The next 25 years of the universities

Two possible developments

The development of most industries is rapidly changing with the development of the technology. In this direction is the development of the education. It grows as the technology evolves.

Overall statistics say that the mayor obstacle of gaining higher education are the finances. 2011 Pew Research Center survey on the cost and value of higher education established that for 75 percent of respondents college is too expensive for most Americans to afford,where as 57 percent say that the U.S. higher education system does not provide students a good return on their investment.

The futurists interviewed for The Future of Higher Education report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project on what higher education would look like in 2020. 39 percent claim that higher education will not look much different than it does today, 60 percent say higher education would be different, complete with mass adoption of teleconferencing and distance learning. In their written responses, many of them explain scenarios that incorporated elements of both.

Their view is that the coming decades is an opportunity for teacher/student relationships to occur almost purely through technology. This approach is known as technology-mediated education. Faculty members are more keen to maintain the university model that’s been in place for centuries, with implementation of technology integration.

Lillian Taiz, History professor, California State University, Los Angeles, and president of the California Faculty Association, that launched the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, is of an opinion that the eliminating of the traditional university experience would be a mistake. According to her technology-mediated education means no student engagement, no physical campus and no credibility. Universities in the largest scale will remain to be as the ones in the 19th-century with little standing because they accepted student work by mail.

Technology incorporation into the existing higher education model is a far better option, she claims. “Technology will become a tool in professors’ toolboxes. Universities will still exist and do much of the same things they do today,” she explains. “I love technology, but it isn’t a replacement for the kind of learning that goes on where you’re interacting. It’s an enhancement.”

Over the next five to twenty-five years, machine learning will have to increase to keep up with the large amounts of data that people produce. Machines will be involved in higher degree of learning about students’ behavior, actions, preferences and associations. Upon this, they will resolve how to use this knowledge in creating a richer and more dynamic learning context.

Learning will be developed in a direction to adapt more to students’ needs and preferences. Growth in personalized learning is already established, it needs to step up to the next level, in order to have the data fashioned for individual students and the faculty members who prepare courses for those individuals.
Of course, there is a group of lecturers that do not believe that this will come true in the planned time pace.

Professor Richard DeMillo, Director, Centre for 21-st Century University, Georgia Institute of Technology and author of the book Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities states that the traditional universities will have little place in the new world, in the current form that they work today. Technology – mediated education path is the way to go.

More about the book at:

Authors@Google: Rich DeMillo

The future is not ours to see, but it is useful to know the possible paths of educational developments considering the technology evolving.

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