initial and Basic Education, Vocational
Training, Continuing Education, Professional Training), a brief
case study of the U.K.'s Open University, and a Bibliography of
print and web sources used in compiling the Desk Study.
VI. General Observations on the Study, Report, and Panel
The various national panels of experts employed the Desk Study
and the Synthesis Report quite differently in formulating their
reports. Some referred point-by-point to the opinions presented;
others used the Desk Study and Synthesis Report as background for
their own observations, with little direct reference to points
presented in the two documents. Several reports criticized the Desk Study
and Synthesis Report as presenting the role and potential of IT in higher
education as self-evident, but at the same time with a tone that
emphasized the problematics of employing IT rather than its intrinsic
value or application potential. The language and structural clarity of
the reports was also criticized.
However, apart from these relatively-minor criticisms of clarity,
weight and language, the Desk Study and Synthesis Report were employed by
the national panels as they had been intended -- as brief summarizations
of published expert opinion on IT issues in higher education and research
taken from current literature which were designed as a stimulus for
discussion and for the production of the national panel reports. One
should thus bear in mind when reading this Summary that most references to
the 'Desk Study and Synthesis Report' were to the opinions of experts
cited in those documents, rather than to the Study and Report as 'policy
statements' in their own right.
Each national report was a useful addition to the body of
responses; some were themselves worthy of publication. However,
due to wide variation in the styles and translations of the reports, this
Summary will present issues on which there was consensus without
attribution to individual countries except where the reference is
self-evident. The Summary's organization was influenced by the five-day
'window' remaining for its production after all the national panel reports
had been received.
VII. Issues the Panels Felt Had Been Insufficiently
The reports generally adopted the definition of IT, assumptions
of IT potential for higher education, and the practical problems
and technical barriers to current and future IT utilization as
presented in the Desk Study and Synthesis Report. However, there
were a number of issues which the national panels felt had been
missing or insufficiently addressed in the two documents.
Political problems were felt to overshadow other problems, especially
in light of recent European higher education budget cutbacks. The recent
buzzwords when discussing educational technologies have been 'educational
savings', 'economies of scale' and 'cost reduction'. From a political
point of view the savings objective seems to have played a larger role
than concepts of improvement, flexibility or learner efficiency. The
figures imagined for cost reductions seemed highly overestimated unless
they were, as one comment put it, "part of a cover-up for the devaluation
of European higher education." If the political interest in educational
technologies for the benefit of savings could be separated from the
genuine pedagogical and learner-oriented interests, IT implementation
could be much easier, without many of the problems mentioned in the Desk
A further criticism of the Desk Study was the assumption that
initial costs would be high whereas running costs would be low.
Indeed one of the most remarkable results was that none of the
national panels of experts agreed with "Potential Benefit #1" of
the Desk Study that the introduction of IT would bring economies
of scale after an initial high investment.
According to the panels, "economies of scale" is a frequent claim of
politicians and budget planners who are not familiar with IT development.
This is sometimes called the "Dilbert syndrome", after a cartoon in which
the "Dilbert" character observes that the world will soon evolve into two
distinct classes, those who know computers and those who do not, both of
whom have their own evolutionary destiny. "But then, as now..." observed
Dilbert, "... policy will be made by the latter group."
The consensus of the reports was that budgeting should rather show
initial costs as high, but with system maintenance, continuous
infrastructural development, increasing user support, and both hardware
and software upgrades combining to make future running costs even higher.
This is for infrastructure and user access alone. When one
considers the 'life expectancy' of scientific data in either
teaching or research software, the running costs for development
and upgrading alone will be enormous. 'Economies of scale' is a
myth, since investments must continuously be channeled into new
new areas, new equipment, and new projects.
Assumptions about the availability of adequate bandwidth to
supply rapid data transfer for all were also simplistic. The
demand for greater bandwidth is far greater than the ability for
this to be provided, which also means that tariffs are unlikely
to be reduced significantly. Even in individual universities the
concept of equal, unlimited access is technically unworkable.
Bandwidth may be adequate for 10% of students to have unlimited
access, but what if there are 80,000 students and 100% were to
have access? The hardware costs alone would be prohibitive.
The IT capabilities of European countries vary widely. While some
countries, notably in the Nordic region and the northern tier of
continental Europe, have excellent communications infrastructures, with
ATM and optical cable networks within institutions and between cities, and
ISDN facilities available at relatively low cost for home use, the ability
of educators to work with colleagues in other countries is hindered by the
lack of matching capability across regional or national boundaries.
In universities the obstacles for applying information technology
often are not technical, but rather those of organizational
culture and changes in traditional procedures. For instance,
university computing centers were formerly service providers, but
their role is now changing almost entirely to one of support and
maintenance. The Desk Study did not deal with who has the
responsibility for applying the power of information technology.
Moreover, the role of communication (ICT) as part of information
technology (IT) was not addressed in the Desk Study. Apparently it was
assumed that communication was intrinsic to IT. But is it? The main
problem within universities may be the flow of information, not the
equipment. And with ICT involving different nations, cultures, and
languages, the problematics inherent in ICT are manifest.
Distinction should be made among the three different uses of ICT
in higher education, (1) learning about ICT; (2) learning with
the aid of ICT (software tools), and (3) learning through ICT
(courseware). The first point requires adequate technical
infrastructure, especially in software. The first and second
points combined would enable students and staff to have easy
access to databases, search systems and the like. Point three
relates directly to the learning process itself; it requires much
greater self-reliance from students.
The consequence of the vast increase in the amount of information
available and the ability to access it telematically is that the
traditional relationship between teacher and student will change
dramatically. The benefit may be that 'students' will evolve into
'independent learners' with the skills necessary for 'life-long learning'.
However, there was little reflection in the Desk Study about the use of
new technologies in the educational process. What do people want to do
with them? Which are the ways in which to obtain the envisaged goals?
IT functions best in disseminating raw data, not 'information' in the
sense of data which can be effectively applied; certainly not 'knowledge'
in the sense by which historical and cultural wisdom is used to reflect on
ways in which context may make data differently informative. How to
'improve the learning process' was totally absent from the Desk Study. The
function of IT is not to 'increase learning' but rather to 'contribute to
learning'. The Information Society may well prompt a return to classical
education to help people absorb and interpret the increased flow of raw
The problem of 'minority languages' inherent in IT was also not
addressed in the Desk Study. With English as the de facto
language of internet software and communications, and most major
databases also in English, lesser-spoken European languages such
as Greek are disadvantaged. Greece, for example, cannot easily
obtain and transfer information in Greek. This is an impediment
both for communication within countries such as Greece and for
international cooperation. European agreement on communications
standards may not be resolved until all EU languages and national
character sets are perceived as having equal opportunity.
VIII. Positive Expectations Presented in the National
The expectations of the national panels of experts on what
benefits would accrue from the increased application of
information technologies within higher education ranged from
greater ability with simple practical computational skills to the
emergence of relatively abstract large-scale social change.
The ability of students and staff to work productively with basic
word processing, spreadsheet and database software, and navigate
independently through data in computerized libraries and archives
and on the World-Wide Web was viewed as one of the greatest
benefits, as was IT's ability to extend the learning environment
via direct access or the internet to student flats, allowing
interactive work from home as well as from university classrooms.
In short, IT can provide rapid access to comprehensive sources of
knowledge to support teaching and research; telecooperation which
will allow groups of people to work on projects simultaneously,
even from different locales and time zones; and telematically-mediated
educational environments in which interactive teaching and learning
courseware, intelligent tutoring systems, and/or computer-assisted
teaching and learning may be combined.
The potential of open and distance learning (ODL) was considered as
holding the most promise. ODL could provide a flexible and economic
solution to the problem of overcrowding in university classrooms, create a
stronger professional training and continuing education connection between
the university and the employment market, and provide an easier basis
for life-long learning. It could enable access to significant lessons for
every student, with instruction that is more interactive and individually
relevant than attendance at mass lectures. It could be adapted to every
subject and discipline, allow independent, self-paced studies, and provide
individualized student follow-up. It could save physical mobility costs
by bringing training directly into the workplace or the home.
Moreover, educational management changes, such as on-line institutional
promotional material, student recruitment, admissions counseling, language
and subject testing, university orientation, course registration, degree
certification, and job placement were all seen as areas in which IT could
have immediate application, potentially enabling the reduction of
Other desired benefits repeatedly cited among the teaching and research
expectations were improved searching capabilities of computerized
libraries, archives, and museum collections (both locally and by remote
access); quicker and more reliable communication among research teams; a
greater ability to use sophisticated modeling to study the effects of
complex interactions; the ability to use 3-D virtual reality for the
visualization of physics phenomena, engineering processes, and the complex
organisms and interactions of biology, medicine and the life sciences;
automated teaching and training; the utilization of distance expertise;
the synthesis of complex presentations in case studies; and greater
potential for student performance evaluation via tele-interaction. A
shift to more case study-based self-tuition and project and
assignment-oriented education is also expected, with a corresponding
decrease in lectures and the improvement of communication between students
and teachers, as well as among students themselves. The desired result is
more quality and efficiency in teaching.
Tele-working, telecommuting and telematically-mediated distance
education may also combine to reduce problems of over-urbanization in many
countries, revitalize remote rural areas, improve the quality of life and
reduce environmental pollution by lessening traffic congestion. It could
provide access to education and training to those who are unable to travel
to the universities and training centers where it was formerly offered
IX. Perceived Barriers to Information Technologies
The chief and most immediate problem faced by universities is the lack
of time and training for staff to learn the basics of IT competence, two
factors which are essential before one can even think of properly using IT
in one's instruction, or producing courseware oneself. It is unreasonable
to expect faculty to combine the development and introduction of new
educational materials with their regular teaching jobs. Staff are not
given time to invest in IT, nor are they rewarded for such investment even
if taken on their own initiative. The teaching staff often does not even
have adequate computer hardware and software to allow them to keep up with
what their students are doing, much less for them to be leaders in
IT-based research methodology or developers of educational courseware.
Further, staff are extraordinarily sensitive to frequent claims by
politicians and university administrators that increased use of multimedia
study modules, telematically-mediated distance education and other forms
of IT in higher education will lead to 'economies of scale' with more
education being provided by a reduced teaching staff. There could hardly
be a greater dis-incentive for teachers than the prospect of their
investment in IT training and resources leading directly to reduced status
or outright unemployment by their institution.
On a Europe-wide perspective, student access is also problematic.
Although most university students in the Nordic region and several
countries in northern Europe have Internet access, it is rare even here
that use of the Internet would have been integrated into the educational
process itself. Moreover, the mere fact that students may have access to
unlimited amounts of information via the Internet does not in itself
induce a spontaneous learning process.
Although there has been much publicity about the promise of IT
for higher education, less is being done in universities than the
media might lead one to believe. Even where IT is being used, the
usage is uneven in the various disciplines. A German evaluation
of 3400 questionnaires revealed that ICT is used in some way in
51% of all subjects at universities and 64% of subjects at
technical universities or Fachhochschulen. However, the
proportion of academic staff who used ICT was significantly
lower, ranging between 0.2% for dentistry and 7.6% for surveying
at universities, and from 0.3% for process engineering to 11.4%
for mathematics at Fachhochschulen. Average use of ICT for all
subjects was 2-3% for universities and 3-5% for Fachhochschulen.
Expansion of their use of ICT was planned in 31% of universities and 48%
of Fachhochschulen, especially in networking and software.
ICT was used primarily for simulation and demonstration purposes,
followed by reinforcing or complementing syllabus material. It
was used least of all for imparting knowledge in a more efficient
manner; easing the burden of the teacher and/or increasing the
motivation of the students played only minor roles. Further, the
high proportional usage of simulations and demonstrations may
suggest that some of the software employed was not originally
designed for teaching purposes.
Perhaps key to these points was the observation that "As far as
the calculation of teaching capacity and crediting of teaching
loads is concerned, it must be borne in mind that the development
of New Media calls for 50-100 times more input than that of
conventional teaching units. And in calculating the resulting
new teaching loads it must also be considered that new and in
some cases more intensive supervisory services will be necessary
in order to reap the full benefits of learning processes tailored
to a far greater extent to the requirements of the individual."
Although much research is being done on IT and educational innovation,
this has not been matched by an application of IT to the educational
process. Funding is not available to train university staff in the use of
IT. Too often a blind faith in technology prevails, a sort of technical
determinism, seeming to suggest that merely installing a machine will lead
to its efficient and rational use.
It is difficult to provide adequate training for either students or
staff. There are few instructors who have both the technological and
pedagogical expertise to present such courses successfully. Further,
there is a severe shortage of computers on which to hold training classes,
and an even more severe computer shortage to allow adequate independent
student followup of lesson assignments, not to mention the productive
individual work for which the training was designed.
Neither hardware nor software for training is standardized within
institutions, and they are certainly not standardized between
institutions and the commercial marketplace. Students may be
trained on PCs and be expected to work on a project involving
Macintoshes or on large UNIX-based databases, or vice-versa.
Software which is the computer instructor's favorite, or which
was the least-expensive in the institution's training budget, is
generally different from the software applications professors
expect students to use during their specialized studies.
The inadequate quantity and quality of computer resources within
institutions forces students and staff who can afford the cost to purchase
their own hardware and software. 'Standardization' is then even less
possible as individuals obtain whatever hardware and software they can
afford, and configure it to their personal working habits as best they
know how (not necessarily according to 'standards'). A gulf rapidly
ensues between those who are 'IT-enfranchised' and those who are not.
Frustration often emerges for both students and teaching staff, as the
potential for IT innovation with any semblance of transparency in
communications among the different individual technical solutions or any
concept of equal opportunity between the members of the learning group
Funding is also unavailable to develop educational software.
Currently, educational IT is mostly linked to experiments in
courseware development. With courseware development, IT can
compensate for a shortness in university personnel when different
universities work together. However, it is not self-evident that
the application of courseware itself can compensate for teaching
personnel. Moreover, new technologies should not be considered as just a
means to cope with mass education.
Computers and appropriate software are not available for each
student, nor is there the time for students or staff to learn
about IT or for staff to develop educational software. Even
those who have personal computers or have had training are unable
to cope due to the rapid development of technological systems, in
which investments in hardware, software and training one year are
rendered 'obsolete' the following year. Also, the high cost of
communications tariffs often means that one cannot afford to take
advantage of distance learning or tutoring from one's home.
Bureaucracy, regulations and official university procedures,
combined with inadequate budgets and ICT fear and/or illiteracy
particularly by older members of the administration and teaching
staffs, who are often key decision makers within the institution,
may stifle attempts at ICT innovation. It is often easier for
administrators just to continue with 'business as usual'. On the
other hand, higher education budgets are increasingly keyed to
'results-oriented criteria'; university and department funding
may soon depend on whether students have adequate ICT resources,
including access to certain services, courses, examinations and
automated learning options. In time, universities will have
little choice but to adapt to changes in the society of which
they are a part.
How to distribute user costs and cover these costs through fees
or income is important for institutional budgeting, especially in
view of recent stagnation or cutbacks in the public financing of
higher education. A critical problem of IT innovation which
particularly concerns individual distance learning is that it is
impossible to budget exact-enough estimates of the costs of
setting up and operating tele-learning structures. Will an
individual's needs be only for one-way access to information, or
for complex interactive teaching-learning systems? Will work be
done on-line or off-line, in-house or remotely, using simple
databases or complex multimedia?
A paradox emerges: to the extent that IT enables individual
self-tutoring and exploration of optimal personal learning solutions, it
renders unworkable the traditional budgeting models that would finance the
operation of the IT systems these learners would use.
Is customized self-paced learning really possible at the level of
higher education? Current teaching loads and scheduling demands
make it almost impossible to customize teaching to the needs of
individual students. Moreover, at university level few teachers
have pedagogical training. They may not understand the concept
of personalized learning programs, much less how to implement
these using advanced information and communications technologies.
New teaching media have not been established as an integral part of
education. There is an absence of coherent institutional or departmental
policy, a lack of resources and training, nonexistent or inadequate
funding, and almost complete failure to employ teaching assessment
There is little incentive to develop media-based teaching aids since
these are not recognized by specialists or scientists to nearly the same
extent as classic academic publications, and therefore seldom offer
younger academics a basis to obtain qualifications. Producing new
teaching media is very resource-intensive, further hampered by complicated
and unclear copyright regulations, which particularly affect the potential
for distribution and marketing of courseware.
The cost of producing, evaluating and implementing courseware
within many countries, especially in their own languages, is a
significant barrier to widescale IT adaptation. The continual
production of new up-to-date educational tools cannot easily be
covered with the relatively low number of students in many
countries. The majority of a university's institutions do not
function according to a pyramidal hierarchical structure; there
is rather a multitude of small pyramids with quite a lot of
independence. This often means that material produced in one
place has a tendency to cover only the needs of local teachers,
and therefore has no market outside its place of creation. The
enormous costs involved in production therefore cannot be covered
by a sufficiently broad distribution. In some sense this model
is even being encouraged by the current trend toward 'profiling'
of universities and university departments, to reduce duplication
of the same instruction at multiple venues.
The low 'life-expectancy' of information in some of the most
important areas makes it very costly to keep them updated.
Further, costs linked to developing and maintaining educational
software and IT infrastructure is often grossly underestimated.
On top of the costs involved, the time needed to develop new
multimedia products is a serious obstacle: professors who have
obtained grants are often forced to decline them, due to a lack
of time. Further, if courseware is to be used on a widescale
basis, it must first be tested and validated by scientific peers.
Courseware assessment is an area where inter-university cooperation is
needed; it would be impossible for any one institution to acquire or test
all of the available products. But collaboration among institutions would
require agreement on the didactic methodology and precise content of the
products to be developed, as well as the academic background(s) and study
preferences of the target audience -- which itself must be large enough to
justify the cost of production. Is this possible? If so, it would be
sensible to subsidize various language versions of products produced
However, producing educational multimedia for a large audience,
with several language versions, risks being dominated by lukewarm
compromises between very different understandings of the
audience, content and pedagogy alike. This is a too-familiar
result of many European projects, where it is 'good practice' to
establish many and varied forms of international collaboration
which often lead to questionable compromises and weak results.
IT may also work against the university ideal of producing
intellectually curious thinkers who are exposed to and challenged by a
wide range of ideas and apparent contradictions. The 'exactness' demanded
by most technologies may lead to a conformity and rigidity in the
presentation of information that is different from the ebb and flow of
face-to-face encounters by students and teachers, who can 'interactively'
discuss whatever aspects of an issue may come to mind. With IT, issues
can often be presented only in a fixed manner; there is little opportunity
for digression or questions; the technology conveys an 'authority' through
its own intrinsic structure and limitations.
The opposite of this may be the distractions and wastes of time
involved in WWW, on-line archive and database searches which can
produce overwhelming floods of data with little if any relevance.
In many universities, technology is seen primarily as the domain
of internal administration, not generally accessible to or for
the benefit of teachers or students. Systems rarely exist which
would recognize the implications of teaching using computers.
There are no inter- or intra-institutional mechanisms to support
interdisciplinary or inter-institutional course development for
remote teaching. The recruitment, promotional and reward systems
in universities, or even basic recognition of achievement, is a
major barrier to developing courseware and support systems. For
benefits to be achieved, completely new structures are needed. Motivation,
performance and reward systems for teachers need to be radically
altered. Time must be freed from teaching and administrative timetables
to allow teachers to respond, once trained, to new opportunities.
Inter-personal, inter-departmental and inter-institutional prejudices
and rivalries are a major constraint to developing remote teaching and
learning programs using new technologies. At the institutional level
there is often considerable resistance to using materials from outside the
institution. A common belief is that courseware developed and accredited
by one institution can not be brought into another if it had not been
conceived within and subjected to the host institution's approval
procedures, which exist primarily for the approval of materials emerging
from within the institution. The use of courseware developed outside
one's institution is also seen as implying an inability of the host
institution to produce its own high-quality courseware; in other words, a
lack of expertise. The only exception is when European Community funds are
available for collaborative projects.
The potential of IT to achieve economies of scale was felt to be
a myth, at least in current circumstances. Within existing
structures, economies of scale can rarely be achieved in the
development of new courseware and teaching support programs. The
Desk Study's suggestion that "Distance learning will afford
cooperation of universities and generate considerable savings"
was risible in the context of the lack of inter-institutional
cooperation. The twin pillars of traditional systems of
individual recognition and reward on the one hand, and state
funding procedures for institutions on the other hand, are seen
as mitigating against cooperation.
X. Recommendations Presented in the National
The national panel reports were virtually unanimous in their
recommendations. More funding from European and national levels, more
(and more up-to-date) information on IT development opportunities in
different fields, more training in the design, production and
implementation of IT learning solutions, more time for interested teachers
to work with IT, and the creation of concrete incentives and rewards for
teachers who invest their time and energy in IT were seen as the keys to
whether electronic media could realize the potential it is felt to have
for higher education.
On the national level, governments should create special budgets
to support innovative teachers and projects and the introduction
of information technologies in higher education. University computer
centers, libraries and media centers should take an increased role in
providing services for the various faculties and departments, with the
first two perhaps focusing on obtaining software licenses and providing
greater computer capacity and network access, and the latter providing
advice on and access to specialized teaching peripherals. All three
should advise their institutions and departments on options for the
expansion of multimedia teaching/learning, and assist in training staff
and students. Libraries should have a centralized collection of updated,
currently-available educational software.
At the same time, IT must be put into a proper context.
Technology as such is not always an adequate answer to the
problems of higher education. IT is merely a tool to assist
universities in their basic task of higher education and
research; IT is not itself the main thing. Is IT always useful
in teaching? It may certainly enhance the distribution of
information, but does it or can it enhance the development of
critical and independent thinking?
The national panels agreed that distance learning and/or "Open
University" models cannot and should not replace traditional university
teaching with its physical "face-to-face" proximity of student and
professor. IT should enrich and compliment traditional face-to-face
learning. Moreover, tele-education must take pedagogical criteria into
account. It must be application-specific, user-specific, and
user-adaptive. It must be able to monitor the performance of individual
users. If the educational market is to be developed, designers must be
interested in the needs of educational end-users.
End-users should be seen as members of the larger social fabric, rather
than as 'objects' for whom new technological solutions are being designed.
When planning remote access to education and training, or designing
tele-tutoring or tele-working schemes, the need for humans to meet and
work with each other must be recognized. The potential of technology to
isolate humans and inadvertently promote social fragmentation and the
breakdown of family and organizational structures and relationships must
be considered hand-in-hand with the potential benefits of remote work or
The importance of ICT as a tool is expected to increase, both for
general and scientific discipline-specific purposes. Its chief
value is in the improvement of communications and the ability of
software tools to aid learning. ICT will change the content and
objectives of the curricula. The organization of the teaching
process will also change. More interactive distance teaching
will be used in place of face-to-face teaching. However, ICT in
teaching and learning cannot succeed unless both students and
teachers perceive it as being relevant. One relevance factor is
student employment prospects on the labor market. Universities
must establish better cooperative linkages with the labor market
in relation to worker needs for specific types of IT. Attempts
should be made to agree on things like standard software.
The development and application of ICT is a long-term process,
which must be supported by a conscious and coherent training,
implementation and financial policy at the Department, Faculty
and University levels. Priority in ICT development should be
given to products and/or services that have a high 'surplus
value' over other educational means.
The current practice of relying on the uncompensated initiative of
individual teacher pioneers is not tenable; public support is necessary to
coordinate such initiatives and provide a means to implement cooperation.
Useful initiatives and 'pockets of activity' should be recognized and
given a role as the driving force in future collaborations. Currently,
there are two very different types of IT users in universities: IT
specialists and everyone else. More interest in training the latter must
be taken to move beyond the improvisations and do-it-yourself productions
which now prevail.
XI. Recommendations of the Portuguese Rectors'
The most explicit of the recommendations presented by the
national panels of experts were those of Professor of Chemistry
A.J. Ferrer Correia, Head of the Multimedia and Distance
Education Centre of the Universidade de Aveiro, on behalf of the
Rectors' Conference of Portugal.
The Portuguese Rectors' Conference stated that universities have both
the responsibility to adapt themselves to the evolution of society and to
influence that evolution. In order for an information society to develop,
and be accepted within the educational process of each country,
universities must make the teaching of advanced communications
technologies (ACT) an important priority.
Toward this end the Portuguese report included a slate of
recommendations to be distributed to each European Rectors'
Conference and to each of the higher educational institutions
within their country (reproduced below in slightly revised form).
General National-Level Recommendations
- To create special bodies at the national level to define
distance learning policy in each country, including the
definition and support of national telecommunications
infrastructures and a prioritization of research topics;
- To create a permanent discussion body involving all higher
education institutions with the aim of reflecting on and
evaluating the evolution and impact of ACT on the
educational process and on society;
- To compile a database with all national teaching and
research projects which are significantly based on ACT,
which itself would be publicly available on the WWW;
- To promote demonstrations of the potential for ACT in
teaching and research and provide incentives for its use,
aimed particularly at non-technological Departments;
- To recommend the mutual acknowledgement and crediting of
distance learning courses offered by each higher education
- To study and support ACT-based actions aiming at improving
the performance of students and decreasing the degree of
failure, where this is a problem;
- To recommend to each higher educational institution the
implementation of distance learning in a significant, if small,
fraction of the total credit units of each degree course;
- To promote the access of academic staff and students to
electronic communication from home, at realistic and
- To promote initiatives aiming at fostering international
cooperation in the field of ACT-based teaching, including
Recommendations for Each Higher Educational Institution
- To create within each institution an open and distance
learning (ODL) policy, including a definition of
objectives, strategies, budgeting and timing;
- To establish a training and integration plan for staff,
aiming at achieving efficiency in the implementation of
new learning models based on ACT;
- To implement resource centers for support of the
production, diffusion and research on new methodology and
new technology-based learning material;
- To stimulate the participation of non-technological
departments in new ACT-based learning processes;
- To provide incentives for the implementation of distance
learning courses, either autonomously or as a part of
- To provide incentives for the electronic publication via
the Internet of lecture notes, problems, laboratory
manuals and other documents related to each subject;
- To provide all students full individual access to e-mail;
- To stimulate the electronic publication of student papers
and projects via the Internet.
XII. Brief Observations by the Author on 'Missing
As an administrator and long-time user of telematic communications in
higher education, the author would like to comment on four issues he was
surprised not to find in the panel reports.
- E-mail was only mentioned indirectly as part of the
general 'potentially-enhanced communication' of IT. But e-mail, the most
basic telematics technology, has many educational and research
applications. It can be used for list-based enhancement of classroom
discussion; for remote collaboration on research projects; for document
retrieval from remote archives (as opposed to WWW or FTP); for interactive
communications between universities and prospective students, or graduates
now in the labor market.... The successful applications of e-mail within
higher education during the past decade could continue almost ad
While e-mail may nowadays be considered so 'commonplace' that it
no longer qualifies as 'new media', the facts remain that:
Likewise, 'barriers' still remain, and should also be discussed.
E-mail has its own problematics. There are technical issues with the file
types, text formats and character sets that can be easily received
regardless of what mailer software one is using. And there are human
issues, such as frequent misunderstandings from highly cultural-intensive
messages ('humor' being one of the most notorious) sent across
intercultural boundaries. These are only two of the most common.
- Many barriers to IT implementation noted by the panels could
have partial solutions via e-mail, which of all the 'new
technologies' is least affected by lack of bandwidth, differing
infrastructural standards, and the like. E-mail is the
lowest-cost, most universally available, most reliable, and most
cross-platform-capable computer-mediated communications technology.
- E-mail has a history of successful usage in
telematically-mediated distance education that well precedes the
WWW era and is still in use. In many regions, countries or
personal situations e-mail remains the only viable option for
reliable, cost-effective on-line access to education.
- E-mail should still be considered a foundation technology for
higher education. Its full potential has not yet been reached, nor
is this potential self-evident. The 'expectations' of E-mail for
educational purposes should be discussed along with those of all
other IT forms.
E-mail in teaching also imposes significant time requirements. Using
e-mail lists for information dissemination, course administration, or
group tutoring demands both time and technical expertise from teachers who
must also function as list administrators. Further, responding to the
increased volume of queries via e-mail, with students expecting rapid and
personalized replies, is quite different from the time requirements of
non-electronic teaching, tutoring or counseling.
- While all of the national panels adopted the Desk Study's
wide definition of IT, most of the 'expectations' and 'barriers' they
reported seemed only to concern materials on the WWW, along with with
remote access to databases and archives. There was ample reference to
multimedia courseware (primarily to the lack of it) but no reference to
the use of courseware (either CD-ROM, diskette or web-based) which had
been specifically designed for teaching or research.
While it was not the purpose of the reports to discuss specific
courseware, the general way in which instructional media were
often described could be interpreted as suggesting that the
panels had relatively little direct experience using courseware,
as opposed to administering its usage by others, or knowing in
principle what courseware should be able to do. One might posit
that the relatively 'high-level' composition of the national
panels of experts reflected a more theoretical knowledge of what
IT should be doing rather than practical, hands-on involvement.
Also relevant to this reasoning might the seeming absence of
pedagogical professionals, courseware authors, lecturers or other
teaching-specific staff from the national panels whose members
had been identified.
However, if teachers, pedagogues and courseware experts were missing
from the panels, then it is all the more remarkable how strongly and
knowledgeably the national reports spoke to the need for more training and
time for teachers and courseware developers in particular.
But it was also curious that the lack of a royalty system or clear
copyright protection for authors and developers of on-line materials was
not specifically mentioned as a 'barrier' to courseware production,
considering that the influence of commercial web publishing on
universities was one of the main points of Eli Noam's article in
Science on Electronics and the Dim Future of
the University that had been circulated to the national panels and
cited in the Desk Study.
If teachers are to invest time and expertise producing Web-based
instructional resources that will be available to all the on-line
world, it is reasonable for them to expect royalties for the use
of their material, and legal protection for the rights to their
material, similar to royalty conventions and copyright protection
that would accrue from a commercially-printed textbook or CD-ROM.
- Further, the immense cost and time requirements of digitizing
the vast records of human cultural history that are not yet in
machine-readable format (not to mention 'on-line format') is a
significant barrier to research, particularly in the Arts and
Humanities. While some steps have been taken to distribute
literary works that are no longer in copyright via the internet,
the quantity of data that can be examined with computer research
technologies is a pittance compared to the un-digitized billions
of archival records and other human artifacts that art, music,
history, literature or folklore scholars (to name but a few)
would require to research the known corpus of human endeavor.
- Finally, health and human ergonomics were absent from both
the Desk Study and Synthesis Report and the national reports.
Health and ergonomics is an issue of growing importance for the
knowledge workers of higher education. It is becoming difficult
to find university staff who are not painfully aware of the
consequences of increased computer usage in dysfunctions of the
neck, shoulders, back and eyes; of repetitive strain and stress
injuries of their arms, wrists and hands; and of overweight and
poor muscle tone which may have come as the result of too many
hours, weeks and months captivated in front of their terminals
without adequate (compensating?) physical exercise.
Universities are facing significant budgetary increases for the
prevention of such injuries by purchasing new tables, chairs, stands,
lighting and other furniture and fixtures which are ergonomically designed
for computer users rather than traditional office workers. They are often
also being required by national health and worker safety organizations to
provide physical therapy and other ameliorative treatment for staff who
have suffered computer-related injuries, on top of which both productivity
and budgeting will suffer when staff are absent from work due to
And while the national reports often deplored the time wasted
through inefficient searching ('relevance filtering?') of the
vast realms of data on the World-Wide Web, the related new
concepts of burnout through 'info-overload', 'computer addition'
or 'web addiction' were not noted. Reports of students becoming
psychologically enslaved to their computers and the torrents of
new data accessible through them are alarming not only for their
human implications, but also for what they may portend about the
viability of telematically-mediated distance learning.
The implementation of IT would seem to be fostering a paradigm shift in
education, away from the traditional emphasis on activity of the teacher
toward a new activity of the learner. To be effective, will
telematically-mediated education first require a new sense of
cyber-awareness and personal discipline? How would one incorporate this
into teaching and research? What methodologies are needed to pass by the
new seductive sirens in wait along our digital odysseys?
Further aspects of IT in higher education are noted in the author's
paper "New Technologies and the Future Dimension of
XIII. Use of the Recommendations in The Summary
The recommendations in this Summary Report will be submitted to
the Member Conferences of the Confederation of European Union
Rectors' Conferences for further debate with a view toward
establishing an overall set of recommendations concerning ICT in
higher education and research.
The Confederation will discuss ICT within higher education and
research in general: in research-based teaching, in scientific
and research cooperation, in university administration, and as a
component of national higher education and research strategies,
with a special aim of defining strategies to be recommended for
the enhancement of quality of learning and quality of research.