The Internet: New Engine of Inequality?


The authors review recent developments in information technology and distance learning, and how they combine with economic forces to fuel a global market for higher education. The paper focuses particularly on the question of access: Will the "virtual university" expand opportunities for those who have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education? The Internet shatters barriers of time and space, but emerging technologies may, in fact, deepen the divide between the educational haves and have-nots, and the marketplace alone will not fix the problem. Public policy must intervene to narrow the "digital divide" between whites and minorities, the wealthy and less advantaged.

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