Higher Education and ICT

Higher Education and ICT






Higher Education and ICT

Information and Communication Technologies, ICT, have paved way to a large number of vested interests especially in the fields of research and education. In the day to day activities, ICT is one aspect that has changed the way of life for individuals (Oliver, 2002, p. 1). According to Oliver, ICT over the past decades has caused a variety of breakthroughs in terms of medicine, education, business, banking and many other related fields. In the twenty first century, technology has improved education and how students carry out their daily learning activities. This paper analyzes the results of ICT in higher education and the outcome it would have in the next years to come.

The educational system has advanced in the contemporary society. Engaging both the students and teachers in learning, teaching and research is one way of monitoring progress (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 4). Technology is one area in the contemporary educational system, which has enabled student and teacher interaction in higher education (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 11). Teaching entails verbal communication between the student and teacher. In most cases, the student and teacher must come face to face with each other with the teacher engaging the students by means of verbal communication (JISC, 2008, p. 32). The use of chalks, textbooks and a blackboard were used in the traditional setup for education. Technological advancements in the ICT sector have made sure that the older teaching techniques have become replaced by the more modern first order changes (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 11). These changes are of great advantage because they tend not to alter the basic teaching premises but they improve the methods of teaching (JISC, 2008, p. 32).

Higher education institutions tend to use the first order changes in their teaching curriculum. Relaying of information to the students becomes easy because such technological tools including slides, motion pictures, and the use of projectors as well enable easy information acquisition (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 11). The use of a microphone during lectures has enabled ease during teaching hours (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 11). The large numbers of students in the institutes of higher education get to listen and conceptualize the information provided by the lecturer. Apart from the microphone, the use of advanced technologies such as computer scanners for recording of tests, and mimeographing equipment used to duplicate course materials have really enabled higher education faculties to capitalize on the economies of scale in classroom affairs (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 11).

In the past, quite a large number of higher institutes of education have had the misconception that the cost of facilitating education by means of using technologies would be much cheaper and would provide efficiencies and economies that would have a significant amount of reduced costs associated with delivering quality education (Oliver, 2002, p. 6). This in the real sense is not the case because the costs of education are quite high. These high costs are associated with developing high quality facilities and learning materials, which incorporate the use of advanced technology for the purpose of learning (Oliver, 2002, p. 6). The projected high costs of purchasing ICT in institutes of higher learning aims at reducing the ration between the students and teaching staff (Oliver, 2002, p. 6). Information and Communication Technologies, ICT, in higher institutes of learning have proven futile and quite expensive due to the high costs of expenditures used in the construction of infrastructure, course delivery and course development as well (Oliver, 2002, p. 6). Off campus learning when compared to higher education learning at the institutions tends to be more economical and according to Oliver (2006, p. 6),

“Every individual may have to embrace themselves for the benefits and affordances that will enable there to be an improvement especially in the quality of education being provided. This would improve education and at the same time increase the components of cost”

According to a report by Gilbert (1996), communications throughout the learning process has become quite extensive. This means that communication during lecture hours and outside lecture hours have become fortified through the use of telephones and postal services. The use of electronic mail services too has been on the forefront in increasing the frequency of altering the nature of lecturer to student communication (Gilbert, 1996). This form of communication is not restricted to official working hours instead it has been extended to function any time of the day. The use of Email is useful especially during certain periods where the face to face contact discussions are very minimal (Oliver, 2002, p. 6).

The new ICT developments in most cases extend beyond the traditional learning and teaching processes by means of incorporating new technologies that do not affect the normal classroom activities (JISC, 2008, p. 13). An example is where a student was capable of accessing school based records via traditional means but due to technological advancements, students are able to access the same school based materials online from various colleges and higher education institutions (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 11). Research has been enhanced by these developments thereby an increase in the expansion of accessing new forms of information. This also includes areas of investigating and possible research (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 11).

Most institutes of higher learning in America use advanced ICT as a means of student teacher interaction. In so doing, ICT has altered the geography of education (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 14). Students are able to study and acquire information from their lecturers even when they are quite far from the school compound. The communication becomes enhanced and more developed especially in the out of class scenario (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 14). Numerous campuses have outreach programs that provide a platform for social interaction with people even if their geographical location is not within the United States (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 14).

Due to ICT, most institutions of higher learning face the harsh reality of having out of date equipment and technological know-how in addressing learning. The huge investments incurred tend to put off these institutions and in the end the problem of undesirability becomes evident (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 23). Most acclaimed institutes of higher education in America for example Harvard went through the huge costs of purchasing advanced ICT for their students but with time, they managed to acquire state of the art equipment (Gumport, Chun, 1999, p. 11).

In conclusion, ICT has enabled the advancement of advanced technological know-how in the education society. More than half the students in higher institutes of learning interact widely by the use of ICT and in the process, improving their mode of communication. ICT on the other hand has made sure it addresses the issue of acquiring relevant information from the different sources and within the required period of time.


Gilbert, S. (1996). Making the Most of a Slow Revolution. Available at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/citedby/10.1080/00091383.1996.9937745#tabModule. (Accessed January 19, 2013).

Gumport, P. J. and Chun, M. (1999). Technology and Higher Education: Opportunities and Challenges for the New Era. Available at http://www.immagic.com/eLibrary/ARCHIVES/GENERAL/STANFORD/S000105G.pdf. (Accessed January 19, 2013).

JISC. (2008). Great expectations of ICT: How Higher Education institutions are measuring up. Available at http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/research/2008/greatexpectations.aspx. (Accessed January 19, 2013).

Oliver, R. (2002). The role of ICT in higher education for the 21st century: ICT as a change agent for education. Available at http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi= (Accessed January 19, 2013).