Future of the University

As a society, our ideas and needs are constantly changing. These changes in needs should be reflected in our education system, especially in institutes of higher education. In our current situation, we have a pandemic that has caused us to shift traditional university courses from classrooms and lecture halls to either completety virtual classrooms, or some hybrid mode of teaching. This shift was forced on the education system in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We need to make changes in anticipation of different sitatuations or by assessing the changing world around us. One such way is to implement more technology (in a meaningul and impactful way) in the classroom and to change the way students are taught [1].

Students should be able to apply their knowledge to real-world problems and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills during their time at university. While learning the fundamentals and basic theory of any subject is important, the applications to real-world problems are becoming increasingly more relevant for students. This might mean adding more hands-on activities in the classroom or introducing more lab courses where students get a chance to practice and use the theories they are being taught in some physical application. This may even mean that courses can include online materials in place of the traditional lecture, but these materials shouldn’t just be powerpoint slides uploaded on Canvas or a recording of a professor going over their slides. We can tranform online learning to be more interactive for students since many students in the new generations that will be entering college (like Gen Z) have shorter attention spans and are accustomed to using technology and the internet. The traditional lecture may no longer be an effective means of teaching in the future, so we need to think of how we can adapt and insure that we are not using teaching styles that are now obsolete. For example, as virtual and augmented reality become more and more popular, they may be an effective means of teaching in the future that we can start developing ideas for now.

There are certainly many aspects of higher education that need to be changed including addressing rising costs, making more accommodations for students who need them, etc. I think an important thing that needs to be assessed is the teaching style to make sure that higher education remains relevant and that institutes of higher education are not only involved in developing new technology and being up to date on research, but also that they are using new technologies and looking for ways to improve the student experience.

 

[1] https://medium.com/@14ideas/demand-for-change-in-higher-education-eb871c946194