Distance education: Has technology become a threat to the academy?

Presidential Address


Recent discussions regarding technology-assisted distance education have given rise both to enthusiastic predictions about how this form of instruction will transform higher educational institutions and to widespread fears about the threats that this technology poses to the student-teacher relationship and to the profession of university teacher in general. A review of opinions regarding distance education and computer technology in academia suggests a continuum of positions, ranging from the expectation that dramatic and even cataclysmic changes will lead to the eventual dissolution of the university to an envisioning of only minor changes in the academy’s objectives and methods. In the present paper, this continuum is used as an organizing scheme to present the positions of several well-known advocates for and against the use of distance education and information technology. It is argued that the accreditation process will ultimately determine the degree to which distance education replaces traditional classroom instruction and that this process can be influenced by faculty involvement in decisions about the use of technology in the classroom.


Faculty Member Behavior Research Method Distance Education Distance Learning Knowledge Industry 
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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WisconsinWhitewater

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