Budgets rise for high-tech learning

October 13, 1995

Rapid changes are taking place in United States colleges and universities, including a greater emphasis on student learning and more use of computer technology, according to the annual survey of campus trends.

Almost all campuses in the survey carried out by the American Council on Education, the umbrella group for higher education in the United States, said they were exploring new classroom uses of computers and other electronic equipment.

Two-thirds of all 407 higher education instititions in the survey increased their budgets for instructional technology in 1995. A third characterised their efforts to increase the use of computer technology as extensive. That included more use of commercial courseware and upgraded computer labs.

Many administrators reported that their institutions would be likely to offer more courses using electronic materials in the next five years, as well as more courses through distance learning, classroom assignments that are submitted electronically, and a computerized course registration system.

The survey also showed that the use of personal computers by academics and students had increased greatly. More than half the academics at eight in 10 institutions "routinely use" personal computers, as do more than a half the students at two-thirds of institutions.

"These trends suggest that many academic institutions have reached a critical 'take-off' stage electronically - one that could offer interesting payoffs for student learning," said Elaine El-Khawas, vice president for policy analysis and research at ACE.

Campus Trends 1995, $13, from American Council on Education, Department 36, Washington DC 20055-0036.

Meanwhile, the Lycos World Wide Web catalogue, until recently based at Carnegie Mellon University, is offering a free link back to Web sites. Users who access the Lycos search engine from a linked page will have results returned with a graphic link back to the page they queried from.

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