It's hard to get
anywhere with technology unless you know where you are
going, and where you do not want to go. First comes
"vision" (where to go), then path (how to get there), and
finally "support" (what resources are needed).
The TLT Group
works with institutions, systems, and associations in a
variety of ways to help fine tune educational goals and
institutions get these services free or at a discount.
articles should be useful to academic programs,
institutions, systems and nations that are developing a
vision, path and support. We welcome suggestions for other
articles to post on this page!
Transform or Preserve?
What's "Good"? What's "Bad?" - Visions Worth Working Toward,
and "Visions Worth Working Toward"
Steven W. Gilbert, are essays and related Web-based resources
that - in the context of information technology's potential
to be both excuse and means for improving education - help
decide what needs to be transformed and what needs to be
ii) identify their own most important educational
iii) develop shared Visions Worth Working Toward and
Most institutions benefit from revisiting individual and
institutional goals every few years in response to
recurring pressures to justify investing so much time, money
and effort to take advantage of new, apparently valuable
educational uses of technology. Exemplary
visions are described and activities useful for constructive
discussion and effective collaboration for these purposes
taxonomy of fundamental reasons for using technology, and methods for
assessing progress in each of these areas, is presented in this
chapter of the Flashlight Evaluation Handbook.
There are many reasons to use
technology: offering technology-dependent content in that
field or extending access to people who might not otherwise
be able to participate, for example. One reason that people
often have in mind is making teaching-learning more
effective. It turns out that technology is often used in
support of the very practices that, according to educational
research, are most likely to improve effectiveness and
learning outcomes. For more on this, including a large
library of specific ideas for using technology in these
ways, see this TLT Group web
page on the seven principles of good practice.
doesn't dictate teaching. On the contrary, computers and the
Web creates a bewildering number of options for teachers. So
why not use technology to create a more personally
comfortable and effective approach to teaching?
Pedagogy" is designed to help faculty explore ways of
individualizing their uses of technology for improving
teaching and learning.
What do we mean when say some forms of
education are "face to face?" There is a surprising example, and perhaps insights of other kinds, from
this personal story about how one person learned that the
Equation of Simple
Harmonic Motion really is beautiful.
Computer Literacy: Technology and the Content of a College
Education," by Stephen C. Ehrmann. This paper and
companion web site use a framework developed by the
Association of American Colleges and Universities to look at
five key outcomes of a liberal education (i.e., an education
that goes beyond training in order to prepare a student for
work, citizenship, and life). Ehrmann suggests that uses of
technology in society suggest changing all five outcomes.
For example communications and information skills are parts
of the first outcome; all students ought to learn how to use
these and related technologies for academic purposes (e.g.,
students in an archaeology course developing web sites not
only to demonstrate what they've learned but also to teach
the public). The article suggests needed changes in all
five outcomes and then concludes by describing how students'
electronic portfolios provide an unprecedented tool for
faculty, working together, to shape the students' total
Technology to Make Large-Scale Improvements in
The Outcomes of Higher Education: Learning From Past
Mistakes," by Stephen C. Ehrmann. Observers have been
expecting an imminent computer-enabled transformation of
teaching and learning in higher education ever for almost 40
years. Dr. Ehrmann argues that past efforts have often been
frustrated by strategies that seem like common sense but
that are frustrated by the rapidly changing nature of
technology. This article outlines a five part strategy for
using technology to make valuable, lasting improvements in
the outcomes of higher learning.
Quality: Redefining Choices in the Third Revolution by
Stephen C. Ehrmann. Many of us assume that enlarging access
to education (e.g., by distance learning) threatens the
quality of outcomes and that investments in quality on
campus are elitist, threatening access. But history
suggests that, during an educational revolution, both access
and quality improve in some ways, while being damaged in
others. This draft, rewritten and published in the September
1999 issue of Educom Review, argues that our
investments in technology, whether for "distance learning"
or "on campus," should be designed to improve both access
to education and the quality of outcomes.
"Emerging Models of Online
Collaborative Learning: Can Distance Enhance Quality?"
by Stephen C. Ehrmann and Mauri
Collins (Educational Technology Magazine, Sept.
2001). This article provides examples of how, in
well-designed programs, online interaction can enhance the
quality of learning, beyond what would be normal
face-to-face, in at least three ways:
interaction than would be normal face-to-face;
Interaction among a wider
variety of more diverse learners who, together, bring
more to the table than the learners on campus can
Interaction about more
authentic data, i.e., better things to talk about than
is normal in an isolated classroom.
Technology, Old Trap," by Stephen C. Ehrmann. The
article seems to us as important (and ignored) as it was
when first published in 1995 in Educom Review as "The
Bad Option and the Good Option." Its assertion: the problems
of 'distance learning' can't be solved by distance educators
alone. The reasons that many people are suspicious of the
quality of distance learning apply with equal force to
typical campus courses: over-reliance on didactic methods
leading to rather surface (and quickly forgotten) learning -
not learning that students can wisely apply to new problems
in the real world, or even in later courses. The only way to
deal with the problem is to improve campus and distance
offerings simultaneously and in similar ways.
Redesigning Courses to Improve Them, While Saving Money.
This Pew-funded effort has been supporting and evaluating
projects that redesign courses in ways designed to cut
per-student costs while improving outcomes.
and the Process of Change
What kind of
communities can sustain us, as human beings and as users of
rapidly changing technologies? What can we do to transform
our educational institutions into those kinds of caring,
cohesive places? "Compassionate
Pioneers and Nurturing Communities," developed by Steven
W. Gilbert, includes resources that can be used in workshops
to help develop an atmosphere of mutual support around
educational uses of technology.
Through A Dark Wood
by Susan Saltrick (1997). This inspiring essay focuses on
some of the most difficult and important choices facing
educators and their institutions as they confront challenges
raised by technology.
Framework for Pedagogical Evaluation of Virtual Learning
Environments" by Sandy Britain and Oleg Liber of the
University of Wales, Bangor. This undated essay suggests
how to use teaching-learning and organizational ideas to
select a Course Management System.
to The Triple Challenge: You Can’t Do It Alone”. In
this keynote address to Calico (the association for
computers and foreign languages), Steve Ehrmann argues that,
although collaboration has not been highly valued in the
past, it is essential to using computers in order to improve
and transform higher education. After tracing some of
foreign language computing’s contributions to the state of
the art, the author describes seven types of collaboration
that are necessary to implementing the promise of computing
for transforming second language learning. The talk,
originally given in 1995, is still very much to the point.
Grand Challenges Raised by Technology: Will
This Revolution be a Good One? by
Steve Ehrmann. For the technology-enabled revolution in
education to succeed, we all have to deal with its 'dark
side.' This essay describes several problems so large that
large-scale collaboration will be required to cope with
them. This draft, rewritten, was published in the September
1999 issue of Academe.
A Vision Worth Working Toward
by Steven W. Gilbert (1997) When shifting
from technology-as-niche to technology as part of the fabric
of education at an institution, what goals should we keep in
mind. What organizational processes are most important?
[Completely new version:
A New Vision Worth Working Toward: Connected Education and
Collaborative Change (2000).]
Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for
Electronic Citizens. In the late
1990s, Frank Connolly, a professor at American University
and Senior Associate of The TLT Group, led to the effort to
draft this statement describing rights and responsibilities
of faculty and staff using technology and electronic
Tower, Silicon Basement: Transforming the College," by
Stephen C. Ehrmann. This article, written in 1996 and
published only on our Web site and in TLT Group Workbooks,
was recently requested so we're putting it back on the Web
site. If you like it (or don't), please let the