Re: Advancements in Technology and the Impact on Higher Education

Gregory Alan Bolcer (
Sat, 25 Apr 1998 18:43:24 -0700

Well, let me attest personally to the impact of technology on higher
education. Without the WWW, I would never have been able
to write my survey paper, nor advance to candicacy in the
short time it took me. The first survey I did using the WWW
I was able to sample the needs of 200+ software
projects in existence in the world.
Without the WWW, I might have been able to study 2 or 3 in depth.

The second survey is turning into my thesis and was a survey of
over 60 software products. Without that information on the
WWW I would have access to limited information on limited
products also, probably less than 10. All in all, this has
shortened the length of time that it will take to do my PhD
from usually 5 years to about 2-1/2 to 3.

Why is this important? A higher education program now is a
series of hoops. For graduate school, the faster you jump
through them, the faster you get out. For college and
grade school, the rate which you master a subject has no
effect on how quickly you get degreed, except in the rare
cases where you see accelerated students such as 13 year
olds entering college.

My prediction? Education changes from an instructional model
where a series of activites are designed to impart knowledge, dependent
upon information previously learned, incrementally build up to the
understanding of complex concepts which students are tested on
at regular intervals, to a much finer-grained skills explorational
model where there are many paths to a skills set, the ordering of
learning is less constrained, and if an exploratory path is beyond
understanding, the student will backtrack to more solid ground. The
learning goals may also be unknown. Education becomes less formal,
focus is on advanced concepts as early as possible, areas become more
specialized, college and advanced degrees become less a
breadth/broad-based skills set and start embracing actual skills
that have value and worth in the marketplace.

Just my thoughts. Certainly I am sick of hearing about
interactive holographic conversations with Einstein and Lenin.