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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The academy in 2005-2015 : a web-based Delphi study Kennedy, Kathryn Anne


In just over a decade the growing use of information and communication technologies (ICT) has caused systemic change in business, communication and financial enterprises. National boundaries have become increasingly transparent and now ICT have the potential to alter higher education institutions dramatically. The purpose of this study was to solicit views from an international panel of experts who provide a broad look at the North American academy as it may be during 2005 to 2015. A distinguished panel forecasts the impact due to internal and external influences of ICT. The research is carried out using web-based Delphi procedures designed to solicit the opinions of three types of experts and determine the level of consensus among them on issues panelists raise about likely influences of ICT. Based on these data the study arrives at the panel's perspective of how higher education might be transformed because of these technologies and some conclusions are drawn. Scholars, educational administrators and ICT professionals, recruited globally, took part in three iterations of web-based Delphi questionnaires. Online feedback from Rounds 2 and 3 gives histograms showing the three subgroups' interquartiles, means, SDs and commentary. The analysis of Round 3 (N=54) is used in reporting results. Ninety-eight percent of the 85 items achieve consensus on importance and that outcomes are likely to occur before 2010 in North America. Consensus is achieved on the probability of 64 items (75 percent of total number of items); 9 of these items rate a low probability of occurrence. Areas of non-consensus are identified for further research. Fourteen themes emerge under three broad issues: Institutional, Faculty and Staff, and Educational. Web-based instruments were innovated for the research and are on the CD-ROM. According to this panel the academy will be markedly different during 2005 to 2015. Student populations will have expanded and changed, as will the faculty culture and professorial roles. Universities and colleges will reorganize in response to ICT as high quality, online education moves to the core of on-campus learning. A mixed-mode of face-to-face and online education is predicted as the distinctions between on- and off-campus education blur. Well-financed consortia of universities/corporations operating globally are forecast and will grow to dominate large sections of online education. By 2005 to 2015 the reputation of a university will have as much to do with the activities of its professors on the web as with scholarship, research and service on-campus.

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