Strategies for ICT in Higher Institutions
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Higher Education Consultation in Technologies of Information and Communication (HECTIC) was set up following discussions between the European Commission and organisations representing higher education in Europe.
The aim of the process is to achieve an effective dialogue between the activities in eLearning which are now developing within higher education in Europe and the policy initiatives of the EC. Developments in eLearning are occurring very rapidly, which makes it essential (while simultaneously also difficult) that policy formation looks ahead 5 or 10 years. In looking ahead it is also important to take into account that universities are subject to pressures to change from a number of factors in addition to ICT developments.
Universities have probably never been subject to such rapid change as at present, as they adapt to the creation of knowledge-based economies operating globally. They are now expected to contribute to society in many ways:
1. Mass higher education and wider access
2. Lifelong learning (especially continuing professional development)
3. Applied research, both technological and social
4. Direct economic impact, especially local
5. Improving social inclusion
The impact of ICTs on higher education has been considerable, but also very diverse in its effects, with considerable variation between individual institutions in the use that they have made of the technologies. There has been extensive experimentation in a range of applications, but rarely has an institution developed a coherent overall strategy for ICTs, at least in teaching and learning. Much of the activity has been bottom up, arising from the efforts of groups of enthusiasts. Of course there are some institutions which have had, from an early stage, a clear strategy for the use of ICTs, most notably in those organisations which have been set up de novo to take advantage of the new technologies. But the assessment that the process is largely bottom-up applies to most traditional, campus-based universities.