Higher education is finally attempting to come to terms with technology.
In much the same way as some forms of media – newspapers in particular – have viewed Web 2.0 with deep suspicion rather than a source of new opportunities, higher education has focused more on the negatives than the positives in recent years.
Now the use of social networking and mobile devices by the current generation of students will be studied as part of a major inquiry chaired by Sir David Mitchell, former vice chancellor of the University of Kent.
The research is backed by Universities UK, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (and its equivalents in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) and the Joint Information Systems Commission.
Too often, universities have looked to crack down on the likes of Facebook rather than try to understand the benefits they could provide.
Podcasting has found a niche, but by and large blogging is still something universities fear rather than exploit.
Higher education needs to play catch up quickly and hopefully this inquiry will help increase awareness and understanding.