Institutions, Innovation, and Incentives.

by Roger Eli Levien


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A discussion of the importance of achieving effective innovation in computer-assisted instruction. Meaningful innovation can be accomplished only by changing the system--that is, by changing not only the technology, but also the institutions and persons involved. The author presents two case histories: design of the proposed National Institute of Education, supporting creation of an R&D base for educational innovation; and design of the system of institutions and technology needed to make instructional use of the computer in higher education truly effective. To achieve innovation, one must plan institutions to encourage and facilitate it, paying careful attention to financial incentives. Instructional use of computers today has a cottage-industry character. Two trends may change this situation: commercial timeshared computer service and cheap, standardized mini-computers programmed through an exchangeable medium such as a cassette. Change would require the concerted efforts of higher educational institutions, timesharing industries, publishers, and the government. 15 pp. Ref.

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