I want to alert those of you interested in the future of higher education to a new book, Future Proof Your College, by Michael Heppell. (I see it is currently unavailable at Amazon U.S., a few copies at Amazon.UK – more on the way.)
This book primarily consists of edited interviews with a variety of experts, employers and college personnel, focused obviously on how to best prepare for the future.
I spent a pleasant hour last Autumn with Michael, who is based in the UK. (Thus the book has a focus on what they refer to as “further educationâ€ in the UK.) We discussed for Chapter 26 the major patterns that I see impacting higher education – aging, global emphasis on advanced education for long term success (both for individuals and for national economies) and the ever-continuing information technology revolution.
Regarding the latter, I have suggested for some time to higher education institutions that campuses will remain into the future, but the activities on those campuses will evolve. That, is it seems to me that students will continue to seek out learning communities including residential ones. But, while in residence on one campus or in one community, students may obtain a third or half off their credits via the global information network. This means that colleges will need to adjust to providing high-end IT facilities, such as true telepresence (HP version, Cisco version), and change their credit granting and financial policies to enable locally enrolled students to get much of their education “off campusâ€ as it were.
A couple of days ago the Seattle Post Intelligencer, in a front-page story about community colleges in the state of Washington provided evidence for this trend. In a story entitled “A change in course for college classes,â€ and subtitled, “Students flocking to online study as a flexible way to work for a degree,â€ you learn that in the 2006-2007 year 70,000 students enrolled in online universities. This compares to 40,000 four years earlier, a near doubling in four years. This trend has long been anticipated but now is happening due to better technology, more offerings, and perhaps mostly because the digital generation is now the dominant student group.
Glen Hiemstra is a futurist speaker, consultant, blogger, internet TV show host and founder of Futurist.com. To arrange for a speech contact Futurist.com.