Strategic Technology Alliances for Teaching and Learning
Higher education is dedicated to creating and sharing knowledge, while also preparing future leaders in a global society. For many learners, significant barriers to full participation in this teaching and learning experience exist.
Technology within education is intended to enable more learners to participate and collaborate with faculty and other learners. However, certain thresholds must be met to use technology to communicate, collaborate, and transform teaching and learning. Technology can help the faculty and learner connect to information and learning communities; expand participation in the teaching and learning process; improve access to learning materials, experts and peers; and provide new channels for active learning. These new teaching and learning options will require a substantial investment in ongoing faculty development and technology enhancement.
Colleges and universities need to confront the intense local and national competition, enhance academic programs to meet the challenges of this competition, and develop new teaching and learning strategies to meet the demands of a global marketplace. In today's global business environment, technological sophistication is key to higher education competitiveness. On the other hand, many colleges and universities find it difficult to keep up with technological trends, let alone establish the trajectory of technological change. A recent study by James F. Fairbank (2000) suggests that competitiveness in the global market has resulted in an increase in strategic technology alliances. This is a fact that higher education cannot ignore. Currently, higher education faces the challenge to connect people of all ages with the teaching and learning process in new and different ways. Corporations are seeking new ways to train their employees with the assistance of colleges and universities. Strategic Technology Alliances can meet these needs by sharing resources.
Colleges and universities, who have developed strategic alliances with businesses and industries, have determined that the critical elements to developing an alliance include planning, transformation and the appropriate use of technology to create a productive and personal mission for each organization.
Strategic Technology Alliances
Strategic technology alliances and partnerships between higher education and industries take many forms. The models share common themes including collaboration between each organization, internal and external variables as well as how the strategic technology issues facing higher education may capitalize on industry resources. The collective skills, vision and ongoing dialogue between each organization will help sustain the transformation of technology in higher education throughout the 21st century and beyond.
Institutional, national and global competitiveness ultimately depend on people. With the right set of skills, individuals will be more competitive. The challenge is incorporating the skills into the fabric of higher education. These methods could include new learner-centered instruction, electronic learning and Internet-based courses for using various modes of academic courseware, learner mobile computing and technology enhancement initiatives. An alliance’s collaborative projects will improve new learner enrollment, increase retention rates, integrate technology for teaching and learning, streamline administrative processes and enhance the college’s ability to offer credit-bearing executive management and technology education.
Clearly, strategic technology alliances between industry and higher education are needed. A strategic technology alliance that is based on a strong commitment to mutual decision making, resource investment, risk and reward by each partner will enhance academic programs and extend higher education for learners from anywhere at anytime.
Fairbank, J. F. (2000). Strategic Technology Alliances and Global Competitiveness: A Longitudinal Assessment of Three Industries. Global Competitiveness.