Opportunity for Change in Higher EdMarch 24, 2008
Before the broad adoption of computers, the inordinate amount of time dedicated to performing administrivia tasks including attendance, student-recordkeeping, scheduling, etc. made any pedagogical or curricular change an unaffordable luxury. Normative processes for teaching and learning in higher education (e.g., tenure and textbook adoption) perpetuate the status quo and thwart innovation. Today’s 21st century learners are better served by an educational system that rewards risk-taking at all levels of the institution. Fortunately, the internet-age provides ample disruptive technologies that have already provoked higher education stakeholders to question their assumptions.
Distance learning is one disruptive technology that forces educators to shift paradigms and increase options for student learning. Distance learning gives access to higher education for underrepresented students who formerly were unable to attend college due to work and caregiving schedule demands, unreliable transportation, and disability.