Don't Confuse a Tool with a Goal: Making Information Technology
Serve Higher Education, Rather Than the Other Way Around
Working Paper #18, Summer 2001
Stanley N. Katz
This article examines the relationship between information technology
(IT) and educational policy and argues that leaders of universities
and colleges must do a better job of thinking creatively and strategically
about how IT can enrich their institution's basic educational
mission. The paper examines five areas of education policy that
are deeply affected by IT-library policy, intellectual property,
distance education, commercialization, and curricular standards
and processes. The paper suggests that the new technology has
unleashed such creative, frequently entrepreneurial activity that
is so expensive, pervasive and difficult to manage that it has
had a negative impact on some of our fundamental practices in
teaching and scholarship. It will continue to do so, and it will
drive us if we do not drive it. The paper asks, have we established
the mechanisms to review, monitor and evaluate these developments?
And, have we given enough thought to how we can employ IT thoughtfully
and self-consciously to meet our explicit educational policy goals?
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