Higher Education's Uncertain Future: Resources from BrainStorm
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Resources: Higher Ed’s Uncertain Future

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“Kids can be struggling on a number of dimensions at home, and so taking the time to provide some individualized attention could be really valuable from the perspective of not only academics, but also broader student wellbeing.”

By Steven Mintz

Perhaps you recall one of the great lines from Back to the Future. No, I don’t mean “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.” Or “Nobody calls me chicken.” Or “Why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here?”

No, I mean Doc Brown’s advice at the trilogy’s end: “Your future is whatever you make it, so let’s make it a great one.”

No one knows what the future holds. It is, as Doc Brown says, a blank page. Still, it’s approaching fast, and speculations about its contours are arriving fast and furious.

Among the most provocative comes from Brandon Busteed, chief partnership officer and global head, learn-work innovation, at Kaplan.

Some of his predictions seem self-evident:

  • That test-optional admissions is here to stay.
  • That more and more faculty will make their video-recorded lectures available online.
  • That classes will make greater use of educational technology, including collaboration, annotation and data analysis and visualization tools and virtual laboratories and simulations.

A number of other forecasts strike me as likely:

  • That institutions will be held more accountable for meeting their diversity, equity and inclusion metrics.
  • That institutions will offer more online course options.
  • That faculty will rely less on high-stakes exams.

Still others seem plausible:

  • That elite institutions will come under increasing attack over their refusal to grow and to admit a more representative student body.
  • That more faculty and staff will have opportunities to work from home.
  • That virtual internships will become more common.
  • That schools will increase their postbacc online degree and nondegree offerings (even though the market already seems glutted).
  • Then there are somewhat more daring projections that at this point seem less likely, like more flexible academic calendars with multiple start dates or employers on a mass scale offering education as a benefit or substituting skills-based credentials for degrees.

In his “House Divided” speech, Abraham Lincoln remarked, “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it.”

So where are we?

Read the whole article here

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