Untangling the Web

Applications of the Internet and Other Information Technologies to Higher Education

by David J. McArthur, Matthew W. Lewis

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This report analyzes the role of the emerging global information infrastructure in helping higher-education institutions to improve learning and teaching, improve the creation of instructional and learning materials, create educational communities, compete with new providers, and address policy and planning issues. The authors recommend that institutions coordinate technology plans and purchases; unite behind a common vision to influence the political debate; and pursue options for inexpensive end-user machines. They argue that acquiring the tools and skills with which to create Web-based distance-learning courseware can be accomplished within existing budgets if colleges and universities use existing tools and training; shift staff time from teaching to creating software; nourish grassroots publication; and examine alternative models for delivering educational services, such as creating ultrashort courses for use on an as-needed basis. They warn, however, that the effective use of technologies may threaten the current structure of higher education more than just streamline it.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction and Overview

  • Chapter Two

    Benefits for Learning and Instruction Delivery

  • Chapter Three

    Improving the Creation of Instruction and Learning Materials

  • Chapter Four

    Creating Connected Educational Communities

  • Chapter Five

    Competing with New External Providers of Education

  • Chapter Six

    Addressing Planning and Policy: How to Make the Best Use of the Internet and WWW in Higher Education

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The research described in this report was supported by RAND Education with funding from the California Education Round Table.

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