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Conference Proceeding

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Abstract or Description

A critical look at technology in higher education should reveal a number of things, among them: undue expectations, mismanaged expectations, unfulfilled needs and promise, and needs and promise ignored. I will focus on the last issue, multi-media technology, and the conference theme of importing 'real world' information into education in ways that traditional media and methods cannot - information that is rich, ambiguous, messy, difficult to measure or manage, but crucial.

My paper will address the specific, ill defined but now widely touted need for more attention to ethics and values in higher education. I provide a framework for understanding some parts of that vast and complex need. Ethics and values education are not areas noted for exploiting either computer technology or 'real world' information, but they are areas where learning and inquiry can be improved thereby. I will provide some concrete illustration, with a videotape presentation of one multi-media learning environment for ethics. Among the messiest of 'information' to convey is the experience of valuation itself. Two of the videodisc applications briefly described below under Project THEORIA will be available for demonstration.

The application of multi-media technology to ethics and values education will raise more questions than it answers; but that's as it should be, since a sufficient benefit of the technology is to prove "a major stimulus for eliciting work and thought about teaching methods and how human beings learn" (Derek Bok, "Looking into Education's High-Tech Future," EDUCOM Bulletin, Fall 1985 -- a version of his 1985 annual report to the Harvard Board of Overseers, reprinted from Harvard Magazine, May/June 1985).

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