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The Future of Higher Education in the Digital Era

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The future of universities is a popular topic in higher education and visions of how higher education will adapt to the digital era abound. The only certainty amongst the wealth of predictions is that post-secondary institutions are on the brink of a massive disruption; the earliest signs of the popping economic bubble of higher education are evident in the United States, which will surely spread to markets with less competition worldwide. In this presentation, I'll take you through some of the major predictions from futurists and experts about how universities will evolve in the coming decade. From à la carte degrees, to gamified online education, to the dissociation of research and teaching, to innovative digital marketing tactics, university professionals of tomorrow will have to contend with altered funding and new demands from students.

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The Future of Higher Education in the Digital Era

  1. 1. The future of higher education in the digital era Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com Image: Visit Britain / Britain on view http://bit.ly/1Uyotv7
  2. 2. Can we predict the future? • Futurist predictions in 1997 book for the year 2025 – Roughly 66% accuracy for ‘on track’ predictions – Similar to 68% accuracy from futurists in 1967 predicting 30 years later Hines, A. World Future Review. 2009 Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  3. 3. What makes a good futurist? Forecast Accuracy Experience (Ability) Employer size (Resources) Number of firms and industries followed (Complexity) Clement, M.B. Journal of Accounting and Economics. 1999 Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  4. 4. What makes a good futurist? • The best forecasters of world politics: – Scored higher on intelligence and political knowledge – More open-minded cognitive styles – Benefited from probability training – Profited from better working environments & teams – Spent more time deliberating and updating forecasts Mellers, B. et al. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. 2015
  5. 5. What makes a good futurist? • Exceptionalism lies in quantitative trend forecasting – Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns – Certain kinds of progress are exponential, not linear http://bit.ly/KurzweilBigThink
  6. 6. What do futurists do? • Illustration by David Plunkert Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  7. 7. Analytical Framework for Futurism • Framing – What’s happening right now? • Scanning – What do the trends tell us about tomorrow? • Describing – What are some potential futures? • Visioning – How do we want to shape the future? • Planning – What is our roadmap for shaping the future? http://profuturists.org/futurists Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  8. 8. Analytical Framework for Futurism • Framing – What’s happening right now? • Scanning – What do the trends tell us about tomorrow? • Describing – What are some potential futures? • Visioning – How do we want to shape the future? • Planning – What is our roadmap for shaping the future? http://profuturists.org/futurists Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  9. 9. Framing - Will the change matter? • Pew Research Center survey of 1,021 “Internet experts” on the future of higher education http://bit.ly/FutureHighEd
  10. 10. Environmental Scanning Environmental Scanning: What it is, how to do it… Thinking Futures. 2009 http://bit.ly/EnviroScan Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  11. 11. Environmental Scanning with STEEP • STEEP = –Society –Technology –Environmental –Economy –Political Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  12. 12. Society Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com Image: http://blog.arkieva.com/my-network-design-is-not- your-network-design/
  13. 13. Society – massification continues • Demand for higher education is rising Ho Mok, et al. Higher education governance in crisis: a critical reflection on the massification of higher education, graduate employment and social mobility. Journal of Education and Work. 2015 http://bit.ly/EnviroScan Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  14. 14. Society – Vocational focus for learning • “Now, this model of liberal arts education is under threat. Students come to college hell-bent on learning something that will make them employable.” • “This is an understandable response to the economic uncertainties of our age, and to the extraordinary cost of an education […].” • “Whether eighteen-year-olds are experiencing this economic anxiety themselves, or whether it is being hammered into them by their parents, I don’t know.” http://bit.ly/whatishigheredfor
  15. 15. Society – Teaching & research • Are teaching and research compatible? http://bit.ly/CAPsurvey2007 Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  16. 16. Society - Mature Enterprise Syndrome • “…American higher education has become what, in the business world, would be called a mature enterprise: increasingly risk averse, at times self- satisfied, and unduly expensive.” • “Without serious self-examination and reform, institutions of higher education risk falling into the same trap [as other failed industries], seeing their market share substantially reduced and their services increasingly characterized by obsolescence.” Spellings Report. US Department of Education. 2006 http://bit.ly/SpellingsReport Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  17. 17. Society - Mature Enterprise Syndrome • “It is harder to innovate in a mature enterprise.” White, et al. Innovations in Higher Education: Implications for the Future. New Directions for Higher Education http://bit.ly/NewInnovationsHigherEd Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  18. 18. Society - Questions • Will higher education innovate or lose to competitors? • Will demand for higher education continue to rise? • Will certain countries choose to change the relationship between teaching and research? Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  19. 19. Technology Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com Image: http://sdtimes.com/idcs-top-10-technology-predictions-2015/
  20. 20. Technology – Open Education • Open educational resources (1-5 years) – Students need lower cost content – Industry needs to get more flexible with product offerings – Intellectual property law needs to progress Mintz, S. The Future of Higher Education. InsideHigherEd.com http://bit.ly/FutureInsideHighEd Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  21. 21. Technology – 3D Printing • 3D Printing (1-5 years) – New options for personalization reduce demand for non-customized in-store goods – Gateway to more sustainable production – Become a valuable tool (or toolmaker) for researchers across fields http://bit.ly/3Dprintfuture Image: http://bit.ly/1i9OgbZ
  22. 22. Technology – Virtual Reality • Virtual and augmented reality (1-5 years) – Provided viable distance-learning options – Help scale delivery of classroom experiences – By 2030s, “virtual reality will begin to feel 100% real” http://bit.ly/KurzweilPredicts Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  23. 23. Technology - Gamification • Gamification in pedagogy (5-10 years) – “Gamification can motivate students to engage in the classroom, give teachers better tools to guide and reward students, and get students to bring their full selves to the pursuit of learning.” – “It makes sense to try to utilize [game] concepts to improve education. But if we want to make lasting significant changes, we have to reinvent the whole system.” – Prof. Atsusi Hirumi http://bit.ly/EduGamification Lee and Hammer. Academic Exchange Quarterly. 2011 Firth. Pegasus: The Magazine of the University of Central Florida. 2015 Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  24. 24. Technology – Modular Curricula • Personalized curricula, modularization & hybrid degrees (5-10 years) – Help students adapt to changes in job market signals – Modularizing curricula provides clearer metrics for employers with unique needs Mintz, S. The Future of Higher Education. InsideHigherEd.com http://bit.ly/FutureInsideHighEd http://bit.ly/FastCompanyFuture Hullinger, J. This is the future of college. Fast Company. 2015
  25. 25. Technology – Analytics • Learning analytics enabled by more sensors (5-10 years) – “These tools offer innovative ways to predict student success, measure achievement of learning outcomes, and drive improvements in admissions, pedagogy, and student support services.” Mintz, S. The Future of Higher Education. InsideHigherEd.com http://bit.ly/FutureInsideHighEd Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com Image: http://bit.ly/1LUPq4G
  26. 26. Technology – Analytics • Learning analytics enabled by more sensors (5-10 years) – “And newer endeavors […] can alert students to toxic course combinations and provide an early warnings of at-risk behavior to faculty, advisers, and the students themselves.” Mintz, S. The Future of Higher Education. InsideHigherEd.com http://bit.ly/FutureInsideHighEd Image: http://bit.ly/1LUPq4G Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  27. 27. Technology - Biometrics • Biometrically-verified online identity systems (5-10 years) – Physical traits & behavioural signs inform learning analytics – Users want to protect valuable digital identities – No more passwords Image: http://bit.ly/1K3Qdg0
  28. 28. Technology – Global Brain (AI-enabled) • Collective knowledge mapping with Global Brain (10-20 years) – Mapping known vs. unknown reveals opportunities – Contributions factor into learning analytics – Human level intelligence by 2029, predicts Kurzweil O’Reilly, T. Towards a Global Brain. GreenBiz.com http://bit.ly/GlobalBrainTim http://bit.ly/KurzweilAIprediction Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  29. 29. Technology - Questions • How will these technologies facilitate distance learning? • In what areas of education will distance learning become the norm? • Will new teaching technologies allow fewer teachers to engage with more students? Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  30. 30. Environmental Image: http://bit.ly/1FvnhfF Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  31. 31. Environmental – Climate Change • “… things will start going haywire in the tropics at around the year 2020, and in [places further from the equator] around 2047.” Eric Zuesse, Huffington Post, about: Mora, C. et al. The Projected timing of climate departure from recent variability. 2013
  32. 32. Environmental – Climate Change • Higher Ed Climate Adaptation Committee findings: “1. Have a critical role to play in preparing society to adapt to the impacts of climate disruption by providing research and education around adaption strategies and science.” “7. Should aim to identify adaptation strategies that also contribute to mitigation efforts.” http://bit.ly/ClimateCommitment Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  33. 33. Environmental – Questions • Could restrictions on energy usage discourage displacement and encourage online learning? • Will the economic impacts of climate change reduce enrollment capacity for traditional institutions? Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  34. 34. Economy Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com Image: http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/06/news/economy/economy- improving/
  35. 35. Economy – The Future of Work • Disruptions that could radically change the future of work Störmer, et al. The future of Work: Jobs and Skills in 2030. http://bit.ly/FutureOfWork2030 Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  36. 36. Economy - Technological Job Displacement • “Will networked, automated, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and robotic devices have displaced more jobs than they have created by 2025?” – Nearly 2,000 experts surveyed: 48% YES 52% NO http://bit.ly/PewJobsAndRobots Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  37. 37. Economy - Technological Job Displacement • “Will networked, automated, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and robotic devices have displaced more jobs than they have created by 2025?” – Team NO major arguments: • Tech displaces some work while creating more • We invent new types of work http://bit.ly/PewJobsAndRobots Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  38. 38. Economy - Technological Job Displacement • “Will networked, automated, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and robotic devices have displaced more jobs than they have created by 2025?” – Team NO major arguments: • Tech displaces some work while creating more • We invent new types of work – Team YES major arguments: • Blue-collar work first, then white-collar • Might create new jobs, but promote inequality http://bit.ly/PewJobsAndRobots Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  39. 39. Economy - Technological Job Displacement • “Will networked, automated, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and robotic devices have displaced more jobs than they have created by 2025?” – Both teams agree: • Our education system is not preparing workers! http://bit.ly/PewJobsAndRobots Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  40. 40. Economy - Technological Job Displacement • “We may lose as much as 25% of all ‘simple’ jobs because of smart machines, AI, robotics and automation, e.g., data input clerks, analysts (some), check-out clerks, cab drivers, etc. In the next 25 years, that loss may be as much as 50% of all jobs as ‘machines’ get even better.” Gerd Leonhard (@gleonhard)in Rudy De Waele's (@mtrends) Shift 2020 Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  41. 41. Economy – Zero Hour Contracts • Flexible contracts with few guarantees for the employee • Huge benefits for employer, fewer for employee Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  42. 42. Economy - Questions • How will job loss due to automation compete with job creation? • Will zero-hour contracts receive government regulations to prevent employee abuses? Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  43. 43. Politics Image: http://thepolitic.org/understanding-politics/ Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  44. 44. Politics – Funding Sources • Worldwide trends influencing how we finance higher ed: Increasing demand Increasingly knowledge-based economies Increasing Globalization Increasing liberalization of economies (Increasing privatization of public education) http://bit.ly/UNESCOtrends
  45. 45. Politics – Funding Sources • Worldwide trends influencing how we finance higher ed: Increasing demand Decreasing revenue, increasing costs Increasingly knowledge-based economies Increasing Globalization Increasing cost per student (rising faster than inflation) Government-tax revenues can’t keep up with cost Increasing reliance on non-tax revenues Increasing importance of financial assistance Increasing liberalization of economies (Increasing privatization of public education) http://bit.ly/UNESCOtrends
  46. 46. Politics – Institutional Specialization Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  47. 47. Politics – Incentivize Student Outcomes • Should university funding be linked to lifetime career outcome for graduates? – “The America’s College Promise (ACP) proposal in the President’s budget would encourage community colleges to strengthen their programs and increase the number of students who graduate by adopting promising and evidence-based institutional reforms and innovative practices to improve student outcomes.” http://bit.ly/HigherEdSuccess Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  48. 48. Politics - Questions • How will governments choose to fund education in the future? • What legislative decisions will governments make that affect higher education governance? • Will politicians move to protect flexible working situations and prevent abuses of zero-hour contracts? Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  49. 49. Models for future higher education Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com Image: http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnebersole/2014/01/13/top- issues-facing-higher-education-in-2014/
  50. 50. Models for future higher education • Different ways to get a bachelor’s – Three-year and accelerated bachelors – Multiple education providers Mintz, S. The Future of Higher Education. InsideHigherEd.com http://bit.ly/FutureInsideHighEd Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  51. 51. Models for future higher education • The bare-bones University – Lower-cost, online education with focus on teaching – Limited enrollment related to local workforce needs Mintz, S. The Future of Higher Education. InsideHigherEd.com http://bit.ly/FutureInsideHighEd Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  52. 52. Models for future higher education • Experimental models – Online-only – Flipped classrooms – Intership-focused – Minimalist or virtual campuses – Entrepreneurial universities Mintz, S. The Future of Higher Education. InsideHigherEd.com http://bit.ly/FutureInsideHighEd Etzkowitz, et al. The future of the university an the university of the future: evolution of ivory tower to entrepreneurial paradigm. Research Policy. 2000 http://bit.ly/EntrepreneurialUnis Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  53. 53. Models for future higher education • Corporate Universities – Deloitte, Disney, Motorola, etc. universities – Displace traditional education with job focus – Longer term investment in specialized employees Mintz, S. The Future of Higher Education. InsideHigherEd.com http://bit.ly/FutureInsideHighEd Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  54. 54. Models for future higher education Brint. Creating the Future: ‘New Directions’in American Research Universities. Minerva. 2005 http://bit.ly/CreatingTheFuture Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  55. 55. Two scenarios for the future Image by Studio Pei-Zhu and Slab Architechture Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  56. 56. Future scenarios – the constants • Climate change increases price of displacement – Delocalized, stay in your network to study • Vocational focus continues due to uncertain job markets – Modular education offers adaptability (employablility) • More diverse funding for institutions, researchers, students – Student sponsors, KickStarter research, brand giving games Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  57. 57. Undergrad education supply ↑ • Undergrad education supply increases, dropping price – Necessity for undergraduate degree increases for most jobs – Universal undergrad experience for discovery and growth – Local organizations offer simulated ‘campus experience’ Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  58. 58. Undergrad education supply ↑ • Undergrad education supply increases, dropping price – Necessity for undergraduate degree increases for most jobs – Universal undergrad experience for discovery and growth – Local organizations offer simulated ‘campus experience’ • Massification continues, leading to mega institutions for post-grad research and entrepreneurship – Teaching & research more closely linked for postgrads – Extreme competition for fewer subsidized positions – More opportunities for top performers to access education Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  59. 59. Undergrad education supply ↓ • Undergrad education supply decreases, increasing price – Vocational schooling or certification rises in popularity – Higher education restricted to young, top performers or rich – Local organizations offer simulated ‘campus experience’ Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  60. 60. Undergrad education supply ↓ • Undergrad education supply decreases, increasing price – Vocational schooling or certification rises in popularity – Higher education restricted to young, top performers or rich – Local organizations offer simulated ‘campus experience’ • Massification trend stops, leading to expensive mega institutions for undergrad and postgrad education – Teaching and research linked for all students in system – Emphasis on student recruiting and retention due to cost – Rising inequity in access to education due to cost Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  61. 61. Which future will you shape? Image by Greg Githens: http://bit.ly/PxFourFuturism Adrian J. Ebsary - @AJEbsary AdrianEbsary.com
  62. 62. Contact • About.me/AJEbsary • AdrianEbsary.com • Twitter: @AJEbsary • Facebook.com/AJEbsary • Linkedin.com/in/AJEbsary

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