Utilizing Disruptive Technologies in the University:

Confessions of an Agent Provocateur


Terry Anderson, Ph.D.

Academic Technologies for Learning

University of Alberta, Canada




Abstract: This paper overviews the programming and facilities at a large research University that is designed to assist faculty in maximizing their effective use of educational technologies. Different programs developed by a university-wide "new media center" are described and critiqued. The paper overviews the challenges that the University has in utilizing "disruptive technologies" and in developing models of enhanced teaching and learning that are cost and learning effective.





This paper overviews the experiences and reflections of one employed by a major  research university as a change agent, tasked with making sure the University does something about all this "education technology and distance education stuff"! In 1994 I was hired as one faculty member in a University with over 1800 full-time tenure-track academics charged to "change the world" - my only weapon a "title" - I was the Alternative Delivery Specialist. Fortunately, no one in 1994, nor today, knew what an alternative delivery specialist is supposed to do, leaving me with much freedom. In fact, the only ones who seemed to have a clear conception of what an alternative delivery specialist was, were obstetricians in the Faculty of Medicine who thought I represented yet another brand of mid-wife attempting to usurp their monopoly in the child birth business.

Five years later, some progress has been made and the sky has not fallen, the University has not gone bankrupt, has not been deserted by students, nor has it replaced all the instructors with teaching bots. Yet it is paradoxical that, as organizations based in information and knowledge acquisition and development, universities have not flourished in the so-called  Age of Information. In fact I hear as much doom and gloom and regrets for the passing of the good old days as I hear optimistic excitement about the opportunities available to us at the start of a new millennium.

                Why have information and communications technologies had so little impact on teaching and learning within the mainstream university? I believe that this is the case because, unlike the sustaining technologies used to support and enhance the research and administrative components of the University, instructional technologies are disruptive to the current culture and economics of higher education. Therefore, I believe that divergent strategies must be employed to ensure that the University adopts and exploits not only the sustaining  technologies that will help us improve on our present practices, but also the disruptive technologies that will move us forward into the emerging new paradigm of instruction and learning in higher education.

In this paper I will trace the development of programs and staffing in a university "new media center"  (http://www.atl.ualberta.ca) and try to identify those factors in programming that succeed in enticing faculty and administration to make both adaptive and proactive changes. Finally, I'll suggest strategies and means by which the central core of the academic community can be induced to use information and technology tools to protect and advance the fundamental values of the academic community.


Context and Challenges


                Reid (1997) situates in time the information and communications context in which we live. Although universities were in the forefront of development of the Net in the "before commercialization"  and "novelty” stages, we have been relatively less active as a presence in the “utility” stage and will be even less conspicuous in the “ubiquity” phase as commercial and public entertainment uses far eclipse  our development and application endeavors on the Net. We are great inventors and tinkerers; our challenge is to leverage this tinkering into the core business of our academy. Greg Baroni, manager of KPMG's global education practice, states that "Universities are sitting at the gateway of the knowledge economy. The question is, will they leverage their intellectual capital or become a vestige of the past, talking about the way things used to be?" (from Woody,1998). There are many who think we do not have the drive, speed, or determination to recreate ourselves for a networked learning environment. I disagree.  While we have many barriers to overcome, there are options open to us through which we can leverage and support our institutions and our faculty to overcome these barriers.

The list of challenges and threats to the modern University is large and growing -more students, widening disparity in prerequisite training and skills, increased demands for access and lifelong learning, increasing expectations from business, higher government expectations of reduced operating costs, productivity gaps - the list goes on and on. It has become apparent that the University cannot be all things to all people. Vest 1995 quotes an American university president's description of the modern research university as " Overextended, Under-focused; Overstressed, Under-funded " (Vest, in Clark 1995.p.146). These pressures result in a shortage of qualified academics willing to take on the challenge of leading our institutions at a time when that leadership is most needed, a tendency to develop a siege mentality, and a search for a technological quick fix to solve our complex problems.

                When I talk to my colleagues on campus I have learned to expunge from my vocabulary words like market-share, customer and of course the profit word. But I hope you'll allow me to describe the market context for universities in Alberta, and, I suspect, similar market contexts in most of North America. In Alberta last year there was an increase of 4.8% in full-time undergraduate enrollments - and an increase of 10.3 % part time enrollments (Statistics Canada, Center for Educational Statistics, Nov. 10, 1998). Among the G8 industrialized countries, Canada enrolls the highest percentage of its citizens in higher education  We  have obviously moved from systems designed for the elite to mass systems of higher education for life-long learners.

                In the USA, Clifford Aelman (1999) develops scenarios based upon increased numbers of high school graduates, increasing numbers of older, part time students, and increased participation by traditionally disadvantaged population groups, all of which translate to an increase in enrolment of between 23% and 40% during the next decade.

                Our context, then, is not one of a great threat of having no students at the front door - quite the opposite, they will be lined up beating on that door.  Our challenge is, while helping our institutions to increase capacity using traditional on-campus delivery systems, to get them to pay attention to opportunities to increase capacity through development of non-traditional and off campus programming. Why worry about students struggling to get in at the back door, when there are line ups at the front door?

                A critical accomplishment of my first year at the University was the initial funding to establish a multi-media production studio. This facility was designed to assist faculty in developing innovative, technology based enhancements to their teaching. (see http://www.atl.ualberta.ca/). It soon became apparent that we needed to develop a set of pedagogical, economic and technical models to guide the development of educational content and professional development programming in our unit..



Models of Courseware Development


There are at least 3 theories of educational software production. The first I'll call the "drop off your ideas and come back in a few months and pick up the CD" model. In this model academics are used as subject matter experts and the school or business lines up a team of experts including instructional designers, graphic artists, video producers and programmers.  This is a model that commercial software houses use and with very few exceptions have been losing money at for the past 5 years.  The production quality is generally excellent, some have even paid attention to pedagogical principles and to interface design. What the model fails to address is the customer - in this case the busy faculty member with the power to assign the purchase of the product to hundreds of undergraduates. This model strives to create such superior product that faculty will be compelled to assign it as compulsory tool in every class. But it doesn't address the  issues of trailability, observability, and compatibility that are critical to adoption of any innovation (Rogers, 1995). How are professors to use a $80.00 CD when they already have a good text book, their lab or seminar topics all mapped out, and a niggling fear that if they do assign the CD only a handful of students will actually purchase it and worse maybe they will decide not to come to the lectures.

                The second model was labeled by my friend Tony Bates from the University of British Columbia as the "Lone Ranger and Tonto" model. In this model a single faculty member, with a trusty graduate student, embarks solo on the development task. Single handedly, they master not only the content and instructional design of the discipline, but also the complete production process, including sales, marketing, finance and eventual retirement to a condo in Maui.  We've played with this model and had some limited success. One faculty member developed a CD of rotateable, high resolution images of his mineral collection, which allows students to zoom in examine a host of minerals without having to touch or even breath on his lifelong rock collection. Unfortunately, he hasn't got the cash for the condo, yet as every potential publisher I introduce to him, walks away with at least an order of magnitude difference in assessment of the appropriate amount of royalty payments that should flow to the professor.  Another relative success (morally if not economically) is the Healthy Student Shareware collection that we've developed. This is a serious of seven Authorware based tutorials on issues such as managing Stress, Nutrition, Booze and sexually transmitted diseases. We've installed these programs in kiosks around campus and given them away via FTP all across the world. This model can work, but requires a commitment, skill set and entrepreneurial bent that is only rarely found among academics.

                The third model I'll call the "teach 'em to fish model" in which instructional and technical experts guide and assist faculty members with the special skills needed and through a scaffolding and training model, help faculty to create and maintain their own teaching resources. We implement this model through an annual competition for seats in our production studio. We pay for full course release for a faculty members and "immerse" them in the collaborative production of HTML, instructional design, www sites, Authorware tutorials, problem based learning scenarios and other innovative instructional approaches. We continue this program today because we see this as a necessary, long-term investment in our faculty. 

                Besides these differing models of content development, we’ve also developed various professional development programs during the past 5 years which I will classify according to those that have worked, those that have not and those we're not sure about.



Initiatives That Work


Partners Program This is our full teaching release, "come live in the production center" model of faculty development. The opportunity to work along side skilled peers and professional developers for an extended period of time is one of the few ways that we have seen truly transformative change in approaches to teaching and learning among our faculty. Although we realize that the long term answer to faculty empowerment, lies in the use and development of these tools, not in central development centers, but in the faculties, we also realize the benefits of immersion in a community of developers and the older tradition of providing a sanctuary for academics to develop their best work.

                Training, Infrastructure and Empowerment System (TIES): Mike Szabo has led a two year project at our university that empowers task forces at the department level to create a vision and skillfully chart a plan of action for their faculty, while engaged in a learning process focussed not only on technical skill development, but also on the critical skills of change management

(see http://www.quasar.ualberta.ca/DRMIKE/ties.html). Since the real business of the University -teaching and research happens at the departmental level, it is here that real change and innovation must be embraced. If the department based units ignore or oppose innovative developments then life at the University proceeds un-affected. "For change to take hold, one department and faculty after another needs itself to become an entrepreneurial unit, reaching more strongly to the outside with new programs and relationships and promoting third-stream incomes" (Clark,1997.p.7)

                Decentralized, Discipline Related Support Centers:  The support of faculty based development and support centers is a challenging task for the director of a centrally funded unit. However, I think the change process is so large, so complicated and in many ways specific to the context of the discipline that it is only when individual departments and faculties grapple with the issues themselves that real change happens. Our challenge is developing a central unit that coordinates, trains, and communicates amongst these units and maintains very specialized tools and expertise that can be used cost effectively to support these distributed development centers.

                Student Guides And Tech Helpers: I don't think we have been as successful as we could have been in employing students as technical assistants, but I agree with Steve Gilbert (Gilbert, 1997) who writes that one of the few economical solutions to the "crisis of support" in technology assisted higher learning is in mobilizing our student body to provide assistance not only to other students but to faculty as well.

                Pushed Mailing lists: The single most effective tool we have developed to engage and inform faculty has been our unmoderated Majordomo discussion list. We now have over 500 faculty on ATLNet, providing a forum for not only announcements but also for healthy debate and discussion.  I've learned many lessons through management of this list including the need to limit membership to our faculty, to archive messages in WWW format (http://www.ualberta.ca/htbin/lwgate/atlnet/archives/) and unobtrusively regulate the traffic so as to reduce superfluous messages.



Things That Didn't Work Very Well

High Cost, Full Scale, Commercial Multimedia Content Development: We are in the midst of a very large scale multimedia development that is excellent technical and pedagogical product. However, I find it difficult to rationalize the inordinate amount of support that is required to sustain these developments. We have not been as successful as I would have liked in attracting support of major publishing houses. Despite Bill Gates assertion that "content is king" the core business of the University is in creating the context for learning, not in sustaining high risk, large scale content development. There may be "big money" in this type of development in the future, but it is too much like buying lottery tickets as a retirement planning scheme for my liking.

                Lone Ranger Production Of Multi-Media Content: As I mentioned, we have had some pretty spectacular results from talented lone rangers (for example David Miall’s excellent CD-ROM on Romanticism http://www.ualberta.ca/~dmiall/ROMCDINF.HTM) but this is  model that only supports the early adopters, and we are after much more profound change within the academy then can be engineered through the heroic efforts of individual faculty members.

                On-Going Professional Development Computer Conferences: I like computer conferencing for courses and short term virtual conferences, in fact I lay modest claim to having organized the first international virtual conference organized on the Internet in 1992 (Anderson and Mason,1994). However, the medium is inherently a pull technology, that relies on busy academics to make a special effort to adapt to and frequently logon to another environment. Our conferencing system, is full of conferences that petered out days or weeks after the enthusiastic startup by our training or development groups.

                Production Of Print Based "Training Manuals": We joined in a consortium to produce a series of 27 training manuals for faculty development

http://www.gmcc.ab.ca/users/imd/etpdp/sample/programmap.htm. The quality was high, the format professional - but our faculty just wasn’t interested. We're now converting them to WWW however I still don't expect faculty to systematically go through the materials. At least on the WWW they will be available "just in time".

                Individual Faculty Member Based Distance Education Initiatives I know this will sound very naive to distance educators, but in our desire to support the innovation of individual faculty, we have sometimes funded development of projects that died instantly when the individual faculty member got tired, retired, relocated or died. Education, and especially that designed for distance delivery requires a support system, starting at the chair and dean and moving right through to the registrar and all the way to the janitorial staff.

Forced Change: Ever tried to herd 3 cats - how about 1800?  Enough said.



Ones I'm Not Sure About


Large Volume, Scattergun Staff Training Programs  During the past term  our staff hosted a training or professional development event every day (see http://www.atl.ualberta.ca/training/ ) Some were well attended, some weren't. We succeeded in burning out some staff members, attracting many of the same faces day after day, but made progress towards eliminating the two of the top eight barriers to adoption identified by faculty in our campus needs assessment survey (Anderson, Varnhagen and Campbell, 1998) – those being related to lack of knowledge  and exposure to new instructional technologies.

                WWW Contests  We have run contests for the best web supported courses in a variety of categories during the past two years (see http://www.atl.ualberta.ca/cyc/home.cfm). We had over 70 entrants this year and gave away $8,000 in prizes, but I think we intimidated the majority faculty leaving the spoils of victory exclusively to the early adopters - no longer our major target group.

                Strategic Planning And Long Term Technology Integration Plans  I've spent far too many meetings this past year working on university and departmental Technology Integration Plans. I find it very difficult to develop plans that do not result in requests to the president for funding an order of magnitude or two above the capacity of the institution - thus creating documents with high potential for dust gathering. However, I remain convinced that planning that supports and allows for innovation is of critical importance to the evolving University. 

                I've tried to outline the challenges and accomplishments and failures of the past 5 years at our University and hope that you can draw some reflective parallels to your own context. I invite you to check out the URLs above to investigate any of these innovations in greater detail. I'd like to turn now to a bit more philosophical analysis of the change process.



The Teaching Professional


Many of you have probably read the article Digital Diploma Mills by David Noble (another powerful writer and Canadian scholar and academic most definitely, not in the tradition of Marshall McLuhan). Noble and others neo-Luddites lament the "commodification of knowledge" the displacement of control and ownership of intellectual property coupled with a supposed de-professionalism of academics as teachers.  I'll return to the issue of economics later, but let me comment on academics as professional teachers.  I'm not sure who first coined the axiom that "any teacher who can be replaced by a machine should be" but let me tell you that such cliches do not go over well in our Faculty Club. Many see machines as de-skilling professors and as I mentioned leading to the de-professionalisation of academics. What does it mean to be a professional? Applebaum & Lawton (1990) define a profession as having the following characteristics:

¨       Organized to serve a specialized body of knowledge in the interests of society

¨       A set of skills proficiencies, techniques and competencies

¨       Standards of excellence, self regulation, training of new members

¨       Established means of professional communications (journals and meetings)


Are professors at institutions of higher education professional teachers? Do professors at research universities maintain a "specialized body of knowledge in the interests of society" Of course they do, but it is the knowledge of a discipline, of research, of knowledge creation, it is not a specialized knowledge of teaching and learning. Do we have standards of excellence, training of new members, established means of professional communications? Again certainly within the discipline, but not with the profession of teaching.

I challenge you to undertake a piece of research when you get back to your campus.  Go to your library catalog and do a search within any of the subject matter domains. Search for those periodicals, journals, meetings notes, training manuals or any other documentation supporting the development and growth, not of research within the discipline, but of research relating to the teaching of that discipline.

                Let me tell you what I found from researching our own Faculty of Engineering, which is arguably one of Canada's finest faculties - based upon reputation, awards and success of graduates. This faculty has over 190 tenure or tenure track academics and over 4,000 students at undergraduate and graduate levels.  I looked up how many Journals or periodicals we subscribed to that focused on the science, specialized knowledge, self regulation or training of faculty to the profession of engineering teachers.  I found that there is a listing for Engineering  Education the Journal of the American Society for Engineering Education. We have some volumes going back to 1898 in our holdings, but we dropped our subscription in 1991! We also have a few old volumes of the European Journal of Engineering Education but dropped the subscription in 1991 as well. Let's put this in perspective. Our same library catalog lists 207 periodical publications under chemical engineering and even 24 periodical titles under "low-temperature engineering". I realize that living in Northern Canada might justify a special interest in low-temperature engineering. But we  subscribe to 24 periodicals on low-temperature engineering and not a single active subscription to the core business of the Engineering faculty - that of teaching and promoting learning - hardly professional.

                What do I conclude? There is absolutely no danger, as Noble and others claim, that technology will deprofessionalize our teaching faculty. The fact is they are not professional teachers and probably never have been- professional researchers, scientists yes - but teachers no.

                So what you might ask? It is interesting that Phoenix University, the fastest growing and I believe first University to be publicly traded on the Nasdec exchange, with 1997 profits to share holders of $33 million, boasts that none of their faculty (99.4% of whom are part time adjunct) are professional researchers - they are trained, guided and evaluated as professional teachers (Winston, 1999, p. 13). We boast that over 90% of our teaching are full time academics and researchers. Somewhat of a disconnect, I would say. Many of my colleagues argue that a research university doesn't need to worry about this, in that we focus on research, which defines our market niche. We are finding now in international education that we are competing with real professional teachers and researchers and I fear that our ability to compete will be compromised unless we find ways of rewarding faculty, within the research university, for expending the necessary energy and time to development excellence as professional teachers. Murry Turoff, one of the earliest developers of on-line courses,  makes the case that ""Competition in education on an international and national basis will become the principle determinant of the success or failure of institutions in the next decade" (Turoff, 1999 p.30)

                Why is it so difficult for us to embrace the technologies that are specifically designed to aid the core business of our Universities in teaching and learning? A key to understanding this is to differentiate these technologies between those that are sustaining and those that are disruptive of the social context in which our institutions were conceived and have evolved. 


DISRUPTIVE AND SUSTAINING TECHNOLOGIES from (Archer, Garrison and Anderson, in press)

Universities currently enjoy a dominant position in the post-secondary education “industry.”  However, this “industry” is entering a period of rapid technological change – the sort of period in which the leading firms in an industry may rather suddenly be eclipsed by new players.  In other words, the next few years could see a sudden change for the worse in universities’ position in an educational marketplace being transformed by new technologies. 

According to Christensen (1997), the main reason that successful and apparently well run organizations can and do flounder is that they fail to recognize the distinction between sustaining technologies and disruptive technologies.  Sustaining technologies are those that improve the performance of established products.  They are often developed by successful companies, the leaders in their fields, for and in close collaboration with their most important and lucrative clients.  In other words, failures are often the result of successful firms’ following the commendable business practice of listening closely to their customers. 

In contrast to sustaining technologies, which improve the performance of established products, disruptive technologies often result in worse product performance in the mainstream market, at least in the short run. But they have other features that fringe (and generally new) customers value.  Products based on disruptive technologies are typically cheaper, simpler, smaller, and, frequently, more convenient to use.” Christensen, (p. xv) Generally disruptive technology based delivery systems are used to address new types or sectors of learners. Often professional development groups, or students not generally in a position to take advantage of residence based courses.

                The innovator’s task is to ensure that this innovation – the disruptive technology that doesn’t make sense – is taken seriously within the company without putting at risk the needs of present customers who provide profit and growth. (p. xxiv) This requires that the development of niche markets that are protected from the demands and constraints of the main business activity of the day. It also requires a research and development capacity within the organization that can test, fail and recover very quickly from experimentation with the disruptive technology in small scale, but exemplar

                So how should one direct the development focus and energy of a modern research university? In an interesting paper, Dan Surry (1997), differentiates between developers with a determinist philosophy related to technology and those who view development from an instrumentalist lens (Table 1.). Determin-istic developers are convinced that technological change is inevitable and driven by the superior product and process that results in education from the use of new technologies.  They focus on the product itself, seeking the "killer ap" that either increases speed, effectiveness or efficiency of the teaching/learning process.  They see institutions as largely disorganized  and ill-structured obstacles to the types of supportive environments necessary for faculty to develop and use technologies effectively. They seek to minimize the deterious effects of the context so as to allow the inherent technological superiority of the product to manifest itself.



Systematic Change


Product Utilization





Focus on the structure and establishment of a effective organizational framework

Focus on process of designing  developing, and evaluating effective instructional products.



Focus on the social, political and professional environment in specific organizations

Focus on the needs and opinions of potential adopters and characteristics of the adoption site.



Table 1. Overview of Instructional Technology Diffusion Theories showing diffusion goal and philosophical view. From Surry (1997)


                Instrumentalist developers on the other hand are philosophically focussed not on the technology, but rather on an analysis of the needs, opinions, characteristics of the actors within the adoption site.  To instrumentalist agents, the power, advantage and efficacy of the tool is of much less importance than the match between the tool and the context within which it must operate. These developers realize that there are many innovations that will not and cannot succeed within the context because of the inherent conflict between attributes of the innovation and the environment in which they must operate. The long history of educational technology that have not been adopted convinces me that an instrumentalist approach is the one most likely to lead to systematic change.

                Where we have failed to date in our attempt to develop a successful dynamist culture, within the academy, is not in constraining the freedom of faculty members to set their own teaching agendas, nor is it in actively discouraging innovation and adoption. Where we fail is in developing a culture that supports a ruthless evolutionary cultural of survivalism. Effective innovations are allowed to grow, but so are the ineffective. We have no "bottom line" to easily measure our quarterly performance and we steadfastly refuse to put our best minds towards the task of developing means and measures to evaluate the impact of our innovation on teaching and learning. This is a problem for both traditional and technology enhanced instruction. David Noble (1998) asks "if students are taking courses which are just experiments, and hence of unproven pedagogical value, should students be paying full tuition for them"? I would ask with equal stridency, “if students are taking course to which no empirical evaluation in regards to teaching or learning efficacy, nor any corporate or individual effort is expanded on research, development or enhancement of pedagogy, relevance or applicability has been undertaken for the past century, should they be paying full tuition either? Our challenge is to enhance our evaluation models and plans with every project so that if we fail - we do so cheaply and quickly. If we succeed, we can document the context and actions that precipitated that success.  



More With More Model


All of this is background to my concluding remarks about how technology fits into the mix. The way it does not fit seems to be the way technology is advocated on many of our campuses - I call it the "More With More Model". It generally works as follows. Early adopters, visionaries, and missionaries like myself, plead with central administrators to give us more money, more technology, more teaching release time, more professional development, more student assistants, more technicians, more 'smart classrooms' and more tools and in return we will promise to deliver more high quality and more accessible education. 

                The University of Alberta currently spends over $1 million a year on our 30 public computer labs on campus and is still not meeting the demand for ubiquitous student access. We have a proposal before us to increase the number of smart classrooms on campus from 20 to 70 and keep them "evergreen" at a cost of $2million per year. However, 70 smart classrooms on our campus will hardly meet the ever increasing desire of our teaching staff to use even simple tools like Powerpoint presentations. Clearly, the current funding structure and model of teaching will not sustain a strategy based upon "more with more".

                Polley McClure from the University of Virginnia published a simple formula to help us connect these variables. She notes that Productivity is a product of the amount of Learning and Access to the instruction, divided by the Cost to provide this education. P =(LXA)/C. The More with More model addresses only the Learning and increases the Cost. But in the end P, the productivity is constant or more likely to go down, unless we can very clearly demonstrate enhanced learning outcomes due to the use of technology. I believe that we will see very significant increases in learning, but they will be slow in arriving. Further, Thomas Russel shows us with the No Significant Difference site, http://teleeducation.nb.ca/nosignificantdifference/ that there are no guarantees that the use of any mediated form of delivery will, by itself, increase learning. The distributed nature of much networked based learning, begins to provide a small light at the end of the tunnel. Note that in the formula access is multiplied by learning - thus the effort in enhancing technology through distribution of our programming to new audiences through distributed education and by providing time shifted alternatives for on-campus students provide a means to improve upon the "more with more" model. To achieve the goal of increasing learning opportunities while containing costs, we have to be able to change major components of our teaching programs. We need to be able to develop appropriate combinations of independent study formats, industrialized learning systems and intense personal learning communities using both face-to-face and mediated instructional environments. The correct combination considers student learning and faculty teaching needs, but also is formulated with the costs and benefits of each adaptation are calculated as precisely as possible.





Universities cannot and should not extradite themselves from the rich political and social history nor from the rich cultural heritage of scholarship that we carry forward through the centuries. But neither have we the right, nor the means, to freeze the evolution of our institutions of higher learning. We are called as scientists, thinkers and teachers to empirically and philosophically test our assumptions and practice against the goals so nobly enshrined in our Latin mottoes and celebrated in the eye of our students and supporters.

                We need to challenge our colleagues not in the techno-Babel of machine features or attributes that are outside of their perceived need or vocabulary. Rather we must challenge our colleagues and administration in the language of scholarship - of testing hypothesis, critically evaluating claims, substantiating our hunches and debating not only the results but also the costs of our innovations. We also need to seriously examine the values and commitments that should be driving us in a relentless search for better ways to teach and learn.  These are lofty goals. Goals that will ensure the survival of the academy in a form that embraces any tool that provides long term assistance in the task of creating human beings wise enough to warrant the stewardship of this planet.

                Posterel (1998) celebrates the freedom, the invigoration and motivation in play. And I'll conclude with a call for celebration of the opportunity provided to us to play in the emerging field of educational technology.  My time as a change agent has been marked by a few successes, a number of things that might have happened, but didn't, and a growing list of things I really do want to get at. We are challenged by the opportunity to play in this field that is redefining the university but also the lives of each of us lucky enough to be actors on this stage. We are each entrusted with the honor and responsibility of carrying forward the traditions of scholarship, inquiry, reflection and teaching into the next century.





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