COL believes that technology-mediated teaching and learning can transform lives, making access to education available to anyone, anytime, anywhere. However, the choice of technology must depend on whether it is appropriate, available and affordable. Technology by itself cannot be a panacea for all that ails higher education today but must be placed in an appropriate social, cultural and political context.
Colleges and universities have usually been quick to adopt new technologies, often even before their educational value has been established. Throughout its history, higher education has experimented with technological advances as varied as the blackboard and the personal computer. Some technologies have become permanent parts of the higher education enterprise.
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, new and speedily improving technologies are in the process of transforming higher education. Each year since 1994, the Campus Computing Survey has shown increased use in college classrooms of technology-dependent resources such as e-mail, the Internet, course web pages, and computer simulations. Technology has the potential to revolutionize the traditional teaching and learning process. It can eliminate the barriers to education imposed by space and time and dramatically expand access to lifelong learning.
Technology can also help to make education a much more interactive and collaborative process. Email, course-based websites, and computer-based chat rooms are some of the technology-enabled resources that facilitate communication and teamwork among students. As more countries achieve universal secondary education, the demand for higher education will continue to escalate. Brick and mortar institutions will not be able to absorb the surging demand. Alternative options will be required and technology will play a significant role in enabling institutions to expand.