Book Reviews

Book By: Luker, Mark A.
Review By: Efrem Sharp
Computer and Information Sciences Cluster
Miles College



Preparing Your Campus for a Networked Future addresses the role of technology in education.  It explains the evolution of technology in the past, the use of technology in the present, and the possibilities that technology offers for the future, all with relation to academia

The book gives an historical overview of the Internet. It explains what things the Internet does well and what its limitations are. It further addresses what Internet2 is, the current research being undergone as part of that project, and how the future possibilities that Internet2 promises will open up areas not possible—or at least not plausible—with our current Internet. 

A problem with the “commercial” Internet (p. 30) is that it does not currently do a good (or good enough) job of conveying high-bandwidth content, such as full-motion real-time video and other types of multi media. The goal of Internet2, according to Shelley, Cashman, and Vermaat’s (2001) book Discovering Computers 2002: Concepts for a Digital World, Web Enhanced, is to enhance tomorrow’s Internet with its advanced technologies (p. 2.4).  Preparing Your Campus explains how postsecondary institutions can prepare themselves to take advantage of these imminently emerging technologies, from the library to the classroom to the halls of research—both intra-campus and intercampus.  A detailed, well-thought-out plan is included that gives guideposts for postsecondary institutions as they set out to update and/or expand their current computer network implementations to take greater advantage of the technologies of today while anticipating the advancements of the technologies of tomorrow.

One definite strength of the book is that it gives two examples of institutions that have reinvented themselves technologically.  These schools—two small, remote, North Dakota universities—were particularly good examples to use as case studies because they help to offset the notion that only big-name, big-budget, big-media market schools can be on technology’s cutting edge.

This book is best read by top-level college administrators, who must take the lead role in pushing both the technological and cultural changes a project will demand and college information technology staff, who would obviously lead the efforts for the physical implementation of an advanced computer network. Faculty will also find the book beneficial as they expand their teaching styles to encompass the possibilities that these advanced technologies will offer, as well as—in many cases—submit to training to be able to effectively and efficiently use these technologies. 

A good additional chapter would have been “Academic Advising in the Networked Information Age.”  Unfortunately, this chapter was left out. The information in this book—if acted upon—can have a positive impact on all facets of a college campus, including advising. 


Reference

Shelly, Gary B., Cashman, Thomas, J., and Vermaat, Misty E. (2001). Discovering computers 2002:  concepts for a digital world, web enhanced (pp. 2.4). Boston: Course Technology.


Preparing Your Campus for a Networked Future. (2000). Book by Luker, Mark A. (Eds). Review by Efrem Sharp. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 109 pp. ISBN #0-7879-4734-2.

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