Cover: Untangling the Web

Untangling the Web

Applications of the Internet and Other Information Technologies to Higher Education

Published 1998

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.

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

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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