Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 203–213 | Cite as

Using Technology to Enhance Higher Education



Whether our students are sitting in the room with us as we teach, sitting in their home listening, participating by video-conference, or answering discussion questions on an online platform, technology can play a pivotal role in student learning. In this article we discuss technology in higher education, specifically its role in hybrid or online formats. As Renard (2005) so eloquently stated, "No generation has ever had to wait so little time for so much information" (p. 44). Presented here is a discussion of the types of students who benefit from distance learning, the factors that prompt instructors to engage in distance learning, and what instructors should know about distance education before they begin teaching with this kind of delivery.

Key words

Technology Distance Learning Higher Education 


  1. Appana, S. (2008). A review of benefits and limitations of online learning in the context of the student, the instructor, and the tenured faculty. International Journal on E-Learning, 7(1), 5–22.Google Scholar
  2. Boshier, R., Wilson, M., & Qayyum, A. (1998). Lifelong education and the world wide web: American hegemony or diverse utopia? International Journal of Lifelong Learning, 18(4), 275–285. doi: 10.1080/026013799293694 Google Scholar
  3. Carnevale, D. (2002, November). Distance education attracts older women who have families and jobs, study finds. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 49(11), A33.Google Scholar
  4. Cercone, K. (2008). Characteristics of online learners with implications for online learning design. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education Journal, 16(2), 137–159.Google Scholar
  5. Chaney, E., Chaney, J., Eddy, J., & Stellefson, M. (2008). Making the case for distance education in the health education and health promotion profession. International Electronic Journal of Health Education, 11(1), 5–18.Google Scholar
  6. Crawley, F. E., Fewell, M. D., & Sugar, W. A. (2009). Researcher and researched: The phenomenology of change from face-to-face to online instruction. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 10(2), 165–176.Google Scholar
  7. Crow, K. L. (2008). Four types of disabilities: Their impact on online learning. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 52(1), 51–55.Google Scholar
  8. Dykman, C. A., & Davis, C. K. (2008a). Part one: The shift toward online education. Journal of Information Systems, 19(1), 11–16.Google Scholar
  9. Dykman, C. A., & Davis, C. K. (2008b). Online education forum: Part two – teaching online versus teaching conventionally. Journal of Information Systems, 19(2), 157–164.Google Scholar
  10. Dykman, C. A., & Davis, C. K. (2008c). Online education forum: Part three - a quality online educational experience. Journal of Information Systems, 19(3), 281–289.Google Scholar
  11. Ellis, R. A., Hughes, J., Weyers, M., & Riding, P. (2009). University teacher approaches to design and teaching and concepts of learning technologies. Teaching & Teacher Education, 25(1), 109–117. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2008.06.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Exter, M. E., Korkmaz, N., Harlin, N. M., & Bichelmeyer, B. A. (2009). Sense of community within a fully online program. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 10(2), 177–194.Google Scholar
  13. Hagner, P. R., & Schneebeck, C. A. (2001). Engaging the faculty. In C. A. Barone & R. P. Hagner (Eds.), Educause leadership strategies: vol 5. Technology-enhanced teaching and learning (pp. 1–12). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  14. Harris, J., Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2009). Teachers' technological pedagogical content knowledge and learning activity types: Curriculum-based technology integration reframed. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(4), 393–416.Google Scholar
  15. Ke, F., & Xie, K. (2009). Toward deep learning for adult students in online courses. Internet and Higher Education, 12(1), 136–145. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2009.08.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Keengwe, J., Onchwari, G., & Onchwari, J. (2009). Teaching and student learning: Toward a learner-centered teaching model. AACE Journal, 17(1), 11–22.Google Scholar
  17. Keramidas, C., Ludlow, B., Collins, B., & Baird, C. (2007). Saving your sanity when teaching in an online environment: lessons learned. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 26(1), 28.Google Scholar
  18. Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2009). The potential, the pitfalls, and the promise of multi-user virtual environments: Getting a second life. Teacher Librarian, 36(4), 68–72.Google Scholar
  19. Lawson, N. (2007). Questions students ask about distance education. Distance Learning, 4(1), 61–65.Google Scholar
  20. Majeski, R., & Stover, M. (2007). Theoretically based pedagogical strategies leading to deep earning in asynchronous online gerontology courses. Educational Gerontology, 33(3), 171–185. doi: 10.1080/03601270600850826 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Menchaca, M. P., & Bekele, T. A. (2008). Learner and instructor identified success factors in distance education. Distance Education, 29(3), 231–252. doi: 10.1080/01587910802395771 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McMurry, A. J. (2007). College students, the GI bill, and the proliferation of online learning and contemporary challenges. Internet & Higher Education, 10(2), 143–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McNab, L. (2005). Interview: Speaking personally with Chris Dede. American Journal of Distance Education, 19(2), 119–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Musick, K. (2001). Distance education: Promoting access and equity for adult learners with disabilities. Rehabilitation Education, 15(1), 63–77.Google Scholar
  25. Moore, M. G. (2006). Editorial: Questions of culture. American Journal of Distance Education, 20(1), 1–5. doi: 10.1207/s15389286ajde2001_1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Moore, M. G. (2008). What students really want. American Journal of Distance Education, 22(1), 1–2. doi: 10.1080/08923640701713406 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Motteram, G., & Forrester, G. (2005). Becoming an online distance learners: What can be learned from students’ experiences of induction to distance programmes? Distance Education, 26(3), 281–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. National Center for Education Statistics. (2008). Distance education at degree-granting postsecondary institutions: 2006-07. Retrieved September 18, 2009, from
  29. Nicolle, P. S., & Lou, Y. (2008). Technology adoption into teaching and learning by mainstream university faculty: A mixed methodology study revealing the "how, when, why, and why not. Journal of Educational Research, 39(3), 235–265. doi: 10.2190/EC.39.3.c Google Scholar
  30. Owens, J., Hardcastel, L., & Richardson, B. (2009). Learning from a distance: The experience of remote students. Journal of Distance Education, 23(3), 57–74.Google Scholar
  31. Ozdemir, Z. D., & Abrevaya, J. (2007). Adoption of technology-mediated distance education: A longitudinal analysis. Information & Management, 44(5), 467–479. doi: 10.1016/ CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Quality Matters. (2006). What is the QM program? Retrieved March 21, 2010, from
  33. Ravoi, A., & Barnum, K. (2003). Online course effectiveness: An analysis of student interactions and perceptions of learning. Journal of Distance Education, 18(1), 57–73.Google Scholar
  34. Renard, L. (2005). Teaching the DIG generation. Educational Leadership, 62(7), 44–47.Google Scholar
  35. Rogers, E. M. (1995). Diffusion of innovations (4th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press.Google Scholar
  36. Rourke, L., & Kanuka, H. (2009). Learning in communities of inquiry: A review of the literature. Journal of Distance Education, 23(1), 19–48.Google Scholar
  37. Salinas, M. (2008). From Dewey to Gates: A model to integrate psychoeducational principles in the selection and use of instructional technology. Computers & Education, 50(3), 652–660. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2006.08.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schrader, P. G. (2008). Learning in technology: Reconceptualizing immersive environments. AACE Journal, 16(4), 457–475.Google Scholar
  39. Shattuck, K. (2008). Introduction. Retrieved March 21, 2010, from
  40. Smith, K. A., Sheppard, S. D., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2005). Pedagogies of engagement: Classroom-based practices. Journal of Engineering Education, 94(1), 87–101.Google Scholar
  41. Southernwood, J. (2008). Distance learning: The future of continuing professional development. Community Practitioner: The Journal of the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association, 81(10), 21–23.Google Scholar
  42. Spaniol, M., Klamma, R., Springer, L., & Jarke, M. (2006). Aphasic communities of learning on the web. International Journal of Distance Education Technologies, 4(1), 31–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tabata, L. N., & Johnsrud, L. K. (2008). The impact of faculty attitudes toward technology, distance education, and innovation. Research in Higher Education, 49(7), 625–646. doi: 10.1007/s11162-008-9094-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Talbert, J. J. (2009). Distance education: One solution to the nursing shortage? Clinical Journal of Oncology and Nursing, 13(3), 269–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tallent-Runnells, M. K., Thomas, J. A., Lan, W. Y., Cooper, S., Ahern, T. C., Shaw, S. M., et al. (2006). Teaching courses online: A review of the research. Review of Educational Research, 76(1), 93–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Valente, T. W. (1995). Network models of the diffusion innovations. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, Inc.Google Scholar
  47. Vaughn, N. (2007). Perspectives in blended learning in higher education. International Journal of E-Learning, 6(1), 81–94.Google Scholar
  48. Walker, V. L., & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. (2009). Educational opportunities for clinical counseling simulations in Second Life. Innovate, 5(5), 1–6.Google Scholar
  49. Wang, S., & Hsu, H. (2009). Using the ADDIE model to design second life activities for online learners. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 53(6), 76–81. doi: 10.1007/s11528-009-0347-x Google Scholar
  50. Waters, J. K. (2009). A “Second Life” for educators. T H E Journal, 36(1), 29–34.Google Scholar
  51. Wenger, E. C. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Whitaker, R. (2007). Teaching online in the Bronx: Local distance education. On the Horizon, 15(3), 145–156. doi: 10.1108/10748120710825031 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Zhang, D., Zhao, J. L., Zhou, L., & Nunamaker, J. F. (2004). Can E-learning replace classroom learning. Communication of the ACM, 47(5), 75–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zhao, J. J., Alexander, M. W., Perreault, H., Waldman, L., & Truell, A. D. (2009). Faculty and student use of technologies, user productivity, and user preference in distance education. Journal of Education for Business, 84(4), 206–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

Personalised recommendations