In an administrative career lasting over thirty years, first as a provost and then through three presidencies and a stint at the National Science Foundation, I have watched while changes in technology have reshaped the nature and character of discovery, the gathering and interpretation of increasingly complex observations whose patterns would be completely opaque if we did not have high-speed computing to sort them out, and the integration and use of knowledge in ways that would have been impossible when I went to college in the early 1960s. I went from having to learn the purpose of each of the F (function) keys on my keyboard in order to send an e-mail message on my orange-colored screen back in the early 1980s to being able to find exactly the document or information I need by simply typing a word or phrase into my search engine. I have served as the president of an institution, Winona State University, that became one of the nation’s first “laptop universities” and then shifted from focusing primarily on the equipment to emphasizing what we were trying to accomplish: e-learning. Now back in Portland, Oregon, I am teaching my first fully online course. If we can so readily take for granted all of this easy access to ideas and information, what capabilities can we tap for scholarly and learning purposes if we set our minds to the task? When we do, are we really being “disruptive,” or are we simply expanding our senses to see the world in new ways and building our networks of people with whom we communicate on a regular basis?
Ramaley, Judith A., "How Disruptive Is Information Technology Really?" (2013). Higher Education. 170.