“I hate to be cynical about technology, but I've seen too much of it not driven by pedagogy”

A 60-year history of McMaster University’s educational technologies


  • Will Teal
  • Alise de Bie McMaster University
  • Joanne Kehoe
  • Jon Kruithof
  • Alek Montes




This chapter recovers and reflects on nearly 65 years of instructional uses of technology at McMaster University, from the launch of McMaster’s remote television learning experiment in the 1960s, to the rapid mass-migration onto virtual environments during the COVID-19 pandemic. We draw on archival material, literature on educational technologies (edtech) published by McMaster educators, oral history interviews, and some of our own experiences with edtech to review four eras of evolution: Initial Experimentation (1958-1969), Early Adoption (1970-1989), Centralized Infrastructure (1990-2009), and Ubiquity of Online Learning Technologies (2010-2020). Rather than a comprehensive listing of changing tech, we focus on themes that have repeated over time in the human and social context surrounding educational technology development and use. We end by discussing how we might carry lessons from the pandemic into the university’s strategy for digital learning.

This chapter is undergoing copyediting and will be published shortly.





The long view: Early days of instructional development and teaching innovation