Predicting the Future: Higher Education in 2112 (Part 2)
My workplace overlooks a big downtown university campus, and it’s always fun to see the frosh week excitement and back-to-school energy.
This made me think about: what will higher (university) education look like 100 years from now? Hard to imagine, especially because universities have sustained a pretty enduring business model and delivery system for – what – the last thousand years or so?
But I think we’re seeing the fault lines in higher education, some driven by students themselves and their expectations/learning preferences, some changes being driven by new technologies/social media, and perhaps the most significant changes are a result of globalization and rise of “educational megalopolies”.
So – here are some of my predictions:
This first one is kind of a no-brainer: Face-to-face learning will be the exception. Students will design and access knowledge and skills guided by both human and virtual tutors/faculty
Students will register and be affiliated with multiple academic institutions from the same family of university “brands” (as smaller schools become gobbled up by the big names)
Students will travel virtually or geographically throughout their academic careers and access a plethora of institutionally-branded choices in different metropolitan centres and online, with the entire academic record in a single transcript file location
The electronic transcript will look more like a virtual portfolio of students’ work and assessments, and will link to other accomplishments/activities
There will be no such thing as “full” courses (due to over-enrollment) because all courses will be webcast
The most successful university brands will offer programs in multiple languages: for example, English, Mandarin, Portuguese, Hindi, Russian (via automatic simultaneous translation of faculty/instructional materials)
Unique, personalized programs of study will be developed so as to fit specific jobs via proprietary algorithms (and these will be recalibrated as students’ career goals change)
Teaching performance will be graded on a variety of metrics – including student performance and feedback/reviews – and this will be integrated within mobile academic course calendars (inside-out universities).