Volume 3 No.3, Fall 1999

ISSN# 1523-9926

Changing with Technology:

A look at the impact of change on technical education

Henry Kraebber, P.E.
Purdue University
School of Technology

The one thing we can count on in the future is continual technological change.  This paper looks at the changes in technology education and teaching related to the age of industry and invention.  The growth of industry forced changes in curriculum and teaching methods.  The challenges facing education in the pas are much the same as today; to prepare graduates to enter the workforce, to think critically, to solve problems and to encourage lifelong learning.  Critical issues of the past remain important today; how to keep faculty current, how to acquire needed resources, how to provide practical “hands on” experience, and how to best blend research and teaching.  The information age has led to the use of computers in the laboratory, as an aid to teaching, and also led to the development of new multi-media systems.  The new technology has placed new requirements on faculty members, but the overall objectives of technical education remain the same.  The rate of change may be faster now, but continues to drive educators as it has for years.  Technological change will continue in the future.  Understanding the past can help educators deal with change. 

A Johns Hopkins University Professor in 1885 remarked, "…as the region of the unknown is infinitely greater than the known, there is no fear of there not being enough work for the whole world for centuries to come.  …the telephone, the telegraph, and electric lighting, are but as child's play to what the world will see."  [Rudolph, p.274]  


Educators have been continually faced with change driven by new technology.  This paper addresses the issue of technology changes and how they have impacted educators past and present.  The details of the technology are much different, yet with all the difference the changes may best be described as evolutionary. The evolution became quite visible during the American industrial revolution in the late 19th century.  We can see changes that are the result of new discoveries and inventions that have led to products and ideas that continue to evolve today.  Change is truly on going, and we can expect it to continue and accelerate as we move into the future.  We will continue to be challenged to deal with change just as all educators have throughout the industrial age and into the information age.



Perhaps the best way to start is to look back at the history with a concentration on the changes taking place during the exciting period of invention and discovery following the Civil War and into the early 20th century.  Here we will see the foundations of technology and change that are the basis for technology today.  

Several areas of discovery led to inventions that supported the new industrial age.  These key areas include the development of effective steam power, the development of applications and distribution systems for electricity, discovery of new materials, the rapid growth in communications technology from the telephone to wireless, and technology that produced new forms of graphic images.   

A wonderful book from the National Geographic Society provides an interesting look at some of the inventions and discoveries that came to power the industrial revolution and drive change to the colleges and universities.  Steam continued to be a prime power source on the farm, rivers and rails of the United States through the early 1900s.  “At the turn of the century, a new engine, the steam turbine, sparked the age of the ocean liner.”  In 1897, for example, the ship Turbinia was powered by a turbo-charged engine putting out 2,000 horsepower and producing a top speed of 35 knots.  In the fall of 1879, Edison discovered that a charred cotton thread could become the filament in an electric lamp that could glow for over 13 hours.  It took several more years to perfect the basic electrical service needed to open the age of electricity.  In 1900 over 24 million electric lights were in use.  Nikola Tesla made long distance transmission of electric power possible with his invention of a system for producing and distributing alternating current.  Tesla, not Edison opened the age of electric light.  “In 1898 he exhibited radio-controlled model boats and torpedoes.  His experiments also anticipated radar, X-rays, solar power and the atom smasher.”  Alexander Graham Bell won the most lucrative patent ever for the telephone in March of 1876.  Henry Ford completed his first car in June of 1896.  The Model T was born in 1908 and by 1927 the 15 Millionth “T” rolled off the assembly line. [National Geographic, 1988]

The magic of wireless communication became apparent as a result of the experiments of Guglielmo Marconi.  Marconi sent a signal across the Bristol Channel, a distance of about 9 miles, in 1897.  In 1899 he sent a signal 28 miles across the English Channel.  In his greatest accomplishment, a signal was sent across the Atlantic Ocean, about 2100 miles, late in 1901. [Karwatka, 1999]

The United States entered into a period of rapid change and expansion following the Civil War.  There was a continuing dissatisfaction with classical education that came with a new enthusiasm for science.  The public was demanding education that went beyond the classics and into the practical and applied sciences. 

The middle class was growing and continuing to change.  More and more people were going to college to become accountants, educators, engineers, librarians, psychologists, physicians, and civil servants.  The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute catalog for the 1864-65 academic year included recommendations for practical “student furnishings” including drawing instruments, chemical instruments, text books and stationery, and to “provide them selves with a suit of heavy and substantial clothing, boots, etc. for field service and botanical and geological excursions.”  At Michigan State University in 1884, men and women studied engineering as a part of the agriculture course.  They took courses in mechanics, civil engineering, machinery, mechanical drawing, surveying and leveling. [Grayson, 1993] 

Reuben reports that Frederick A. Barnhard, President of Columbia University, wrote in 1866:  "…with the advancement of human knowledge and the growing diversity of the arts of civilized life new fields are opening and new wants springing up which imperatively demand the creation of new agencies."  Barnard argued that university reform was unavoidable.  If colleges did not change to meet social needs. They would simply die, and the early part of the 19th century produced a flurry of school start-ups and closings.  

The sentiments of Barnhard were echoed by the leaders of other reforming institutions including: Charles W. Elliot of Harvard, Daniel C. Gilman of Johns Hopkins, Andrew D. White of Cornell and James B Angell of the University of Michigan.   All pressed for the growth of modern and practical subjects, particularly the natural sciences, and the expansion of advanced instruction. The university reformers began to emphasize the importance of training students to think scientifically.  [Reuben, 1996] 

The growth of laboratory based instruction:  The leading scientists believed that the only adequate way to teach science was through laboratory work.  Science educators convinced the universities of the importance of providing adequate laboratory facilities.  Johns Hopkins, for example, became noted for its investment in research facilities for its faculty and students.   Reuben cites botanist John Coulter as stating, "The laboratory method means that the old recitation, which was the retailing of second-hand information as to facts, and second-hand opinions concerning them, has given place to the direct observation of facts and the expression of individual opinion concerning their significance.  As a result, students are sought to be made thinking rather than memorizing machines, with the intuitive power developed rather than the imitative."  After the Civil War…  the leading universities all adopted laboratory methods.  Angell of Michigan noted in 1888 that "the method of scientific instruction has been entirely revolutionized.  In the last half of the century, no more important step in education has been taken than in the universal introduction of the laboratory methods in the sciences."  [Reuben, 1996] 

A new concept of higher education in America forced the curriculum to grow to take in new subjects.  Subjects were added to provide higher education and training for the industrial classes.   The new higher education addressed the needs of a previously neglected clientele.  Universities were formed to educate the 'industrial classes' in ways that were 'liberal' and 'practical', and for the 'professions'.  The educational mission was to include topics related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, and what was practical and new.  Field work, observation and laboratory experiments became recognized tools of the new education.  [Johnson, 1998]  

Engineering and technical schools were busy trying to keep up with the new discoveries and the rapidly changing technology that came with them. The internal combustion engine, the spark-ignition engine, steam turbine, electric generator, electric motor, storage battery, voltage transformer, incandescent lamp, phonograph, and telephone were all invented during the last quarter of the 19th century. The technological revolution in the early 20th century continued to force change on our colleges and universities. The growth was extraordinary and seems to be similar to the type of growth and change we are seeing today.  By 1914 there were 10 million telephones in the United States.  500,000 phonographs were sold in 1914, and in just six more years 100 million have been produced. [Grayson, 1993]    The invention of calculating machines, telephones, and typewriters drove significant change into the classroom as well as the home and factory. 

Photo from Grayson, 1993

 The changing purpose of a college education began to lead to changes in the approach to teaching.  The German approach of connecting original research and graduate study along with its methods of science was the model that was adopted.”  Lectures with demonstrations were an important teaching technique at the turn of the century.  Professors typically handled all the instruction. [Grayson, 1993]   The techniques of lectures supplemented with classroom demonstrations were as popular in the 1920s as they are today. The history shows students across the country were being taught using industrial-grade equipment, a trend that continues at many schools today.   

"The laboratory method is now so widely accepted as necessary for scientific education…   there is evidence that laboratory instruction can be educational."  (even though the demonstration may not achieve its full potential…)  "Laboratory teaching assumes that first-hand experience in observation and manipulation of the materials of a science is superior to other methods of developing understanding and appreciation of research methods.  Laboratory training is also frequently used to develop complex skills necessary for more advanced study or research and to develop familiarity with equipment, measures, and research tools." [McKeachie, 1994]  

Research has shown that a problem-solving method is superior to more traditional manual methods in teaching students to apply principles.  Studies repeated point to the importance of developing understanding, rather that teaching problem solutions by going through a routine series of steps.   Problem-solving methods as opposed to cookbook methods." [McKeachie, 1994]  "While teaching a Statics and Strengths of Materials course, test and quiz scores clearly showed that the majority of students had problems comprehending external truss reactions and internal axial truss forces....   Emphasizing problem-solving processes, developing pattern-recognition skills, and using consistent terminology lead to enhanced student performance and understanding. [Reynolds, 1998]  A problem-solving approach is desired by industry and has been shown to boost student learning.



The basic objectives for technical education remain much the same as they were at the start of the century.   We are preparing our students to enter and function in a difficult and changing world.  They need to be able to use current technology and be prepared to learn and use the technology of the future, and more.   Students need to be able to think!  According to Brookhart,  “We also need to teach our students critical-thinking and learning-how-to-learn strategies much more deliberately than we do now, to prepare them for changes we may not foresee.  While we are at it, we need to instill a disposition to lifelong learning - before a good quality, but now a near necessity for the future we contemplate.”  Students must leave the university prepared to keep learning and to take advantage of the new visual media.  “...skills at learning from visual representations are more important now than ever before, given the use of computers for retrieving and representing information.” [Brookhart, 1998]  We need to challenge our students with activities that force them to pull different technologies together to solve problems.  "True integration comes when students learn through computers, not about them.  There is no value of learning word processing unless it is used to further content comprehension." [Dockstader, 1999] 

The challenge to the educator goes well beyond teaching today’s technology.  Joanne Johnson, an elementary teacher in Springfield, Oregon, noted for her active classroom:  “It’s important to be training kids how to think.  We’re training them for jobs we don’t even know about.”  Her focus is on getting “closer to real life.”  Textbooks are secondary resources.  Experience is primary. [McChesney, 1996]  Who can predict were we will be in just a few short years?  We can be sure that the technology we use today will change significantly in the next five years. 

In many respects what we are trying to with today’s technical education is quite similar to what our colleagues were trying throughout the period of industrial revolution and invention.  A leading technology school stated their beliefs in the following manner.  “…we believe in current, applications-intensive technical education.  Our portfolio of technical programs includes a two-year… and four year programs." [Sprinsky, 1998] 

Photo from “Adventures in Manufacturing Workshop”, at Purdue University in December 1998.

 “The problem we now face is how to give each student not only the theory but also actual experience with the projects and equipment that are not the “bread and butter” of engineering practice.  The solutions should be performed on modern equipment with techniques used in today’s practice.  Students in our programs are provided opportunities for hands-on experiences and real problem-solving using industry standard equipment.”  [Sprinsky, 1998] 

New technology leads to new research.  Research in the application and use of the new technology leads to new ideas, techniques, applications, and methods of teaching.  University research in engineering, according to Lester A. Gerhardt, is both a process and a product.  It serves to create an environment for engineering education that enhances classroom teaching in terms of relevance and what is taught an how it is taught.  A good teacher is often the most active researcher. [Qazi and Ishaq, 1998] 

“Research is traditionally conducted by the engineering faculty at the universities with graduate programs who can bring research grants and use graduate student sot help conduct it.  Applied research at institutions offering engineering technology programs is becoming important due to the change in technology and the resulting change in the contents of courses in their programs. It is also important for the faculty to stay current in order to teach effectively and be able to develop new courses in their curriculum.  In addition, the business and accrediting agencies are putting pressure on engineering technology programs to make teaching more industry-oriented.” [Qazi and Ishaq, 1998] 

“The curriculum for the B. S. program in Electrical engineering technology included theoretical issues and emphasizes the use of current “state of the art” equipment, and emerging technologies to solve practical design and application problems.  This necessitates the development of new courses in the emerging technologies and state-of the-art equipment and laboratories which is critical because of the strong hands-on emphasis.” [Qazi and Ishaq, 1998]  



The computer-based technology revolution is having a significant impact on the way we teach and the way students learn.  The effect of the computer can be seen in the tools are used in classes and the way computers are used to help teach.  The changes have been dramatic and continue to develop at a rapid pace.  The recent literature offers many examples of the use of new computer-based tools. Undergraduate engineering students often find a course “…divided into a lecture portion and a laboratory portion.  The lectures address specific behaviors of the system elements and the related assumptions and mathematical techniques used to evaluate the behaviors.  The laboratory portion of the course was intended to enable students to run the necessary software packages and interpret the results.” [Navaz, Henderson, and Mukkilmarudhur, 1998]  This pattern is seen in many current course designs.  

There are numerous examples of new industrial technology coming into the curriculum.  A good example is the growth in computer-aided design (CAD) and systems supporting concurrent design.  In the past ten years a significant move away from drafting and manual drawings has brought campuses across the nation into the computer age with the introduction of powerful and reasonably priced CAD systems emerging for personal computers.  Now the technology is jumping ahead once again with the development of processes and tools for rapid prototyping, one of the most widely used is stereo lithography.  “Users of CAD systems have always desired a means to produce three-dimensional hardcopies of their CAD models.  Manufacturers of rapid prototyping equipment have finally provided this capability.  Students are able to quickly build mockups of their designs, in order to evaluate their fit, functionality and in some cases use as patterns in the school’s foundry.” [Zecher, 1998]   Teaching methods and the tools used will change, but the intent of helping students learn and prepare to be contributors in the future remains the same. 

The mere use of computers in classes is only the beginning.  The push for computers in the classroom is driven largely by the applied use of computers and new technology in industry.  “Accredited programs in manufacturing engineering technology stress hands-on applications and problem solving using the computer as a tool.  The computers found in technology laboratories come in many different forms directed at solving a particular problem, developing and documenting a product design, controlling a process or machine, or even helping to manage the business side of the operation.  Students learn to program and operate many different computer-based applications.  The computer is rarely used in manufacturing classes as a teaching tool or as an aid to the instructor, other than in the basic applications of word processing and spreadsheet programs.  The powerful computers in manufacturing labs are not often used to improve the teaching or learning activities of manufacturing technology classes.”  [Kraebber, 1998] 

Multimedia and new methods of instruction:  Multimedia has been referred to as a marriage between the computer and television.  Actually, the elements of s multimedia system include text, still and animated graphics, audio, and still and motion video images.  Portable computers of sufficient capacity are readily available to perform these functions.  Engineering education has traditionally taken place using the test- lecture- problem set- laboratory- student design- test paradigm.  Overall teaching is quite a complex activity involving planning, writing, delivery, interaction and evaluation.  It is obvious to many instructors that some change in the teaching paradigm is on the horizon.  An instructor must decide which (teaching) functions a computer can perform and if the computer will really save time or improve the quality of instruction.  Most classroom and laboratory facilities were not designed for a multimedia approach and will require expensive modifications and equipment for this new technology. [Meyer, Randall, and Morrow, 1996] 

Cost is a critical issue impacting the rate of change and the applications of the new technology.  The price tag for new computer and multimedia hardware and software can be more than many schools can afford. In most cases, the available budgets of colleges and universities cannot cover the costs without some type of budget supplement.  The challenge of how to get what is needed often leads to new and creative partnerships with industry and the discovery of funding sources outside the university.  Industry drives the demand for graduates that have skills developed when applying the technology to solve problems in classes.  Technology support from industry or other funding agencies for any single program can easily reach into the millions of dollars. 

The high costs of facilities and the changes in the make-up of the student population add fuel to the fires of change.  More of the students in engineering technology, for example, have several years of real work experience in industry and are now returning to gain new skills or upgrade their skills.   

Forces driving new distance education initiatives:  The more mature population requires special consideration and attention.  A major problem forcing change on the campus is the location of the students.  “How do we deal with the problem of students that cannot come to campus?”  Computers and new telecommunications technology now support “...linking two sites 150 miles apart by using the new methods of information technology.  Kent State launched the Distributed Learning Pilot Program, supported by desktop video conferencing and distributed multimedia.”  “... the program began as a test of the distance and multimedia components on a course by course basis.  "we are basically taking it one step at a time." [Dumont, 1997] 

The concept of “distance education”, teaching where the instructor is physically located apart from the learners, is one of the hot topics in education today.  Many schools see the opportunity to reach out and serve students in a wide area without the constraints of the traditional classroom.  The drive to serve a changing student base is forcing change out to the campus.  “Universities throughout North America are looking for alternate modes of delivery of educational resources: asynchronous learning, distance education, WEB-based resources, and so on.  In the next decade, there will be a tremendous change in the way course are presented and in the resources required.  Some observers have likened this evolution in education to that which followed the development of the printing press.  That evolution, however, occurred over several decades.  The current evolution is marked by major developments occurring on a monthly basis.” [Toogood, Lipsett, Lorimer, Hrudey, Peterson, and Varnhagen, 1998] 

Distance learning uses the emerging technologies of computers, the Internet and fundamental learning principles that are common to all types of education.  The new teaching approach has been shown to be “active, collaborative, customized and accessible, of excellent quality, lifestyle-fitted”.  “The WWW is a gathering place for: presentations, on-line seminars, evaluations, student projects, office hours, classroom discussions and group meetings.”  The basics of effective course design still require attention.  The basics include “…decisions on the content, how assessment will take place, what (team) resources will be needed to develop the course, how long is the development to take…” and others. [Boettcher and Conrad, 1997] 

"There are numerous schools pursuing distance delivery.  And, many people are retreading the same paths of others in the pursuit.  Many of the people that have been assigned to get it up and running by next semester have little or no experience in the technology or the pedagogical concerns unique to distance learning.  ...  There are faculty who are enthusiastic about the prospects, but face administrators whose support ranges from reluctantly supportive to recalcitrance, and there are many enthusiastic administrators facing reluctant and recalcitrant faculty." [Landis and Hafer, 1998] 

A new concept in distance education is the newly formed Western Governor’s University, a non-traditional “virtual” university.  Courses can come from a variety of sources made available to students in any location through the power of the Internet.  "What's unique about Western Governor’s University is that it will make competency-based degrees available to more students, regardless of their locations, while also serving as a broker for multiple educators in different states, ranging from universities to corporations that offer skill training.”  “...member institutions will be linked so that a student in Colorado, say, could take a course offered in Utah." [Hettinger, 1997] 

The use of the Internet and the development of courses for distance learning requires careful attention.  The following comments from a confirmed “Internet curmudgeon” confirm that care must be exercised when using this new technology.  The curmudgeon identifies several significant concerns that beg for attention as faculty members consider the great new electronic frontier known as the information superhighway.  "The Internet is less a highway than a diabolical maze.  This road is incessantly interrupted by intersections, is cluttered with ambiguous detours, lacks even a rudimentary roadmap, harbors villains uncounted, is pockmarked with advertising, and is very expensive to ride."   A recent report (1997) shows a high level of dissatisfaction with cyberspace.  People are not able to find what they are looking for, and are unsatisfied with reliability.  Faculty are “…being asked to lurch into the future with very little assessment.  "Look before you leap" and be prepared to face not only the triumphs, but also the trials of the net.” [Morgovsky, 1997]  "If the course is well designed and carefully implemented, online instruction can provide and effective educational environment and can be an enjoyable experience for both students and the instructor - particularly if the students are motivated and self-disciplined and the instructor maintains continuous interaction with them." [Cooper, 1999]  Good teaching, whether in a traditional classroom or using the technology of distance education and the Internet, requires careful attention to detail.  The design of the course should never be left to chance or allowed to develop without a plan. 

The use of computer and information technology in the classroom and course assignments increases student enthusiasm and makes communications and data exchanges more efficient.  The World Wide Web (WWW or web) and the Internet allow students to communicate with each other and with the instructor on their own schedule.  “The WWW consists of sites also called pages or home pages linked by an addressing system that utilizes addresses called URL’s (Uniform Resource Locators).  The sites or pages are simply files o the owner’s computer that are formatted in a standard form and made accessible to the world.  Programs called browsers read these files and display the results on a computer screen.  Users move from one page to another by giving the  URL of the desired location.  In many cases, links are included on WWW sites to allow the movement to be done with the click of the mouse button.” [Starrett, 1996] As one faculty member reported... "I don't like to say it (computer technology) takes the place of textbooks, but in terms of giving color to the textbooks, I can go to Hawaii and see interactive pictures of live volcanoes.  What textbook gives you that?  And [the Web] allows sharing of information not only within this district, but across the state and across the country." [Litvin, 1998]  The growing use of virtual laboratories and factories is allowing students to see real work places using the Internet, places that might not be possible any other way.  The Internet is one of the most exciting tools of modern education. 

The Internet opens new opportunities for communication between students and faculty.  E-mail mailing lists and WWW bulletin boards are being used more frequently to encourage student-to-student and student-to-teacher communications and discussions outside of the classroom.  Course syllabus information is being provided completely on the WWW in a growing number of courses.  These electronic syllabi often include homework and reading assignments, test dates, sample questions, project requirements, links to additional resources related to the course and grade information.  “The web contains an overwhelming amount of tutorial and instructional information.  Numerous sited describing the use of HTML and graphics are readily available.  Software and graphics are available and easily downloaded directly through the WWW.” [Starrett, 1996]  

The new technology is forcing faculty and students to jump into the computer age with both feet.  It is no longer acceptable for people in industry or the students on campus to work and learn without developing and applying at least basic computer skills.  "...it must be understood that overcoming the fear of using a computer lies in each individual's attitude toward accepting change.”  “...computers are here to stay because we are in the "information age". [Garcia, 1998] 

We still expect our students to follow a code of conduct that emphasizes integrity, fairness, and honesty.  We are, however, asking for this while we open up access to information and communication technology that can provide a great temptation for students that do not wish to do original work.  "Before the world was linked by the Internet, hard-to-detect plagiarism required ingenuity and skill.  But today with a click of a mouse, even technologically inept students have access to vast information resources in cyberspace without having to leave the comfort of their dorm rooms." [Ryan, 1999]  It seems clear that computers and the tools of new technology are here to stay.  It is also clear that the effective use of the new technology requires careful planning and attention.  

Technology related problems:  Problems, however, come along with the new technology… some new, and some old.  “After Sputnik (the Russian satellite that frightened U.S. Government officials and educators into thinking American students were falling behind, we started all sorts of new programs that were total failures.” [McChesney, 1996]  It is essential that we take time to understand what we are trying to do, and then address how the new technology can help.   We can learn from past mistakes, and the mistakes of others. 

"It's a jungle out there."  The use of the new technology it is not without its share of problems.

Physically getting the technology into the classroom and laboratory has been a major hurdle for may schools.  It is easy for the technology acquisition phase of a new project to consume much of the available time of the faculty involved.  "Until just recently we spent so much time just purchasing stuff, we did not think about what we wanted it for, or what we wanted to do with it. Now we are finding out that what is more important is the curriculum, the content of what you teach, and the technology is just a tool.  You don't need technology to get students actively involved, but by God if you can use it the right way, you can make a big difference.” [Litvin, 1998]  This issue was demonstrated in the mid 1990s in many labs when new equipment arrived and it sat idle for months waiting for the faculty to catch up and begin to integrate the new equipment and software into courses.  It takes time and careful planning to bring all the elements of the technology together for an effective class experience. 

Plans for the use of new technology must include the on-going development of the teachers and faculty members involved.  Learning to use the new technology and preparing to teach with it requires a significant faculty commitment.  "Teacher education in the use of technology, is an ongoing endeavor.”  The increasing demands for program assessment add new demands to the limited time available to work with the new technology.  “Preparing teachers for the 21st century, with onrush of new technologies and the flood of multimedia products, requires a restructuring of content, rethinking of existing methodology and another look at existing assessment tools.” [Charp, 1998]  The new technology can not be expected to just drop in to existing course designs. 



This is an interesting question!   Lecture and lab exercises are still the primary forms used in technology education.  The changes we face today are similar to the changes faced by educators for the past 100+ years.  Could today’s challenges be more significant with respect to students, objectives and methods then in the past?   If so, will future educators have to “…rethink everything they know about training to accommodate this technologically savvy generation of workplace learners?  Not necessarily.  Amid all the hoo-ha involved in defining the hallmarks of each generation, it’s easy to forget that certain human characteristics are constants, regardless of the generation in question.” [Wellner, 1999]  According to David Merrill, professor of instructional design at Utah State (as reported in Wellner) “You do need to tailor your teaching style to your audience…  A change in generations requires a change in the “surface structure of learning – the way lessons are packaged and the way learners are sold on the learning process.”  “Members of 'generation next' for example are more familiar than their predecessors with the Internet.  The Internet offers many options for incorporating and manipulating different media into the learning process.” [Wellner, 1999]  The fundamentals of teaching will not change, but the delivery mechanism and media will change, and that will impact the faculty. 

Kalmbach took an interesting look at the pace of change in technology.  "One of the most difficult challenges of technology in a computer-supported classroom is keeping up with the relentless pace of change in the computer industry."  …as soon as we become comfortable… something newer, more exciting, an potentially even more useful appears.  "One of the best ways I have found of coping with this continuous process of technological innovation is to stay in touch with history."   In a reference to Lanham, 1993, Kalmbach reported…  "By reminding ourselves of how teachers in the past have integrated new technology into their classrooms, we can better prepare ourselves for coping with innovations that might otherwise seem revolutionary." [Kalmbach, 1996] 

Students can now submit papers of outstanding quality!  The days of the typewriter, erasable bond paper and the careful planning and writing of the manuscript that came before that actual typing of assignments and papers are long past.  Students today have the tools available to allow them to concentrate too much on the cosmetics of an assignment and too little on the content and quality of the work..  "The underlying conflict between forma and content, and "making it pretty" as a strategy for surviving school will remain largely the same." [Kalmbach, 1996]  Whalstrom,  1989, is also noted in Kalmbach said, "I realized how difficult it was for me to mark the errors on an student assignment which had been printed with a laser printer.  The paper looked polished and perfect.  Marking on it made me feel as if I were defacing a book."  "Students have always found ways to fixate on appearance rather than content.  They have neatly and laboriously recopied handwritten essays, used typewriters instead of pens, film ribbon instead of cloth, daisy wheels instead of dot matrix, etc."  "…nor will the urge to make it pretty stop at laser printers." [Kalmbach, 1996]



Reports of the number of new Internet users and the growth rate of this powerful network of computers on the evening news remind us of the impact that the technology has on us all.  We can expect computers and the software that runs with them to continue to evolve and change.   The power of computers in our lives and in our teaching will continue to increase.  In the past six years the use of the Internet has increased significantly.  Many faculty members now use e-mail and have taken course materials out to the web. 

Change is a certainty in the developing information and computer systems age.  Even before we get comfortable with the current state-of-the-art technology the next generation is being rolled out.  “Computers, of course, are not that smart; they need to be told exactly what things are, how they are related and how to deal with them.  Extensible Markup Language (XML for short) is a new language designed to do just that, to make information self describing.  This simple-sounding change in how computers communicate has the potential to extend the Internet beyond information delivery into many other kinds of human activity.”   “XML offers a particularly convenient way for scientists to exchange theories, calculations and experimental results.”  MathML, ChemicalML (CML). AstronomyML (AML), etc. [Boask and Bray, 1999] You can just imagine the next set of problems facing educators using the web.  

We must continue to manage change with respect to our educational objectives just as our predecessors in education did at the turn of the century, and again at the start of the computer revolution, and now as we continue deeper into the information age.  The tools and systems we use to teach and prepare our graduates for entry into the “real world” will continually change and develop and become even more powerful.  We can only hope that the powerful computers and systems that speed up the pace of change and open up new possibilities for educators will also provide assistance in the management of change and help us stay in control.     


Boask, J, & Bray, T.  (1999).  XML and the second-generation web.  Scientific American. 280 (5), 89-93.

Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R.  (1997, June).  Distance learning: a faculty FAQ.  Syllabus. 10 (10), 14-17.

Brookhart, S. M.  (1998, Fall).  Winnow and cultivate.  National Forum, the Phi Kappa Phi Journal, 78 (4), 3-5.

Charp, S.  (1998, September).   Preparing the 21st Century Teacher.  T.H.E. Journal. 26 (2), 6.

Cooper, L.  (1999, February).  Anatomy of an online course.  T.H.E. Journal. 26 (7), 49-51.

Dockstader, J.  (1999, January)  Teachers of the 21st century know the what, why, and how of technology integration.  T.H.E. Journal.  26(6), 73-74

Dumont, R.  (1997, June).  Technology across campus: Kent State University.  Syllabus, 10 (10), 37-38. 

Garcia, R.  (1998, September).  Hang-ups of introducing computer technology.  T.H.E. Journal.  26 (2), 65-66.

Grayson, L. P.  (1993).  The Making of an Engineer.  New York:  John Wiley and Sons.

Hettinger, J.  (1997, October)  Degree by e-mail.  Techniques. 72 (7), 21-23.

Johnson, E.  (1998).  Misconceptions about the early land-grant colleges. (Report number BBB00165).  New York: Rockefeller Foundation.  (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 414 832)

Kalmbach, J.  (1996).  From liquid paper to typewriters: some historical perspective on technology in the classroom.  Computers and Composition. 13 (1), 57-68.

Karwatka, D.  (1998, March).  Technology's past - Guglielmo Marconi and wireless communication.  Tech Directions.  58 (8), 14.

Kraebber, H. W. (1998).  “Multimedia technology supporting manufacturing education.”  1998 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings.  Session 2263.  Washington, D. C.: American Society for Engineering Education. CD ROM. 

Landis, M., & Hafer, J.  (1998, April).  Distance learning survey: the educator's viewpoint.  Syllabus.  11 (8), 40.

Litvin, M.  (1998, September).   Navigating the techno-classroom.  Techniques.  73 (6), 6-19.

McChesney, J.  (1996, June).  “What works in schools: form and reform for the 21st century.”  ERIC Clearing House on Educational Management. 1 (1).

McKeachie, W. J.  (1994).  Teaching Tips.  (9th ed.).  Lexington, MA: Heath.

Meyer, G. E., Randall, J. K., & Morrow, C. T. (1996).  Teaching instrumentation and controls using multimedia and television instructional methods.  1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings.  Session 1675.  Washington, D. C.: American Society for Engineering Education. CD ROM. 

Morgovsky, J.  (1997, June).  A few words from the Internet curmudgeon.  Syllabus.  10 (10), 47-48.

National Geographic Society.  (1988).   Inventors and Discoveries.  Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society Press. 

Navaz, H. K., Henderson, B. S., & Mukkilmarudhur, R. G.  (1998).  Bringing research and new technology into the undergraduate curriculum: a course in computational fluid dynamics.  1998 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings.  Session 1602.  Washington, D. C.: American Society for Engineering Education. CD ROM. 

Qazi, S., & Ishaq, N.  (1998).  Impact of applied research in engineering technology. 1998 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings.  Session 1348.  Washington, D. C.: American Society for Engineering Education. CD ROM. 

Reuben, J. A.  (1996).  The making of the modern university: intellectual transformation and the marginalization of morality.  Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.  

Reynolds, W. D.  (1998, September).  Teaching enhances problem-solving skills.  Tech Directions.  58 (2), 44-45.

Rudolph, F.  (1990).  The American College and University - A History.  Athens: The University of Georgia Press.  

Ryan, J. C.  (1998, December).   Student plagiarism in an online world.  ASEE Prism.  8 (4), 20-24.

Sprinsky, W. H.  (1998).  Surveying education in the nineties – something old and something new.  1998 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings.   Session 1526.  Washington, D. C.: American Society for Engineering Education. CD ROM. 

Starrett, S. K.  (1996).   A beginner’s guide to teaching with the Internet.  1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings.  Session 2632.  Washington, D. C.: American Society for Engineering Education. CD ROM. 

Toogood, R., Lipsett, B., Lorimer, S., Hrudey, T., Peterson, A., & Varnhagen, S.  (1998).  Computer based learning for engineering mechanics: If we build it, will they come?  1998 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings.  Session 3666.  Washington, D. C.: American Society for Engineering Education. CD ROM.  

Wellner, A.  (1999, February).  Get ready for generation next.  Training.  36 (2), 42-48. 

Zecher, J.  (1998).  Integration of a rapid prototyping system into a MET curriculum. 1998 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings.  Session 3549.  Washington, D. C.: American Society for Engineering Education. CD ROM.

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