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This paper was presented at the Teaching and Learning Conference in January, 2008.

This paper was presented at the Teaching and Learning Conference in January, 2008.

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  • StrategicTechnology Alliances for Teaching and Learning Ronald Black, Ed.D, University of Phoenix There is a major need for higher education to confront the challenges of intense competition and to develop new instructional paradigms that respond to the needs of the lifelong learner and workforce development. Critical thresholds must be met in order to use technology to communicate, collaborate, and transform teaching and learning focusing on learners who may be separated in time and space from the institution. Introduction Higher Education exists as a community of scholars dedicated to he creation and t dissemination of knowledge and the preparation of future leaders in a global society. For many learners there are significant barriers to full partic ipation in this teaching and learning experience. Technology is intended to break down the barriers of time and space and enable more of our learners to participate and collaborate with faculty and other learners. Certain critical thresholds must be met in order to use technology to communicate, collaborate, and transform teaching and learning. Technology will not replace faculty or the hard work that teaching and learning requires. We must continue to use technology to expand teaching and learning options. Technology can help the learner to get connected to informatio and learning communities; expand participation in n the teaching and learning process improve access to learning materials, experts, and peers; and ; provide new channels for active learning. These new teaching and learning options will require a substantial investment in ongoing faculty development and technology enhancement. Technology by itself does not improve or cause changes in learning. Onli e learning n environments have many capabilities and the potential to widen options and opportunities available to teachers and learners. The key to changing conditions for improving learning is how these options and opportunities are implemented. The value of technology for higher education is proportional to the need for that technology to impact on educationa objectives. The current use of l technology involves the restructuring and the re-development of new teaching and learning models that match the unique capabilities and features of the technology media. To carry out this complex paradigm shift and address higher education’s challenges we must develop effective partnerships and collaborative efforts internally and externally. There is a major need for most colleges and universities to confront the intense local and national competition, to enhance academic programs to meet the challenges of this competition, and to develop new teaching and learning strategies to meet the demands of a global marketplace. In today's global business environment, technological sophistication is key to higher education competitiveness. However, many colleges and universities find it difficult to keep up with technological trends, let alone establ sh the trajectory of technological change. A recent study by i James F. Fairbank titled “Strategic Technology Alliances and Global Competitiveness: A Longitudinal Assessment of Three Industries” suggests that competitiveness in the global market has resulted in an increase in strategic technology alliances. A fact that higher education and corporations cannot ignore.. A primary factor contributing to higher education’s enrollment paradigm is that traditional teacher-centered pedagogy and curriculado not meet current and future learner expectations. Learners who enroll in higher education today have completed courses using multiple technologies
  • 2 including video conferencing, personal computersand on-line learning tools in high school. Many of the high schools and colleges that they have attended have extensive technology infrastructures and include technology throughout their curriculum. These learners expect technology to be an integral part of the curriculum. The limited use of applied technology in the curriculum has created differences of opinions between faculty and learners concerning course delivery. Each partner bases strategic technology alliances upon a strong commitment to mutual decision-making, investment, risk, and reward. The relationship includes executive level participation, shared technology resources, and the development and implementation of mutually beneficial and innovative academic programs. Colleges must take advantageof the geographic reach and functional capabilities of today's most sophisticated, interactive technologies including the Internet, multimedia and electronic courseware applications. Alliance projects must focus on the learning environment, enabling the college to design, develop, deliver, and manage distributed learning in a way that complements rather than competes with traditional curriculum. Vendor Branding In our global economy, how colleges and universities will compete may be determined by brands that will add values or belief systems to educational programs to permit institutions to carve out a niche in their market. There are some indicators that the market for education will become increasingly branded. Branding may be a key tool in the institutional arsenal to gain competitive advantage (Riley, 1998, p. 13). At many colleges and universities this branding approach may include specialized technology based programs such as an executive level master of business administration degree program (EMBA). The executive MBA will reflect the collaborative partnership between business and academia. This dynamic technology-based EMBA can be taught at the vendor’s location throughout the world. The curriculum’s focus is designed to help mid- level executives build valuable skills that will enable them to leverage the academic material generated, analyzed, and distributed via technology. With this focus the learner will gain valuable experiences that will empower them to advance the goals of their organization and advance their career. Each course in the EMBA will contain online courseware projects, electronic bulletin boards, E-mail and on-line chat in addition to lecture based classes and leadership seminars. The courses will be team-taught using the college’s faculty and vendor professionals and executives. In addition, a speaker series made up of senior executives from leading technology vendors will participate in a monthly speaker series. This session will be in the form of a dinner business meeting on the evening before allowing a forum for questions and answers between the speaker and the learner. All of the courses will use e-business strategies as the basis for instruction. The diagram below indicates the three-pronged approachto the EMBA, including learner-centered instruction, executive leadership series, and Internet learning applications.
  • 3 EMBA Learner Centered Executive Internet Instruction with an Leadership Learning E-Business Orientation Forum Applications Application of College International and Courseware and Vendor Strategic National Speaker Technology Priorities Series Program Instructional Support Current Topics in a Team Teaching Discussion-based IBM ThinkPad Environment Symposium Notebook Computer and Software Intensive Prerequisite World Wide Web On-Line Business and Seminar and On-Line Learner Needs and Best Practices Briefings Faculty/Learner Chat E-Mail Room Technologies There is a dangerous mismatch between what today's learner needs from higher education and what it is receiving. This disparity has led colleges and universities to evaluate and develop partnerships to ensure their ability to compete in a global economy. Many colleges have as a strategy to embark on a program to maximize the advances in information related technology to enhance operations, decision making, and instruction and to build bridges with government, business, and other educational institutions, nationally and internationally, that adds perspective and breadth to their programs, maximize resource utilization, and enhance the reputation and exposure of our institution. As stated earlier, colleges exist as a community of scholars dedicated to the creation and dissemination of knowledge and the preparation of future leaders in a global society. Colleges have recognized that for many of its learners there are significant barriers to full participation in this community. The changing demographics are placing new demands on the college. Learners are more diverse. In addition to ethnicity as a sign of diversity, learners are older, balancing life and career priorities, and prefer to attend the college on a part-time basis. Learners are being more selective about which institutions they attend. They expect to participate in a learning environment that fosters measurable improvement in their skill development. Dolence and Norris write: quot;Today's learners are becoming increasing impatient, their dealing wih world-class service t providers in other settings have conditioned them to expect just-in-time servicesquot; (p. 11). Technology is intended to break down the barriers of time and space and enable more learners to
  • 4 participate in the college experience. However, certain critical thresholds must be met in order to use technology to communicate, collaborate, and transform teaching and learning to meet the diverse needs of the current and future learner. Brands, Partnerships and Alliances Specific projects in strategic technology alliances can be based upon the marketing value and emotional loyalty of the vendor’s brand. Vendors have spent billions of dollars creating positive feelings toward its brand, both in the form of advertising and in skillfully designed products and services. Throughout the years, technology vendors have created banner brands that have added value to the products and services that its loyal customers continue to purchase. The attributes of a banner brand that determines its impact on buyer predisposition include (a) recognition, the level of brand awareness; (b) reputation, the confidence one has that a product bearing a particular brand will live up to the producer's claims; (c) affinity, the extent to which the brand is an integral part of the customer's sense of self; and (d) domain, the breadth of the brand's potential catchment’s area in terms of plausible product scope. Multiplied together, recognition, reputation, affinity, and domain determine a brand's share of mind (Hamel & Prahalad, 1994). The stretching of the technology vendor’s brand to academicprograms is expected to communicate a universal message about product integrity and quality, based upon the recognition that the vendor and the college have formed a strong strategic technology alliance. The strategic technology alliance establishes a partnership between technology vendors and colleges that will pool each organization's resources and cut costs through the sharing of those resources such as training, consulting and providing joint educational opportunities. In an article on partnerships in Business Week's Frontier magazine J. Trent Williams, a principal at Regional Technology Strategies, Inc., a Chapel Hill, NC based research firm that advises companies and local governments on how to set up partnershi s states, quot;These days, you need to be too good at p too many things to do it yourself.” The article also reports that on national level almost one out of five businesses has used strategic alliances as a way to expand. The point is that partnerships and alliances are agreements in which there is equality of expectations, investments of time, funding, and commitment to make them work. Corporations have witnessed an explosion in alliance activity, driven by combined forces of rapid technological innovation, globalization, intensifying competition and the blurring of industry lines. Powerful forces are driving the formation of strategic alliances between firmsin the world economy. The movement toward globalization has opened many new opportunities to companies, triggering a desperate race for the future by major global suppliers of everything from credit cards to telecommunications. The establishment of partnerships between government, business, and learning institutions appears fundamental to the development of technology in support of life-long learning. The public and private sector partnerships provide the synergy required to develop innovative, large-scale technical solutions and innovations in their use in the academic arena. Clearly, the development and growth ofpartnerships in education and learning will benefit the development of effective systems and break down the artificial barriers between academic programs. Higher education is placing greater emphasis on developing partnerships with business and industry and conducting contract training through continuing education and shadow colleges. These initiatives are usually long-term, self-supporting and free of bureaucratic red tape.
  • 5 Strategic Alliances in Higher Education Higher education is currently faced with the challenge to connect people of all ages to the learning process in new and different ways. Employers are seeking new ways to train their employees with the assistance of colleges and universities. Alliances can meet both of these needs. Alliances and partnerships are based on resource sharing. It is difficult for colleges and universities to keep pace with rapidly changing technologies and new expectations in the workplace. A model for strategic technology alliances in higher education is outlined in the book titled, quot;Reinventing higher educationquot; edited by Diane Oblinger and Richard Katz in a chapter written by J. C. Henderson and M. R. Subramani titled, quot;The shifting ground between markets and hierarchy: managing a portfolio of relationshipsquot; (1999, p 114). The eight step model for college and university relationships with industry include (a) focus, (b) leverage, (c) capability development, (d) planning horizon, (e) accountability, (f) information behavior, (g) information mechanisms, and (h) risk management. The strategy behind the model is to identify and include management procedures that involve both organizations in the process of alliance development and implementation. Involvement by personnel from each organization serves to develop a better alliance and often ensures a quot;buy-inquot; from everyone involved in the outcomes. Some critics are warning that there is a failure of higher education to prepare learners for jobs in today’s global economy. Even employees already in the workforce do not have the right skills for corporate needs of the future and nothing is being done to teach them. Because of the constantly changing job skills needed in our high-tech society, most college graduates wil not be l able to compete. A significant question that must be asked is whether or not alliances between higher education and business and industry will force shifts in the relationship to address the skill failure. The question is even more complex by the fact that higher education, having become increasingly dependent on federal and state government aid, are now battered by government regulations and declining enrollments. In the face of declining resources, institutions are turning toward corporations in search of sympathy, political allies, and new resources to enhance enrollments, perhaps without thinking through the consequences of these alliances. Colleges and universities seeking a competitive advantage are forming substantive alliances with the business community in this new competitive environment. Strategic partnerships and structural alliances are replacing the more formal goal of collaboration and cooperation. This is especially advantageous for those seeking a foothold in the burgeoning adult-learning marketplace. Technology Transformation in Higher Education Higher education will continue to see revolutionary changes requiring institutions to reassess market position, and embark in new academic directions. Universities are often at the leading edge in the use of technology for research but not academics. Academics has been slower to apply leading technology in the classroom, yet continue to advance the use of technology for administrative purposes. The challenge of the future is to explore and use the power of technology in teaching and learning wh enhancing technology use to run the institution. ile
  • 6 The Internet continues to fundamentally change relationships, blurring the lines between buyers and sellers, competitors and partners, employers and employees, and teachers and learners. It is a new economic order, based on a new currency called knowledge, which fundamentally changes the playing field. The result is new rules of competition, with new requirements for workers, new challenges for management, and new demands for higher education. The figure below reflects the changing rules of competition as they relate to jobs, education, and success. Old New A Skill Life Long Learning Labor vs. Management Teams Security Taking Risks Plant & Equipment Internet Protocol Job Preservation Job Creation Monopolies Competition The Changing Rules of Competition Status Quo Change National Global Zero Sum Win-Win Hierarchical Networked Wages Ownership Profits Although these observations have greater acceptance today, the world is just beginning to experience their impact. The integration of technology into a world economy is changing the rules that have guided us through the industrial age, creating a very different environment. For higher education the challenge is to prepare people to adapt to this ever-changing environment. The debates are growing more intense about higher education's ability to respond to the needs of the knowledge economy. Higher education must continue to stress the transformation from teacher-centered strategies to learner-centered strategies. Learner-centered strategies are built around learner objectives, the accommodation of learner restraints, and are self-paced and self- motivated providing for individual learning styles. Technology-based teaching and learning programswill continue to grow over the next decade as an economical means of providing continuous education, and that information technology will change the teaching enterpri e. A significant technology transformation in higher s education is the methodology used to help learners get the education they need to remain competitive in a rapidly changing world. The transformation of teaching and learning and the creation of learning communities will be driven by the rapid changeof skill sets required, the cost of education and training, and the explosion of adult learners. In the future, there will be a blurring of the lines between the 18-21 year old learner to an adult population that will be pursuing degrees in non-traditional ways, seeking professional certification or getting training to improve job skills. These learners need greater flexibility if they are to be able to handle their course work while working. Net-based virtual learning centers have created new ways of teaching in which exchanges among learners are as important as the exchange with the teacher. The best way to teach adults online is to form learning communities, to get learners working together in collaborative groups. Using technology for teaching and learning is an adventure with un predictable outcomes. What
  • 7 we can predict with certainty, however, is the fascination that technology holds and the fact that its mastery will be indispensable for today’s learner. IBM's Role in Higher Education The recognized leader of technology throughout the world is IBM. During the first half of the twentieth century, under the leadership of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., IBM grew into a major corporate power, creating and building new markets for accounting machinery. Thomas J. Watson, Jr. assumed the presidency in 1952 and built on his father's success. The younger Watson ushered IBM into the age of computers, leading the company to a position of dominance unmatched in business history (McKenna, 1989). IBM began its formal relationship with higher education 50 years ago when Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University and Thomas J. Watson, Jr., President of IBM, jointly announced the formation of the Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory at ColumbiaUniversity (Pugh, 1994, p.127-129). Throughout the years IBM has provided significant support to higher education through investments, research grants, curriculum, software tools, and consulting services. In a press release from Seton Hall University in New Jersey titled, IBM-Seton Hall University alliance will set new direction in higher education, the president of Seton Hall states, quot;Seton Hall is teaming with IBM because IBM offers the very finest resources for instructional technology. IBM's vision for integrating technology into the higher education experience so closely matches our own goals for incorporating technology into the learning environment that we decided to formalize the collaboration with the signing of this agreementquot; (Seton Hall University, 1997). IBM became interested in an alliance with Seton Hall in 1995 when consultants from IBM's Global Education Industry Unit assisted a university committee in completing a five-year plan for information technology. Sean C. Rush, general manager, IBM Higher Education states in the press release: quot;Seton Hall is among the leaders in incorporating information technology in higher education. By working in collaboration with Seton Hall we can share the strengths of both organizations and work together to meet our goalsquot; (Seton Hall University, 1997). The Seton Hall University and IBM strategic technology alliance has been recognized as the leading model for strategic technology alliances throughout higher education. This model strategic technology alliance continues today. Another example of IBM’s commitment to strategic technology alliances for higher education is their relationship to Monterrey Tech in Mexico. The Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education or Monterrey Tech was founded in 1943 by agroup of Mexican business men. It is a private institution without religious or political affiliation. ITESM has 30 campuses, a learner enrollment of over 86,000 and a faculty of about 6,877. First established in Monterrey, it has a presence throughout Mexico and has begun to serve other countries including Columbia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. It also has field and liaison offices in China, Singapore, Paris, Brussels, Washington, Boston, and Vancouver. Since 1989, it has operated a virtual university that today includes 1,430 receiving si es in educational t institutions and corporate workplaces throughout Mexico and Latin America. It is the largest geographically dispersed educational system in the world. It provides ITESM’s dispersed faculty with the means of increasing its skill in both subject matter and educational methods. High school, bachelors, masters and doctorate degree programs are offered in such fields as computer science,
  • 8 engineering, business administration, law, medicine, communications, and educational innovation and technology. Additionally, it is determined to contrib to the economic strength of Mexico by ute improving the skills of its engineers and others in the work force. Summary Colleges and universities who have developed strateg alliances with business and ic industry have determined that the critical elements to alliance development includes planning, transformation, and the appropriate use of technology to create a mission that is more productive and personal to each organization. Strategic technology alliances and partnerships between higher education and industry take many forms. The models demonstrate commonthemes of collaboration between each organization, internal and external variables and how the strategic technology issues facing higher education may capitalize on the industrial resources. The collective skills, vision, and ongoing dialogue between each organization will help sustain the transformation of technology in higher education throughout the 21st century and beyond. Institutional, national, and global competitiveness ultimately depends on people. Individuals will be more competitive if they have the right set of skills. The challenge is how to incorporate the skills into the fabric of educational institutions. These projects include new learner-centered academic pedagogical methodologies, electronic learning, and Internet based courses for using various modes of academic courseware, learner mobile computing, and technology enhancement initiatives. An alliance’s collaborative projects will improve new learner enrollment, increase retention rates, integrate technology for teaching and learning, streamline administrative processes and enhance the college’s ability to offer credit-bearing executive management and technology education. It is clearly evident that strategic technology alliances between business and industry and higher education are unique with different focuses and content. A strategic technology alliance that is based upon a strong commitment to mutual decision making, resource investment, risk, and reward by each partner will enhance on-campus academic programs and extend the college’s reach to learners anywhere at anytime. REFERENCES American Council of Education (1999). Business-Higher Education Forum: GE.Umass Partnership. [Online]. Available: http://www.ac enet.edu/about/programs…F/coops/corp-college/ge_umass.html. [2000, January 7]. Beckhard, R., Goldsmith, M., & Hesselbein, F. (Eds.). (1997). The organization of the future: The circular organization. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Bolman, L. G. & Deal, T. E. (1997). Reframing organizations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Bowie, N. E. (1994). University-business partnerships: An assessment. Lanham, MD. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.Brown, D. G. (1999). Always in touch: A practical guide to ubiquitous computing. Winston-Salem, NC: Wake Forrest University Press. Conference Board. (1996). Strategic Alliances: Gaining a competitive advantage. New York, NY: The Conference Board. Cortada, J. W. (1998). How to make partnerships work. [Online]. Available: http://www.hied.ibm.com/multiversity/Spr98/partners.html. Dolence, M. G., & Norris, D. M. (1995). Transforming higher education: A vision for learning in the 21st century. Washington, DC: Society for College and University Planning. Doz, Y. L. & Hamel, G. (1998). Alliance advantage, the art of creating value through partnering. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. Ewell, P. T. (1995). (Ed.). Learner Tracking: New techniques, new demands. San Francisco, CA: Josey- Bass.
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