- Managing Technology in Higher Education
This review evaluates the quality of the book Managing Technology in Higher Education by A. W. (Tony) Bates and Albert Sangrà. Published in 2011, this work covers the topic of recent technological developments in postsecondary educational institutions and tracks strategies of technology integration. In addition the authors look at leadership and strategy, as well as organizational structures and initiatives. The authors describe barriers to change, suggest ways to remove such barriers, and suggest abolishing the semester system as one means to improve how higher education can be better managed. With this statement the authors challenge their reading audience to propose better solutions to managing technology problems in higher education. This review provides an introduction, authors' biographical information, suggested primary and secondary audiences, a chapter-by-chapter assessment of the book's strengths and weaknesses, and with each chapter, a reflection of my viewpoint on the quality of the reading experience. This review ends with concluding statements.
Managing Technology in Higher Education provides much good research and many suggestions on managing change from authors Bates and Sangrà, two men who have devoted their careers to observations of the complexities in the field of academic information and technology. If the book's message could be distilled to a sentence, it would be that academic technology needs are multifold and these needs must be met with open-minded new perspectives. Readers will need to be willing to suspend any rigid prior thinking they may have about the nature of education.
The reader will come to learn that the very nature of learning is changing, not just in the hazy future but here and now. Whereas in the past, charismatic leaders worked to develop a vision for their followers, now leaders will first try to help learners "to function more effectively" (80). This is the thrust of the book. [End Page 59]
Managing Technology in Higher Education is comprehensive and has well-researched content. From a reviewer's perspective this book has many fine qualities, but a reader will need a strong basic grasp of information technology lingo and academic vocabulary to appreciate its pages. There are many suggestions as to how to introduce innovation, but these will remain only suggestions unless strategic top-down planning and follow-through exist for the management of these emergent technologies.
Authors A. W. (Tony) Bates and Albert Sangrà share similar interests by way of long-standing careers in postsecondary academia. They share a "common interest in using technology to improve the quality of teaching, to increase access to learners, and to improve the cost effectiveness of universities and colleges" (xi). Tony Bates has more than forty years' experience in using technology for teaching and has worked as a consultant in over forty countries: "He is the author of 12 books on learning technology and distance education, and he and his research colleagues have published over 350 papers in academic journals. He has received honorary degrees from six universities" (249). Sangrà is a "senior professor at the Open University of Catalonia, Spain, where he is currently the academic director of the eLearn Center; he is the program director for the university's MSc. in Education and ICT (e-learning). He has worked as a consultant and trainer on the use of technology throughout Europe, America and Asia. He is a visiting scholar at the Korean National Open University, South Korea. In 2003-2009 he served on the executive committee of the European Distance and E-learning Network and from 2007-2008 was on the advisory board of the Open University of Portugal" (249-50).
Primary and Secondary Audiences
Bates and Sangrà claim that their primary audiences for Managing Technology in Higher Education are "senior university and college administrators" because the overall vision and strategy of the postsecondary academic institution fall to their hands. The authors also hope to reach faculty members because they "will need to understand, address, and be willing to take on the issues towards implementing change" (xii). The book will be of value...