Paradoxes and Dilemmas in Managing E-Learning in Higher Education


The new information and communication technologies (ICT) affect currently most spheres of life, including all educational levels. Their effects are most likely to grow in the future. However, many predictions in the last few years as to the sweeping impact of the ICT on restructuring the teaching/learning practices at universities and their high profit prospects have not been materialized; and several large ventures of e-learning undertaken by the corporate world, new for-profit organizations and some leading universities failed to yield the expected results. This paper examines eight inherent paradoxes and dilemmas in the implementation process of the ICT in various higher education settings worldwide. The paradoxes and dilemmas relate to: the differential infrastructure and readiness of different-type higher education institutions to utilize the ICTs' potential; the extent to which the "old" distance education technologies and the new ICT replace teaching/learning practices in classrooms; the role of real problems, barriers and obstacles in applying new technologies; the impact of the ICT on different student clienteles; information acquisition versus knowledge construction in higher education; cost considerations; the human capacity to adapt to new learning styles and the ability to conduct research in face of the rapid development of the ICT; and the organizational cultures of the academic and corporate worlds. Understanding these inherent paradoxes and dilemmas is essential for policy makers at institutional and national levels of higher education systems in the process of planning a macro-level comprehensive strategy for the efficient and effective applications of the new ICT.

Sarah Guri-Rosenblit
Publication date: 
July 1, 2003
Publication type: 
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
Guri-Rosenblit, S. (2003). Paradoxes and Dilemmas in Managing E-Learning in Higher Education. UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education.