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  • Good afternoon. I am delighted to be here. It is a great honor to be part of this lecture series and to have the opportunity to address an issue that I believe to be of the utmost importance to the future of this institution and all institutions of higher education. I’m here today to talk about changes: changes in the people and societies we serve and the information technology revolution that is changing so much of what we do and how we do it. The intersection of those people and technology changes are creating challenges and new opportunities for our existing system of higher education. I’d like to share with you some of the technology-enabled responses I’m seeing to those challenges and opportunities, and where I see a unique and continuing role for institutions like the University of Michigan. Finally, I would like to address what I see as the role of information technology here at the University, which I have characterized as “technology enhancing tradition.” This last December I was invited to give a talk on this same topic at University College London, my alma mater. The issues we are being challenged to address, in examining the future of the research university in this revolutionary information age, are issues that our colleagues around the world are also having to investigate. I appreciated the opportunity in England this winter to participate in some of those international discussions, and certainly those exchanges have influenced the ideas I’d like to explore with you today.
  • Secondly -- find when examining an issue that engenders strong and often polarized feelings among both advocates and defenders -- beneficial to examine the issues with a metaphor or analogy. such an approach can provide distance from some of the specific content and emotion associated with the issues — able to address the higher order principles they represent. At that level -- able to reach some common ground for agreement that will allow us all to move forward in our respective endeavors and areas of interest. metaphor: preparation and serving of food -- what is involved in learning how to prepare and serve food. widely varied dimensions -- hot dogs from a street cart or creating new entrees for one of the finest gourmet restaurants in the world. issues of heterogeneity in higher education, key to the consideration of the virtual university and higher education reform. on the slides — illustrations of how aspects of the technology revolution might impact those involved in learning how to prepare food — won’t spend time specifically explaining the illustrations as I speak -- if any of the illustrations are too obtuse, don’t hesitate to come up afterwards and I’ll be happy to articulate the thought the slide was attempting to illustrate.
  • The first issue I believe to be of critical importance is the change we are seeing in the people who are seeking out higher education. There are more people seeking out advanced education than ever before in the history of any of our institutions of higher education. College and university enrollment in the United States is projected to increase from 14 million in 1995 to 16 million in 2007, and perhaps to 20 million by 2010. Estimates are that 65% of high school graduates in the United States now go on to college.
  • At the same time that the population of higher education students is changing, in demographics and attitudes, we are also facing astounding changes in information technology: in personal availability and institutional use. With personal computer prices dropping, 200 million in use worldwide, and a 20% annual growth rate, computers are, or are becoming, a household appliance. In 1997, for the first time, computers outsold televisions in the U.S. By the end of 1998, approximately 80% of U.S. public schools will be online. Suddenly, millions of individuals have a window into the world they would never have imagined possible even 5 years ago. A computer with a network connection can make it possible for a person to break down the barriers of time and space that have kept them from innumerable other people and resources in our societies, including higher education.
  • Traditionally, higher education has operated in a “ same time, same place” mode: students and an instructor are together in the same place at the same time — for example, from 8 to 9 AM on Mondays and Wednesdays. If you oversleep and don’t make it to class at that time, you miss the lesson and everything that goes with the experience and interaction with the instructor during that class session.
  • Technology, however, can expand that scope. For example, people can operate in dimensions of “same time, different place.” While the professor may still be in the classroom, who knows where our student may now choose to be? The experience is still, of course, at the present time constrained by some of our technological limitations. I don’t know, for example, of any present computer applications that easily digitize, transmit and deliver the feel of a normal spleen versus one enlarged by disease. However, if one doesn’t need to address subtleties that require in-person mentoring, then the experience being shared through the technological link may be more than adequate for both the process and the content of the teaching/learning or research exchange. I also know that there are many people working on the virtual reality technologies that will someday make much more of the experience available remotely. It can be an entertaining exercise to think about the things we may be able to learn from the comfort of our own living rooms some years from now.
  • Technology also makes it possible to operate in a “ different time, same place” mode. As I mentioned previously, our student population has changed. Our adult learners have day jobs, and so our normal schedule of offering classes during the day, meeting a few times a week for blocks of time, is totally incompatible with their availability. We have not previously thought of a position as a college professor to be that of a “night job”, nor do I know many full-time faculty who are eager to embrace such a schedule change. However, it is now the case that by the time our students are able to come into the classroom, our faculty have finished the work of the day and have moved on to the rest of their lives. While we are not yet at the University of Michigan recording and transmitting holograms of our instructors into their classrooms evenings, nights and weekends, we do have instructors using Web-based lab experiment tutorials available on computers in the labs for students to use whenever they choose.
  • Finally, technology now makes it possible to operate in “ different time, different place” mode. Being in geographically-distant locations creates challenges of both place and time. I often have to manage the time change between Michigan and Europe to stay in touch with my family, and find it inconvenient. However, my difficulty pales when compared to coordinating the work of a group of research scientists who are located in 4 different hemispheres, on 7 different continents, and in 27 different countries. Our researchers have found that they are able to use many computer applications to free them from the constraints of the clock. They use email, electronic conferencing and electronic data transfer to collaborate in a timely and efficient process, breaking down many of the barriers previously posed by their geographical and time separation. Being freed from both geography and time, our students and faculty can independently choose their locations and their levels of wakefulness at the moment of the teaching/learning exchange.
  • So, given the changes we are seeing in people and the changes we are seeing in technology, what to date has been the response of the higher education community? First of all, there is more use of technology at “traditional” colleges and universities. According to the 1998 Campus Computing Project survey of 571 U.S. colleges and universities, in 1998 44% of classes are using E-mail, compared with only 8% only four years ago. Over 33% of classes use the Internet, and more than 20% are using the Web, compared with only 4% in 1994. At the University of Michigan, we are seeing astounding growth in the use of technology. In one year we had a 66% increase in our campus modem connect hours, and we have had to triple the number of dial-in modems in the last three years to try to keep up with faculty, student and staff demand. This is at the same time that we wired all of our dormitory residences with ethernet connectivity, to provide those 6,000 students direct access to our network.
  • So, given the changes we are seeing in people and the changes we are seeing in technology, what to date has been the response of the higher education community? First of all, there is more use of technology at “traditional” colleges and universities. According to the 1998 Campus Computing Project survey of 571 U.S. colleges and universities, in 1998 44% of classes are using E-mail, compared with only 8% only four years ago. Over 33% of classes use the Internet, and more than 20% are using the Web, compared with only 4% in 1994. At the University of Michigan, we are seeing astounding growth in the use of technology. In one year we had a 66% increase in our campus modem connect hours, and we have had to triple the number of dial-in modems in the last three years to try to keep up with faculty, student and staff demand. This is at the same time that we wired all of our dormitory residences with ethernet connectivity, to provide those 6,000 students direct access to our network.
  • So, given the changes we are seeing in people and the changes we are seeing in technology, what to date has been the response of the higher education community? First of all, there is more use of technology at “traditional” colleges and universities. According to the 1998 Campus Computing Project survey of 571 U.S. colleges and universities, in 1998 44% of classes are using E-mail, compared with only 8% only four years ago. Over 33% of classes use the Internet, and more than 20% are using the Web, compared with only 4% in 1994. At the University of Michigan, we are seeing astounding growth in the use of technology. In one year we had a 66% increase in our campus modem connect hours, and we have had to triple the number of dial-in modems in the last three years to try to keep up with faculty, student and staff demand. This is at the same time that we wired all of our dormitory residences with ethernet connectivity, to provide those 6,000 students direct access to our network.
  • So, given the changes we are seeing in people and the changes we are seeing in technology, what to date has been the response of the higher education community? First of all, there is more use of technology at “traditional” colleges and universities. According to the 1998 Campus Computing Project survey of 571 U.S. colleges and universities, in 1998 44% of classes are using E-mail, compared with only 8% only four years ago. Over 33% of classes use the Internet, and more than 20% are using the Web, compared with only 4% in 1994. At the University of Michigan, we are seeing astounding growth in the use of technology. In one year we had a 66% increase in our campus modem connect hours, and we have had to triple the number of dial-in modems in the last three years to try to keep up with faculty, student and staff demand. This is at the same time that we wired all of our dormitory residences with ethernet connectivity, to provide those 6,000 students direct access to our network.
  • So where does all of this leave us as we look to the future of institutions like the University of Michigan and University College London? Some are suggesting that our research universities are becoming extinct or marginalized. Where do research universities fit in the future of higher education, if we fit at all? Put simply, what value can we offer that can’t now be found elsewhere? I believe that the answer to these questions can be found in the traditional role that research universities have filled in fostering what I call Knowledge Communities in pursuit of understanding. Knowledge Communities are groups of individuals with common or complementary interests who join together as they pursue common or complementary goals around the creation, enhancement, or sharing of information. A Knowledge Community may be formally linked and identified, and have a formal structure and identified members and activities; or, it may be more informal, with a changing structure, membership and activities.
  • Historically, educational institutions have been the most easily identifiable knowledge communities in our society, and institutions of higher education perhaps the most formally so. Many of our colleges and universities began as very specific knowledge communities. This included seminaries for the study of religion and the training of ministers, teacher colleges for the study of education and the development of teachers, and medical schools for the study of medicine and the preparation of physicians. In the age of the information revolution, knowledge communities have undergone rapid, radical changes. Communications technologies have created the potential for knowledge communities where none existed before. Individuals who were part of a knowledge community for a limited amount of time, say the three or four years they were on a college campus to earn their undergraduate degrees, now find themselves members of life-long virtual knowledge communities via the computers in their homes or offices. Freed from the requirements of being physically present to participate, individuals suddenly have the opportunity to be members of many different knowledge communities, constrained only by their interests and available time. Technology is definitely having some wonderful impacts in reducing the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”, for example, by making it possible for those at an institution with limited resources to access those resources at another institution that has a more extensive collection.
  • All responses to the educational needs of knowledge communities, including those by Virtual Universities, Research Universities, and others, address the characteristics of Knowledge Communities in a variety of ways and to varying degrees. Again, I would suggest that you see all of these responses falling along a spectrum. All of the facets of the spectrum are valid and necessary types and venues of higher education, all of them worthy of individuals desiring to enhance their participation and contributions to their particular knowledge community.
  • And I believe that there are some things that “virtual” universities do very well. They’ve become very successful by addressing the desires and needs of particular student groups and by taking advantage of the opportunities brought about by changes in technology. Virtual universities are good at addressing many students needs raised by the demographic and lifestyle changes I mentioned earlier. They’ve been able to address student interests in enhancing income and vocational opportunities. For example, more than half of all University of Phoenix students are enrolled in business courses. Virtual universities are meeting a growing need for mass higher education, including the need by corporations for ongoing staff training and skills updating. And, with their economies of scale and limited need for brick and mortar institutions, they provide a good response to the funding limitations that will likely slow the creation or expansion of more traditional campus-based colleges. Virtual universities are also able to provide students with certain very customized learning programs, by drawing from resources at more than one institution.
  • Research universities also have a responsibility to produce the next generation of faculty and researchers, those who not only share knowledge but create it. And those who aspire to that master role will always want the direct contact with the experts in the field. In fact, we are finding more and more that they demand it. A project at Michigan that is using technology to move research into undergraduate study and support this nurturing of the next set of “master chefs” is our new Social and Behavioral Sciences Collaboratory. A year ago the U-M’s internationally known Institute for Social Research and the IBM Corporation expanded this experience for faculty and students alike when they began working together on this new project. The Collaboratory focuses on data-intensive computing for social science research. It has brought together social and computer science researchers, and has expanded our Center for Parallel Computing in the College of Engineering into an institution-wide resource.
  • Research universities also provide an institutional and physical structure in which collaboration with industry and other external partners can be facilitated and supported. The global information revolution, including an integral relationship with and dependence on technology, is propelling organizations like ours to develop new models of partnership. We must reexamine our models of relationships with industry. The initial model of partnership consisted of little more than hand-outs, gifts given and then left to the recipients to use as they saw fit. Over time, some relationships were developed that were more akin to handshakes, initial partnership agreements with some level of commitment on either side for a certain limited investment of involvement. However, today neither of these models is adequate to meet institutional needs that are long-term, complex, global and ever-changing.
  • This last fall at the University of Michigan we launched a new Strategic Alliance Program that establishes formal, strategic partnerships with major information technology corporations. The Program creates a framework within which organizations can create long term, shared endeavors. We are also using this model at the University to federate the institution’s internal technology interests to leverage shared resources to meet common needs. The key is the establishment of a model of partnership where strategic directions as well as actual project creation, implementation and success continue to have the “hands on” involvement of all of the partners. The advantages of Alliance Agreements for the university include opportunities for technology research and development, improved communication and technical exchange with Alliance partners, staff enrichment opportunities, and deeper, institution-wide discounts for products and services.
  • I believe one of the fundamental roles of education, and the research end of higher education in particular, is to teach people to think differently — to create the mindset and the knowledge to enable that. Innovation, discovery and creativity are not expressed in a vacuum; they need a stimulating and receptive context like that which the university offers. I have appreciated Lee Bollinger’s emphasis that the research university must provide an environment where scholars are able to suspend disbelief, where we can recognize that first impressions are just that, and spend the time and thought necessary to explore new or controversial ideas. And those in the corporate world need to be involved participants in that environment. This new model of partnership is seeking to bring them into our activities in a new way. For example, the research university provides a unique opportunity to design, adapt, and test new technologies; set standards; and create models for technology implementation.
  • In the area of instructional technology, the University of Michigan is a key participant in a new initiative coordinated by EDUCAUSE, the professional organization for computing in higher education in the United States. The Office of Instructional Technology has been developing innovative instructional software for our professors for over ten years, and they have been the recipient of a number of Smithsonian Awards, national awards for work in this area. However, much of the work to date has resulted in very sophisticated software packages that are specific to a discipline and a content area within that discipline: in essence one-off projects. We have for some time recognized a pressing need to scale these activities to the whole institution: in essence to change the environment of instruction at the University. The EDUCAUSE IMS initiative is one of the areas that is working to address these scaling issues at all of our institutions. QUESTION - DO YOU WANT TO REFERENCE THE NEW INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES HERE? NEW ROLE OF THE MEDIA UNION?
  • I could provide innumerable additional examples of ways that the University of Michigan, as a major research university, is responding to the changing needs of knowledge communities and the potentials of technology. Before I close, however, I would like to talk to you just a little about how I believe information technology can indeed “enhance tradition” at the University of Michigan. I believe for all institutions of higher education, the use — or misuse — of technology will be a key component of maintaining an institution’s effective contribution in the panoply of higher education offerings. To ensure that at Michigan we reap the positive benefits of technology, and I’ve established some Guiding Principles that must permeate every choice and decision we make relative to information technology. I see these as the pillars of everything we do in the realm of information technology.
  • My Guiding Principles for implementing information technology among Knowledge Communities include the following. Information technology must first of all add value to the core mission, values and work of the University. Except for those areas where experimentation with technology is part of the discipline, we will not focus on technology for its own sake. Technology is a tool, at times a powerful tool, but one that must further our basic mission and values. Second, Information Technology must draw people together rather than push or keep them apart. For example, the synergy of a student’s interest and energy with a faculty member’s experience and expertise, along with that student’s interaction with peers, is a key component of what a large research university uniquely offers in an educational experience. We must focus on ways that technology can enhance interaction.
  • Third, Information Technology must be accessible in an equitable, though not necessarily identical, manner. We must ensure that technology does not disadvantage or unfairly advantage some members of knowledge communities to the detriment of others. And fourth, we must balance economies of scale with our need and commitment to a diverse Information Technology environment . The reality is that funding can’t keep up with the pace of technology change and the needs of our many communities. This pushes us towards economies of scale and uniformity of hardware and software. However, we must simultaneously fulfill the need for and maintain a commitment to a diverse technology environment. Faculty, researchers and students must have whatever technology is needed to pursue work in their discipline. And, students benefit from exposure to the full range of technologies available.
  • Virtual Universities and other initiatives have emerged in response to changing student demographics, attitudes and technology and fill a societal need. But they do not compete with the Research University that holds true to the roles fulfilled by knowledge communities. I ‘d like to close with a story that I believe captures some of the sense of this. All master chefs, both actual and metaphorical, face challenges managing priorities. And this is my favorite “priorities” story. An expert on time management had been invited to speak to a class of graduate students. As he stood in front of this group of high-powered, over-achievers, he announced, “Time for a quiz.” He pulled out a large jar and set it on the table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen large rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class answered, “Yes.”
  • He said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some of the gravel into the jar, and then shook the jar, such that the pieces of gravel fell down into the spaces between the big rocks. He asked the group once more, “Is this jar full?” The class was now on to him, and one of the students answered, “Probably not.” “Good!” he replied, reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He dumped the sand into the jar, shook the jar, and the sand filled in the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Again he asked the class, “Is this jar full?” “No!” the class responded. “Good,” he said, and grabbed a pitcher of water and poured the water into the jar until it was filled to the brim.
  • Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?” One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit more things into it!” “ No,” said the speaker, “that is not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.” Well, I believe that as research universities we must think carefully about our “big rocks” — our traditions, our priorities, our strengths, our role in the world. And as the information revolution is transforming the world around us, as brilliant minds and imaginations are energetically applying these new technology tools in every direction, it’s important that we avoid having technology frame our future.
  • Technology engages us, it can be interesting, fun, exciting, entrancing. But we must think about the core, the essence of what we do in our respective higher education niches. Then we can shape how the technology can support and reinforce our endeavors. If we are to lead in higher education, we must understand all that our institutions encompass. Education is still about the nurture and growth of knowledge and understanding. While many of us are excited by the technological possibilities, this future is not only about technology. It is about what we do with the technology. Through the effective application of technology, we can ensure that the research university continues its crucial role in the progress of thought and knowledge in our world, now and in the future. It is also about reaching back to the truths of the past and stretching forward into the future. To lead, we need to imagine that future, “for once the mind is stretched by a new idea it never regains its original dimensions.” It's about who we are …. and what we do. And….what we can become... Thank you.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Food for Thought: Technology, Tradition and Transformation in Higher Education Professor José-Marie Griffiths University of Michigan Chief Information Officer Executive Director, Information Technology Division Professor, School of Information March, 1999
    • 2. Food for Thought: A Metaphor
    • 3. People Changes
      • more students
      • new student demographics
      • new student lifestyles and attitudes
    • 4. Technology Changes
      • personal availability
      • distance learning availability
    • 5. Technology change impacts: same time, same place
      • Traditionally, higher education has operated in a “same time, same place” mode — faculty and students at the same time in the same place.
    • 6. Technology change impacts: same time, different place
      • Technology can expand the scope to same time, different place — faculty in the classroom, student who knows where?
    • 7. Technology change impacts: different time, same place
      • Technology can expand the scope to different time, same place — student and faculty do not have to be in the classroom at the same time.
    • 8. Technology change impacts: different time, different place
      • Technology can expand the scope to different time, different place — no restraint on either time or place.
      • E-mail, electronic conferencing, electronic data transfer, etc.
    • 9. Responses
      • more use of technology at “traditional” universities
      • more outreach to communities by traditional universities
      • redefinition of communities by traditional universities
    • 10. Responses
      • new model for institutions of higher education
      • consortia model for institutions of higher education
      • for-profit, technology-based educational institutions
      • corporate education efforts growing
    • 11. Responses
      • change in the role of faculty
      • change in the goals of students
      • new instructional technology approaches
    • 12. Responses
      • Need to examine what it means to change the role of faculty — issue of presence :
        • Physical
        • Electronic, not seen
        • Telepresence
        • Virtual
        • Simulated
    • 13. What is the future for traditional colleges and universities?
      • Knowledge Communities: groups of individuals with common or complementary interests who join together as they pursue common or complementary goals around the creation, enhancement, or sharing of knowledge.
    • 14. Knowledge Communities
      • Educational institutions are the most easily identifiable Knowledge Communities.
      • Technology creates potential for Knowledge Communities where none existed before.
    • 15.
      • Knowledge Community activities take place at various levels of expertise, sophistication and complexity.
      Knowledge Communities: a spectrum of activity
    • 16.
      • Address the desires and needs of particular student groups.
      • Can assist in enhancing income and vocational opportunities.
      • Provide mass higher education.
      • Can provide customized learning programs.
      Knowledge Communities: The Role of Virtual Universities
    • 17.
      • Must become enculturated into what it means to think and work like a scholar or researcher.
      • Must know not only the answers but how to fashion the questions that are yet to be asked in the discipline.
      Research Universities: Enculturation
    • 18.
      • looking to technology to enhance the master/apprentice experience.
      • expand the opportunities available to our more traditional market — advanced placement courses in high schools; ongoing professional education.
      Research Universities: Enculturation
    • 19.
      • University of Michigan — over 25% of all undergraduates participate in research with faculty.
      Research Universities: the community of scholars
    • 20.
      • The traditional higher education experience is still desired by many.
      • In 1998 University of Michigan received close to 19,000 applications for admission to a freshman class with 5,500 openings.
      Research Universities: the community of scholars
    • 21.
      • Graduates are familiar with not only the historical background of their chosen discipline but are also current with leading edge scholarship and research results.
      Research Universities: students sharing in research
    • 22.
      • Research universities have a responsibility to produce the next generation of faculty and researchers
      • Students gain experience in leading-edge research techniques and methodologies.
      • Students graduate with established relationships with other scholars.
      Research Universities: the next generation of scholars
    • 23.
      • Research universities can provide an institutional and physical structure in which collaboration with industry and other external partners can be facilitated and supported.
      Research Universities: collaboration with external partners
    • 24.
      • University of Michigan Strategic Alliance Program — internal federation, external “hands on” involvement.
      • Opportunities for shared research and development, technical exchange, staff enrichment, deep product discounts.
      Research Universities: new models for partnerships
    • 25.
      • Innovation, discovery and creativity need a stimulating and receptive context in which to develop.
      • We need industry involved in the higher education environment.
      Research Universities: industry must participate
    • 26.
      • Issues of developing instructional technology that can scale and make migration of courses to electronic delivery easier.
      • Media Union - coordinated approach to instructional technology.
      Research Universities: instructional technology development
    • 27.
      • Guiding Principles
      The University of Michigan Information Technology Directions
    • 28. Guiding Principles for implementing information technology
      • Add Value
      Draw People Together
    • 29.
      • Add Value
      Guiding Principles for implementing information technology Draw People Together Accessible, Equitable Balance
    • 30. Research Universities: managing our priorities
    • 31. Research Universities: managing our priorities
    • 32. Research Universities: managing our priorities
    • 33. Food for Thought: TRADITION TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMATION
    • 34. Professor José-Marie Griffiths University of Michigan Chief Information Officer Executive Director, Information Technology Division Professor, School of Information E-mail: jmgriff@umich.edu CIO Web Site: http://www.cio.umich.edu 5085 Fleming Administration Building University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 U.S.A.

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