Unlocking the knowledge generation and elearning potential of contemporary universities
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The purpose of this paper is to argue that what universities need at present is an informed direction and vision about the current impact of information and communications technologies on learning in relation to the design and management of information, electronic teaching content, how knowledge is constructed online, how such a vision ties in with both face to face and online learning, and how these factors as a whole ultimately contribute to the long term viability of universities as educational providers.It is increasingly clear that online learning is growing in strategic importance for higher education institutions world-wide. It is also clear that resolving related issues and meeting emergent needs such as individualised online content delivery and facilitating creative online knowledge construction extend well beyond just supplying technology and related infrastructure. However, a full examination of all known issues is not intended or possible within the confines of one paper. More specifically, the aim of this paper is to draw attention to the core factors that have already shaped the future direction of higher education throughout the world. As a way of highlighting the extent of change that must be addressed in the short term, the many issues and concerns raised by an Australian national group of academics and government representatives known as the eLearning Roundtable will be outlined as an invitation for further discussions and comment. Finally, a summation of all the factors raised in this paper will serve to build a valid foundation on which to advance future research directions and strategies for ensuring the higher education sector will remain relevant to the shifting demands of the twenty-first century.
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