In the trade press, we often get obsessed with the technology itself, and lose sight of the bigger issues that drive not just technology but how our society is evolving.
Why do the politics of academia concern the technology community? Because universities are entering a very challenging, stressful period where forces trying to either protect or reshape the classroom and indeed the college experience are battling it out. And behind the headlines about budgets and board vs faculty control of the university is the burning question of how much technology should be brought into the classroom, how fast–indeed whether the classroom needs to be a brick-and-mortar room at all
The case of the firing and then rapid re-hiring of University of Virginia president Teresa Sullivan–and Sullivan’s epic battles with rector Helen E. Dragas over the pace of change, including "MOOCs" (massive online open courses), is at the heart of this drama. Nothing less than the role of tech tools in the university experience is being played out–on a national stage.
This New York Times article sums up the anxiety on campuses throughout the country: