Flashback to the days when floppy disks were high-tech...

The UOP is looking forward to some much-needed renovations this summer, and with that in mind, we’ve been taking a hard look at all of our stuff, choosing what is going to stay, and what has to go.

Jessica, (our wonderful co-op student) has been given the privilege of going through all of our archives to cull nearly 75 years worth of files! While most of the files are pretty standard, from time to time Jessica stumbles across something entertaining, compelling, or just worth sharing.

Today’s pick is an article from the Wall Street Journal and dated June 1, 1993. The headline?

“Technology Threatens To Shatter the World of College Textbooks: CD-ROM, Interactivity, PCs Spread While Publishers Mostly Just Wait and See”

Here are some of the more amusing/interesting/dire extracts:

“A technology revolution is sweeping higher education. At Drew University, every entering freshman is given a high-powered note-book-style computer, and some professors assign software instead of books. Professor Norman Lowrey teaches musical composition using a floppy disk that enables students to compose music on their computers and then play it back”

[Publishers] have a fortune sunk in the making and marketing of standard textbooks that are increasingly behind the times and technology. To survive, some educators warn, publishers must prepare for titanic change. If they don’t, others are poised to take business from them.”

“Educational technology will change with dizzying speed, experts predict, and even while the CD-ROM grows, so will the use of the superfast computer network now being installed on campuses nationwide. Many publishers expect that by the end of the decade, they will be sending the contents of their textbooks across this network, possibly to be printed in campus bookstores. Nobody knows yet how they will keep track of copyright permissions and payments. But one thing seems sure: the ultimate winners won’t be the players who wait until such wrinkles are ironed out.”

My personal favourite is a quote from James Noblitt, then head of the Institute for Academic Technology at University of Carolina.

“The textbook is the wrong medium for colleges today; I call it pedagogical polyester”

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