Confronting the Effects of Information Abundance on Higher Education

Access to abundant educational materials online is termed digitization in the post by Keith Hampson that serves as yet another wakeup call for traditional higher education institutions. Keith highlights several serious consequences of digitization:

  • Quality information for education is increasingly available from none-higher ed sources at lower cost and in more convenient forms
  • Individuals can form highly-focussed educational communities independent of educational institutions
  • Powerful search technologies eliminate the value of traditional education intermediaries
  • Current and relevant information changes more quickly than educational institutions can sustain
  • Traditional copyright protection of information develops more slowly than the capacity to share/copy information

Keith points out that higher ed has not yet seen the ravaging effects of digitization felt by reference publishers, the music industry, journalism and libraries. He warns this is already changing:

  • Proprietary, for-profit institutions offering online education are growing at 2.5 times the rate of public education
  • Large employers are creating their own corporate universities, 10-fold increase in the decade to 2005
  • New, unofficial institutions like P2P University and the University of the People are emerging to offer fee-free education; as well K-12 home and online schooling communities are receiving legislative support in North America

In his post Keith gives many more digitization challenges already assailing traditional higher ed institutions. For all staff in higher ed this post is a must-read.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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