This presentation will take a critical lens in examining the influence of the education-industrial complex in promoting online learning technology at all levels of American education. The education-industrial complex can be defined as networks of ideological, technology and for-profit entities that seek to promote their beliefs, ideas, products and services in furtherance of their own goals and objectives. This complex is fueled by significant resources and advocacy provided by companies, foundations and the media that want to shape American education policy to conform to their own ideals and that also stand to profit significantly from its development. It is not a single entity conspiring to influence education policy but is made up of multiple networks that sometimes share agendas but frequently operate independently and compete with one another for contracts and sales of goods and services. This session will draw from the book, The Great American Education-Industrial Complex: Ideology, Technology and Profits, byAnthony G. Picciano and Joel Spring (Routledge, 2013). The conceptual framework is derived from Janine Wedel’s provocative examination of government policy formation entitled, Shadow Elite: How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market (Basic Books, 2009) Anthony Picciano first used the term education-industrial complex in 1994 to refer to the networks and alliances that were forming to promote the use of technology and related services in American education.1 In that article, he described the education-industrial complex as being in its infancy but contended that within the next ten or more years, a major new thrust would occur that would become “very visible.” In the past twenty years, significant changes have in fact taken place in the way various interest groups seek to influence policies and practices in public education in the United States. No longer left to the experience and knowledge of educators, American education has become as much the domain of private organizations, corporate entities, and political agents who see it as a market for their ideas, technologies, and ultimately profits. Today, a fundamental component of the education-industrial complex is technology. The use of technology in education has been evolving for decades. Digital technology and communications have been widely used for research, administration and instructional applications since the 1960s. The ubiquitous Internet has provided a plethora of educational uses and has lifted the dependence on technology to new heights. In many ways, technology is evolving as a fulcrum around which much of the education-industrial complex operates. Online learning is the latest and perhaps the most significant application of technology to instruction the world has ever seen. However, a key question is the role of the education-industrial complex in promoting online technology and whether or not it has been a help or hindrance. The interest in examining the education-industrial complex emerged following a series of collaborations between the authors of The Great American Education-Industrial Complex… In addition to their many discussions, the authors have together offered seminars at their home institution, the City University of New York Graduate Center on the topics and issues presented in this book. It is important to mention that the authors of this book approach issues related to education policy, privatization, and technology from different perspectives. Anthony Picciano has spent his career as a proponent of policies and practices that integrate technology and innovation into education at all levels. He has published and lectured extensively on these themes, emphasizing instructional quality, respect for educators, and the primacy of student learning. In co-authoring this book, his goal was to examine the forces that are pushing technology on American education with a certain unbridled enthusiasm and often without enough evaluation. Joel Spring is interested in the social and economic forces shaping global education policy. He is concerned about the rapid growth of global education businesses and their increasing profits gained from public monies spent on schooling. The ideas, findings and conclusions that form the basis for this book should make for a provocative session of importance to policy makers, administrators, faculty and technology professionals who follow and are concerned about how education policy is evolving in this country particularly with respect to online learning. 1. Picciano, A. G. (1994). Technology and the evolving education-industrial complex. Computers in the Schools, 11(2), 85–101.