Manuscript to Microchip: The Role of Technology in the Evolution of Higher Education

Rosamaria Carlozzi, Salve Regina University


This study examines the history of the university with a broad overview of the genesis, evolution and development of university education from the medieval era in Europe to the modern American university of today. The research includes an in-depth description of how various technologies have changed the educational mindset over centuries and influenced pedagogy, including the liberal arts at the undergraduate level. It chronicles technology as a factor in the evolution of higher education and it examines how it has influenced our thinking about a liberal education and the use of its primary elements or technologies: lecture, tutorial and library. The primary methodology was the study and review of the philosophies of John Henry Cardinal Newman, Clark Kerr and Harry Lewis in a Hegelian dialectic. A review of the philosophies in the context of technology and liberal education enabled this study to effectively address the primary research questions of this dissertation: What role has technology played in the evolution of higher education in Europe and the United States? How has technology influenced the university’s way of thinking about liberal education and use of its primary elements: lecture, tutorial and library? The major findings of the study are: (1) In the formative years of the university, the emergence of technological tools such as manuscripts and books were as inventive and influential as digital technology is today, but technology today is moving at a faster pace than we can harness or control. Consequently, institutions of higher education are at varying levels of engagement with technology as those with resources are able to adapt more quickly to rapid change. (2) Digital technology influences the use of our different senses related to the acquisition of knowledge and, in some cases, even more than the traditional modes of the lecture and tutorial. (3) Many institutions of higher education still value the traditional human discourse between professors and students even in an age of advanced technology. However, technology can have a great influence on determining the liberal arts curriculum. (4) Through studying the philosophies of Newman, Kerr and Lewis, I have come to understand that technology is a significant dynamic in the academy and with human discourse.

Subject Area

Education history|Educational technology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Carlozzi, Rosamaria, "Manuscript to Microchip: The Role of Technology in the Evolution of Higher Education" (2011). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI10141382.