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Hawkridge, writing a few years ago, raised many of the issues that are of concern not just to distance educators but to all working in higher education. While we may not have had a 'big bang' (the term refers to the change overnight from paper-based trading to trading using computers that occurred on the London Stock Exchange), there is little doubt that major change is taking place. It may not be happening overnight but the pace is rapid and increasing. A recent report on virtual institutions worldwide concluded that:

While there are still few examples of virtual institutions in the purest sense, the amount of development activity in all types and levels of educational organizations, both public and private, is considerable in all parts of the world. N o one seems to doubt that the development and deployment of information and communication technologies will have a profound impact on access, institutional functioning, and the teaching and learning process. However, teachers and administrators have many questions and concerns. (Farrell, online)

It is with this profound impact on the teaching and learning process that we are most concerned.