New Technologies and the Future Dimension of the University (Hopkins)

New Technologies and the Future Dimension of the University
Opening Plenary Keynote Address
Ortelius: The Database on Higher Education in Europe
Launching Conference: Palazzo degli Affari, Florence, Italy, 17-19 May 1996
John D. Hopkins

Rector Costa, Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Good Morning.

Before beginning, I would like to congratulate the Ortelius Consortium for their outstanding work on the buildup of the Database. It is an ambitious project. From what I have seen through the website, and from the materials we have all received here this morning, the Database already promises much for the advancement of educational mobility in Europe -- and indeed well beyond, for higher education in Europe is a global commodity that touches all corners of the world.

I would also like to congratulate the Conference Committee for having assembled such an impressive agenda for the next two days. I cannot recall another meeting recently when I looked forward to learning so much. Our program is timely in examining how Information Technologies can be used in educational mobility. It is also urgent as we explore how the new information culture developing around us will affect Higher Education in Europe.

The topic I have been asked to address is "New Technologies and the Future Dimension of the University." One does so with humility. Any prediction of the future should be viewed with caution, but perhaps especially predictions on the futures of Technologies or of Universities.

The pace of change of the information technologies which most concern this conference is so rapid that the industries virtually re-invent themselves each year. The evolution of more powerful computer hardware and software, of inexpensive mass storage, of newly available data in digital format, of the internet itself, and of the other connectivity services which allow us to work ever more closely with each other even over massive divides of space and time, each year brings new potential to teaching and learning that was almost unthinkable the year before.

It is easy to predict that the change will continue. It is less easy to predict how. During the first four months of 1996, almost every week has brought news of yet another major merger, consolidation or bankruptcy in our communications industries. The pace of change is so rapid, and the market competition so intense, that the industries themselves cannot keep up.

Predicting the future of our universities is also a challenge. The question of what is a 'university' is still topical as new educational structures emerge throughout Europe. The rivalries among established research universities, newer Polytechnics and Vocational Universities, proprietary Business Universities, Affiliates and Branch Campuses of foreign institutions, Open Universities and Lifelong Learning Institutes, to mention just a few, over who has the right to use the magical word "university" or what constitutes a "university-level" credential are very real. To this list must now be added "Virtual Universities".

Education systems reflect changes in the societies in which we live. One of these changes is the way in which we receive and process information, itself a result of new technologies. My local newspaper in Finland has taken to printing red underlined 'hyperlinks' in some of its front-page articles. It does this in part to promote the usage of its on-line edition, but also to identify a new way in which information can be conveyed, to educate its readers in the concept of 'hypertext learning', with 'hot-links' from main articles to other stories that are related.

Finnish television has programs almost daily in which new websites are reviewed, new software downloads and upgrades are described, new hardware and peripherals demonstrated, and the new jargon of computer-mediated communications explained.

Advertisements in newspapers and magazines give the Uniform Resource Locator addresses for the vendor's "home page" on the World-Wide Web, where products or services are further described. Such ads are not just from vendors of computers, cellular telephones or other products with a connection to technology, but even such services as real estate, or hairstyling.

Interested in a new home? Visit the housing agent's website. Identify the options in your price range in the desired part of town. Explore the terrain and services of the neighborhood via zoom-in maps. Check from the municipal database who your new neighbors would be. Examine the floor plans of a home that looks good, and its appearance both inside and out. Review your credit rating from your on-line bank. Calculate your loan options and the interest rates. Still interested? E-mail the agent to arrange an appointment. It's 'know before you go'.

Want to get your hair styled? Visit your hairdresser's website. Check what times are free; reserve your turn in the appointment book on-line. Browse through the new cuts currently in fashion, on head and facial shapes just like yours. Ever wondered how you would look as a blonde or a redhead? A mouse click will show you, right there on-screen.

In the commercial realm, the new information society is here. Technology enables business to identify potential new markets with vastly increased efficiency. Products can be marketed interactively with a powerfully seductive personal appeal. The imprint of these technologies is already pervasive in our media, and increasingly apparent in our everyday lives. And it will continue to become even more so.

The same technologies are also changing the way we teach and learn. Information about the diverse options of higher education is on-line as well, free of charge and available to all, so future students also can 'know before they go'. Testing and tutoring can be personalized in ways formerly unthinkable in a mass public university. Students and scholars alike can interact with their peers across town or across the world. Education itself is being transformed into a global, virtual commodity.

The benefits already are visible. Through the internet, students are able to learn other languages and cultures better through greater communication in those languages and exposure to those cultures, a valuable supplement to their classroom instruction. Scholars can collaborate electronically in 'virtual research groups' on projects where before a 'critical mass' of specialists was simply not available in a given institution, or country, or continent for the work to have been done, or where circumstances may not have existed to physically bring them together. Electronic publications speed new research findings ever more quickly to their readers; the volume of scholarly information on the internet doubles more than twice each year.

What does this mean for our universities? There is great anxiety over what these changes will bring. Some say our universities already are threatened, their role in research and teaching being displaced, and the days of academics numbered. Two articles last autumn particularly advanced this view: Electronics and the Dim Future of the University by Professor Eli M. Noam, in the October 13 issue of Science, and Endangered Species by Michael Prowse, in the November 20th Financial Times.

Both praise the internet as a powerful, growing tool of scholarly inquiry and collaboration. They applaud its ethic of freely sharing the data it conveys, the liberation from institutional and governmental controls which is inherent in its use, and the enrichment and growth of science worldwide which has come as a result. This is the good news.

But at the same time, they say, the movement of scientists toward a global, virtual scientific research environment of freely shared data is weakening the authority and the economic base of our traditional universities. As new communications technologies change the traditional flow of information, the role of authority must also change. Confusion emerges. In the virtual world of the internet, where does the data reside? Who owns it or controls it? To whom do we look for its validation?

Knowledge is expanding with exponential rapidity. As knowledge expands, specialization increases. As scholarly fields subdivide, even our largest and wealthiest institutions cannot afford to cover all the new areas. Thus, universities also become specialized. As they do, the ability of scholars to find specialized colleagues on campus declines; instead they turn to interaction with colleagues on the internet, in the virtual realm rather than in the physical realm.

As scholarly activity moves onto the internet, teaching, guidance and other university services begin to join it there, leading to the creation of the "virtual campus." There are corollaries with costs. Universities can no longer afford to purchase scholarly journals, or to store and preserve the ones they do have. As the cost of books and journals continues to rocket higher, electronic formats become imperative, with the internet the least-expensive and most universally-accessible option. But, published in this form, where will this knowledge now be?

What we have previously thought of as "Universities" -- lecture rooms, research labs and libraries which are located in certain places, on certain "campuses" -- will no longer be where the expertise is found. Instead, it will increasingly be found in a virtual dimension -- which is everywhere, and yet nowhere.

The university's teaching role is also being questioned. The gulf between basic teaching and specialized research is widening ever further just as the cost of face-to-face teaching is rising ever higher. In the United States, the cost of tuition has risen 174% in the past decade, more than three times the increase in consumer prices, while prices have been falling in other information industries.

The need to cut costs will demand new teaching methods which are perceived to be more economical: interactive on-line courses, hypertextbooks, computer conferencing and tele-tutoring. Such alternatives could be provided at dramatically lower cost using the same communications infrastructure we are already developing. Courses could be offered not just to hundreds of students locally, but to tens of thousands globally. Or so the logic goes.

Commercial firms will soon enter this appealing new market. Textbook publishers, building on the names of their most prestigious authors, will offer electronic instruction directly. A "McGraw-Hill University" could provide on-line education much like the specialized MBA or engineering degrees already offered by corporations such as Wang or General Motors, without the substantial overhead of physical institutions. The certification it awarded would soon be accepted as competitive degrees.

The impact on the traditional university would be severe. It would rapidly lose funding and students, and its status and role in society. As enrollment and funding vanished, teachers would create virtual departments elsewhere with like-minded colleagues. Universities would change into office parks, with 'just-in-time' learning on soft-money budgets, in concert with business and government. A telecommuting staff would assemble on need.

Is this farfetched? New technologies are often seen as either the solution to all of our problems, or the bearers of impending doom. Seldom is either the case. Yet most of these examples are happening already. We are in the midst of massive change in the way we interact with information, as well as with each other. There are demands to reduce our costs and teaching overhead; there are commercial challenges. What Noam and Prowse ask is whether the economic foundation of our present system can survive this change. Is the university necessary any longer?

In the past, students had to go to the information -- which is to say, the books and teachers who were regarded as the holders of that information -- who were located in a "university." Today, information is becoming independent of the human teacher. It is instead virtual information. It can go to students, wherever they may be. What then is the role of the university? It is but one question, of many that could be asked.

New information technologies will change our universities; the changes will be dramatic. But need the changes be as Noam and Prowse suggested? I am more optimistic. I see a future in which technology could expand the influence of our traditional universities rather than reducing it, which could help offset some of the budget cuts we are facing, which could involve a greater part of the communities which surround us, and which could drive an ever-larger concept of truly Life-Long Learning. It is a future in which technology would enhance the human touch, rather than replacing it.

The questions I would ask are: How could we employ technology to supplement personal mentoring, to complement human guidance and face-to-face instruction? How could it enable us to extend the reach of our universities? How could it help us incorporate those who are now outside our realm, who need the training and knowledge the human communities of our universities are uniquely endowed to provide? How can technology aid the human warmth and synergy of people working together? How has technology already been used to enhance the traditional activity of universities?

We have a Program at the University of Tampere which I would like to offer as a modest, but useful example of this. It is an Area Studies Program in the Department of Translation Studies, where I teach. We work with "intercultural communication," educating professional interpreters and translators, and researchers in these fields. Communications technologies are integral to our curriculum. All students have free, unlimited use of the full range of internet telematic services. For the past two years their studies have required that they use them, on a daily basis, from the first weeks of their studies.

There are several levels of telematic work, starting with e-mail. Each course has its own e-mail "list" which all the students join. Each list carries substantive information, such as notes and articles on the lectures and followup to class discussion, as well as practical information, such as schedule changes. Through the list there is an ongoing contact among students and teachers, and with the course material, to supplement the weekly physical meetings of the class.

Learning is enhanced in several ways. There is more exchange of ideas and perspectives than would have been possible with the physical class alone. There is also more involvement. Students who may not have felt like volunteering ideas during class often do send ideas to the list. Students open up more to each other. Exchanges on-line lead to discussions in person. Learning extends beyond the course itself. Students have not left the lists even after courses have been completed. They stay subscribed and involved with each new course cycle.

Each class also has its own gopher, which stores class schedules, lecture outlines, course exams, student papers and projects, and what used to be known as 'hand-outs': supplementary teaching and reference materials which are now made available electronically.

This provides a budget savings as well as a resource benefit. Putting "handouts" on the gopher instead of duplicating them on the copy machine means more material is available at a fraction of the cost. Instead of duplicating three pages of paper, thirty or three hundred pages can be archived digitally, extra material the teacher has available, but which would have been marginal for most students and too expensive to be copied. Students browse the gopher, select material of use to them, download it to their disks, and print out all or parts of it as they wish, or edit it directly into digital projects. The incremental cost for doing this, if the infrastructure is in place, is just the few minutes needed to put the text on-line.

Student work is also published in the gopher, where it remains, modest additions to the body of knowledge. For our curriculum needs, benchmarks are established which successive classes advance; more pride and care is taken by students in their work, and more visibility gained for our students and our Program. But our materials are also used by others, by school teachers and other language workers throughout Finland, and by students and staff in other countries and on other continents. Freely available and searchable on the internet, the glossaries, projects, papers and reports produced for our own local needs become a global resource, at no extra effort for us.

Distance education and continuing education opportunities are inherent in the technology. Classwork includes collaboration by e-mail with students and teachers in other institutions and other countries. Sometimes these lead to new physical exchanges, but ones in which the 'home culture' need not be left behind. Students can complete credits in our curriculum at the same time they are studying in another, or directly combine work done abroad with courses and classmates back home.

The physical classroom is supplemented by a personal 'learning environment' which is anywhere from which students can be on-line. Students need not always be present to complete their coursework. Those who are handicapped, who have child-care duties, who work part-time, or who simply fall ill and miss a few days, can all be accommodated through the larger electronic dimension that supplements our physical meetings.

Extension courses for the professional training of translators in Finland and abroad are also easily enabled. Another e-mail list handles questions translators submit when faced with unusual terminology or obscure cultural references in the books, films, or TV series on which they are working. With deadlines near and one's dictionaries not enough, where does one turn? The e-mail list puts one quickly in touch with hundreds of students, teachers, and colleagues, some of whom will likely know the answer, which then is shared with all.

There is a mutual benefit from this service. For teaching and research, the questions are as useful to us as are the answers to the askers. New definitions go into terminology registers which we maintain in the gopher. Through the exchanges of queries and responses, students get a better view of the reality of working life in their future professions. In turn, we can better coordinate this 'reality' with extension and continuing education courses for working translators. These courses can be completed partly by e-mail while one is working elsewhere, a convenience which brings more new students to our courses, who then raise our enrollment figures, which helps our budget problems, and so on down the line. There is an on-going synergy of benefits. More can happen. All will gain.

Teaching, Research, and Community Service, the basic functions of the university mission, are all expanded. Just as before, we are teaching and creating new knowledge. We assess and store and preserve it, and convey it on to others. As before, we are a close-knit working unit, with our primary focus on face-to-face training, first-name knowledge between students and staff, discussions in the hallways and coffee breaks together: human warmth and contact. But now there's more. Technology has improved our cost-effectiveness, our teaching and research, our outreach and our image, the personal involvement of students and staff, and the learning -- and the numbers -- of our students.

But is this an example of "New Information Technologies in the Future Dimension of the University"? By some standards, yes. But the technologies we are using are not New; they are stone-age by internet standards, basic, simple e-mail and text-based gopher. They work, they do their job superbly, and they are available to all of our students regardless of the type of computer or access mode they use, at university or at home. This is important.

But they are a different world from the colorful multimedia dynamics of the marketing examples described earlier, where text can be integrated with graphics, sound and motion, where a truly interactive and highly personalized dimension can be created, where learning could take place even more effectively, in real-time or at another time chosen by the student, to the depth and breadth at which he or she is capable of learning.

What could we do with the newer technologies of the World-Wide Web? And why aren't we doing them yet?

Two examples of potential use would be with admissions testing and international student orientation, topics that will be covered in more detail by others later in the conference.

We could, for example, ease admission procedure to the department while at the same time cutting costs, by putting our entrance examinations on-line. Each year we have some 300 applicants for 20 slots in each of our translation options, for which there are multiple-choice tests in five languages. At present, these must be graded manually, and quickly, as results on one test determine whether one must take another. The exams are partly based on set readings, which are expensive and often hard to get from bookstores or libraries. Students come from all over Finland to take the exams, and must pay for their travel and lodging.

On-line, the same exams could be taken from the students' homes via the internet, using their own terminals, or those of their school or library. Internet access is not an issue. There is no place in Finland from which students could not connect; we are per capita the most "connected" nation on earth. Identification of the student is also easy to resolve. The exam would look the same as it would have on paper, except neater, with no erasures, strikeovers or smudges. On-line, the exam could be automatically graded, with results transferred directly to our records, from which the next step would immediately be clear. The readings required for the exams could also be on-line. Access and cost would no longer be problems. Tons of paper, thousands of human hours, and hundreds of thousands of Finnish Markkas could be saved. I am simplifying, but the option is there.

Once students are accepted, orientation would begin. Here, using even basic Web graphics -- photos, maps and forms -- could help the most time-intensive parts of our practical orientation to be put on-line, showing new students where buildings are and how to get there; introducing teachers and staff; and illustrating how to complete the different forms -- and letting them be completed and submitted right there on-line. This would be simple.

Multimedia would be more effective yet. With the holographic, video, and three-dimensional capabilities of the web that are becoming increasingly more usable, simulations of the practical situations new international students would face during the first days of arrival could be transformed into virtual reality. This is the same principle as for the training of pilots, who will simulate hundreds of times before landing at a real airport; or for the plastic surgeon, who simulates an operation time and time again on-screen, before taking knife in hand to human face.

Through our simulation, which would be publicly available on the internet so the student could use it while still back at home, an 'avatar' personifying the student could be created, through which he or she would be able to direct a 'personal' exploration of all the arrival steps. Through the simulation, the student could be virtually greeted at the airport, guided on the bus to town, helped through the options of public transportation, toured through the dormitory, taken through the cafeteria lines, and delivered to our lecture rooms, with everything looking much like it would have done in real life. One could hear the sounds, view the scenery, and peek around the corners, doing it all in real time. A 30-minute bus ride would take you 30 minutes, unless of course you backed up to try some of the stages again. This is getting toward the ultimate in "know before you go"...

For our teaching in the Department, such a simulation would have multiple uses. It would of course be in Finnish, the real-life language of Finland. For foreign students, this would be their first encounter with Survival Finnish, which they would soon be encountering in the same real situations. In the virtual world, interpretation in other languages could be available at the click of a mouse. Providing this is part of our teaching and research in intercultural communication. Each language version would be a little bit different, addressing different national and cultural assumptions, and their different terminologies and needs for more context or modes of expression. These different versions themselves might make for interesting research, by those who had free access to them on the Web.

Much of the simulation could also be used by the City Tourist Office and the Chamber of Commerce, for both recreational and business visitors to Tampere, leading to support for its production and for subsequent connections. For our Department, there would be improved learning, teaching, and research options; better training for our students. For the University, there would be greater outreach, visibility, and involvement with the community. The multiple uses to which many could put it would bring significant savings in human time and cost. And this only hints at what could be done throughout our curriculum itself, or by any other university for its teaching, research and services.

Why aren't we doing it? It would be simple to just say "time and money". But there are also other factors, of which I'll mention four. These also have come from our experience, and suggest some caution as we move toward the future.

  1. First, the virtual world is a different world, unlike that in which we have been working. We are only just starting to learn it. We should be cautious about judging it from our present context. Even our terms of reference are based on older modes of thinking, when we speak of 'information highways' or 'digital libraries'. As the New York Times has observed, these terms will sound as peculiar to our grandchildren as 'horseless carriage' does to us.

    What is the "form" of the hypertext world, its structure, its presumptions? What are the implications of a hypertextual interactivity in which the individual can determine in what sequence, what mode and from what sources new data will come? How will this change perception, and how might it change us?

    Michael Heim, in The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality, speaks of the "form" and "format" implicit in "information", and how "form" and "format" change as the mode of information itself changes. In Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, Sherry Turkle from MIT has described the web as postmodernist in nature, fundamentally different from the modernist thinking which has dominated Western culture since the Enlightenment.

    On the internet, the simple facts and identities of the modernist world are not so simple any more. Ideas and individuals can take on many different forms. Modernist concepts of rational thought, systematic logic, rules and procedures and a clear sense of what is 'right' and 'wrong' are challenged by the web's postmodernist ability to rearrange and reinterpret the artifacts of culture. On the postmodernist Web, says Turkle, there are no 'rights' or 'wrongs', only individual perceptions of that which is there.

    How does this affect the 'ownership' or 'usability' of Web information into which anyone may link? A law enacted recently in the State of Georgia, in the United States, makes it illegal to create links to other information on the Web without the "owner's" explicit permission. But just who is the "owner"?

    What other legal issues may emerge? In the United States, the growth of medical research information on-line, accessible by patients as well as doctors and researchers, has produced a significant rise in second-opinions sought by patients who are challenging the original diagnosis of their doctors, as well as lawsuits for wrongful treatment. With the growth of educational information on the internet, what might this mean for admissions personnel, for example, if credentials are not thought to have been properly judged, or to institutions -- or to Ortelius -- if courses do not deliver what was promised from descriptions put on-line? Where do accountability and responsibility reside?

    In the highly changeable digital world, where so much more data is now so easily available, and can be used in so many different ways by so many different people, there are endless questions about ownership, copyright, intellectual property rights, proper attribution, and other legalities to which we do not have the answers; and other questions we are not yet even asking. These are important considerations for universities. The rules of operation are not yet established. Caution may be prudent before moving in too quickly.

  2. Second is the time required. New technologies have the potential to radically transform higher education. Yet we are often so excited about what technology could do that we don't think about the time which is needed to get it done. Consider the greater involvement with our students gained through our class e-mail lists. This is also a greater involvement of my time as their teacher, two to five times more contact time per class than I had had before, after the infrastructure for doing it was already put in place.

    Consider the detail and planning that would be required for the simulated orientation examples mentioned earlier. Routine human experiences we know so well that we no longer think about them consciously must be precisely identified and programmed in order to create virtual simulations of those experiences.

    Giving lectures in person, I can respond to questions about any aspect of those lectures, with detail and examples matched to the interest and level of the students who are with me. This is the real 'interactivity' that the web will try to simulate. To put that course in a hypertext version, I must anticipate all these questions. I must put the course together in a meaningful way, so it flows from one segment to the other, regardless of the sequence in which segments are chosen.

    Once produced, what about change? What if the route of our airport bus should change, or the fare should rise? If an example that has been used should change, all the interlinkages with that example must be updated. It all can be done, and is being done, by some. But it is not a time involvement for which most teachers are prepared. Nor is it something for which our terms of employment, union rules, administrative structures, or means by which the work of teachers or scholars is currently evaluated are favorable to our doing.

  3. Third is the pace of change. The speed with which new ways of presenting and using information is appearing defies our ability to cope. The pace of change particularly affects those who would create content for the web, or train others in its use.

    It is only in the past year that a critical mass of scholars has begun using the Web. As a result, scholars have been frantically trying to learn HTML, the "hypertext markup language" in which basic web documents are produced. Now we read that HTML is out, that the new VRML, the 'virtual reality modeling language' is what we should be learning instead -- that the simple text, color and graphics of HTML are a relic of the past, too boring for our students, and other (younger) future users of the web. We should instead be three-dimensional, animated, holographic and stereophonic; "multimediating" rather than just "mediating" the knowledge we have to offer.
    It is form and format again.

    Should new technologies be used simply because they are available to use? What are the standards by which to proceed? How can one know that what is produced today can be used by those we presume will be its audience? And what about training?

    Netscape Navigator, the most popular of the World-Wide Web "browsers", provides a good example. Netscape Version 2 came to the market in February this year, bringing new and useful options that many had awaited. Hundreds of thousands of users downloaded the shareware version and installed it on their computers, making it a de facto 'standard'. Three weeks ago, after only three months, Netscape beta-3 was released, now even more powerful, with three-dimensional, and audio and video capability built-in, and many new options for customization. Netscape 4, it was announced last week, should be out by the end of the year.

    For web content providers, which version's capabilities should be programmed into one's content? For the technician, which version should be loaded on university computers? For trainers, on which version do you base your instruction? And what will tomorrow's 'standard' be? How does one cope with this pace of change, and the frustration and sense of helplessness the constant change engenders?

  4. Fourth is equality. The empowerment of the individual is the most revolutionary aspect of new information technologies: the individual's ability to access information no matter where he or she is at; the individual's ability to control interactively the way information is engaged.

    An individual's ability to pay for this is also of concern. Can students afford the equipment they will need to do their work? Can teachers afford it, or assume that their institutions will be able to provide it for them? And if once purchased, how often can we afford to upgrade? What level is 'adequate' for the ever-powerful features that are so quickly coming at us? "Entry-level" computers for those who wish to fully use the present multimedia capabilities of CD-ROM or the World-Wide Web are now being defined as Pentium processors, 16MB of Ram, gigabyte hard disks, 6-speed CD-ROMs, 17" color monitors, wavetable sound cards and stereophonic speakers, with a 28K-bps modem or ISDN line. How many of us will have this at hand?

    What is the standard at which we provide information? Where is the dividing line between inclusiveness and exclusiveness? When can we risk moving from 'duller' older technologies to which all can still have access, to more appealing newer technologies which all can not yet use?

The future dimension of the university will be our struggle with such questions. Nor do they stop here. How do we digitize the vast record of human cultural history that is not yet on-line; preserve and store that record in ways that will survive changes in technological standards; develop new pedagogical and research methodologies, as students and scholars are able to work more quickly with ever-vaster amounts of data; resolve ethical and privacy issues, as more information on each of us becomes more publicly available; and prevent health risks from the ways in which we use technology, among them the new issue of computer addiction or the rising rates of burnout from info-overload?

Will we learn as humans that technology is our servant, not the other way around; that "information" is not the same as "knowledge"; that data is not more valid just because we read it off a screen? Can we avoid our virtual world being Balkanized, as our real world has been?

And for our discussions here on the future dissemination of Ortelius information, can we find a viable pathway through the economics of information, and its transfer on the net; or a 'standard language' as we reach out to the world?

Whose language, or what variant of it in our case, do we use as we produce the English version of a European resource with global application? Where's the terminology that will be meaningful to all? Again it's form and format, in a non-standard world.

We need to work together in searching for the answers. We need to find a means through which to share our efforts. There is a SOCRATES Thematic Network proposal on "Advanced Computing in the Humanities" which was submitted last week by the University of Bergen in Norway. It would review, in cooperation with ENIS, the Electronic Networks and Information Sharing Committee of the European Association For International Education, what has been accomplished among the 104 European university members of the Network. It would identify what problems have been encountered, suggest what the means of resolving these problems might be, and begin to develop and implement training for the use of New Technologies that would be available to all. Details on this project, if it is funded, will be in the EAIE website and will also be included in reports given at the EAIE Annual Conference in Budapest in early December.

The SOCRATES Network would be a useful beginning, but much more should still be done. We must look to other disciplines and institutions as well. We must examine all that which works, and that which has not. We must learn from these examples how to incorporate new technologies in our universities in an equitable and human-centered fashion.

Higher education is becoming ever more important. The university is the core of the educational system. It is the place in which our most highly skilled professionals are trained, and in which teachers for all other levels of our educational structures are prepared. On its success our future will depend.

Technology will influence how this future will proceed.
It is for us to determine in what way it does so.

Thank you.

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