How Technology Has Impacted Universities

Today’s university students have it made where education is concerned. One reason this statement is true relates to advances in technology. Theoretically, the modern online student can roll out of bed the morning of a test, study for the exam up until the start of the exam, and then take the exam, all from the comfort of his/her home. University education has been so enhanced by technology that it has made education more accessible to students on a global scale, giving them a quality education.

 

Research

As libraries adapted to the changing face of the contemporary university, students no longer needed to make copies of an article easily accessed online. In fact, students no longer even have to rely on the university online database to gather information as a part of a research project. Google Scholar, in addition to a number of academic databases, makes it possible for students to retrieve articles. Because of the nature and vastness of the internet, with the right Boolean terms, students can obtain many hits regarding any topic, directly from the web. All the student need do is determine whether the sources are appropriate for the paper. Furthermore, technology has all but eliminated the need for hard copy citation manuals, as most universities provide students with online examples of the standard citation styles and online citation builders, which pretty much set up citations for the student.

 

Residence halls and campus life

Technology’s effect on the university can be seen in its residence halls. In the latter 20th century, computer labs sprang up to meet the demands of students, and many students without computers trekked down to the closest computer lab. While many computer labs still exist today, students do not even have to leave their dorm rooms to write a paper or access the internet, since most universities provide Wi-Fi, which allows for wireless access. New residence halls are being erected to keep up with the ever-changing academic environment. Notable philanthropist Joey Horn has donated large sums to help one university in New England provide students with living spaces that are program-driven and technologically accessible.

 

The classroom

In this educational climate, technology has transformed traditional on-site classrooms into virtual spaces where students can interact with other students from other countries. A professor from another part of the world can lecture on a topic, which enhances the type of education students receive and expands their worldview. Three major advances have made this possible.

The first is the smart classroom, which provides each student with a computer, and the teacher a smart station from which to lecture. This classroom model has completely removed the need for dry-erase boards or even more dated chalkboards. These classrooms make teaching and learning more flexible for teachers and students. Teachers can rely on YouTube and other alternative sources to help students understand concepts. Students, in turn, can seek online help from the numerous tutoring sites (Khan Academy and Kolada) to help them with any subject area. More than anything, the smart classroom has really changed lesson planning for professors. In the past, instructors imparted information and hoped students understood the lesson sufficiently to complete work at home. Today, instructors can guarantee that their students understand concepts, because more classroom time is spent addressing work that can be reviewed in class or online.

Mobile learning is another technological advance that has changed the education game. Smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) aid students in a number of ways. For one, students can use these devices to draft papers, research and take notes. Furthermore, these devices allow for students to collaborate and have discussions about their schoolwork, much as they would discuss their personal lives through social media sites, allow for emailing, and allow for discussion threads.

The most valuable technological advance to the modern university has been the learning management system (LMS). The LMS has moved much of the classroom into virtual space, and in the process saved millions of trees, thanks to paperless classrooms. From the LMS, instructors can post information about the class, keep online grade and attendance books, contact students using live chat and email, administer exams online, create online portfolios and make available additional resources, in addition to other tasks.

 

Ultimately, technology has essentially transformed the modern university. The quality of education has improved because effective, efficient lesson planning via technology has made it possible for students to reach learning outcomes due to better access to information. As a result, these advances help better prepare students for a life after the university.