Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The changing face of Higher Education- cloud-based classrooms?

Parents with small children in these first decades of the 21st Century are seeing the rise of technology as it infiltrates everything from the homes we live in to the jobs we work at to the schools we graduated from. 

For instance the school my teens attend has introduced Chromebooks for all students and online homework whereas my own school had two PC's for the whole student body.

student using Chromebook for school work

Even now living in a tech-heavy world, these are early days.  Even with advances in educational paradigms of recent years, there is still a great deal of conjecture as to what higher education will look like in 20 years. 

To what point will technology be an integral part of life and to what point will it have changed the way we teach, the way we study and even the things that we study. What will a higher education leadership degree look like when those babies are ready for graduate school?

The Evolution of Higher Education from a Historical Perspective

Some historian will probably write a book on the rapid evolution of majors in universities around the world. Even in recent years when maybe your parents were studying for a college degree, it was almost unheard of to get an online EDD degree from a prestigious institution like Maryville University as few graduate schools offered self-contained programs separate from those offered on campus. 

It has been possible to do a portion of your work online within the past 20 years, but now there are complete doctorate programs online where the student never needs to step foot inside a classroom.

Course Offerings and Majors Are Rapidly Evolving As Well

Not only is the way in which students attend class evolving, but also the majors they study are evolving as well. Even just a decade ago a course in social media would have been inconceivable, as social media was in its infancy and its impact on society had yet to be felt. 

This leads educators to postulate what types of courses and major areas of study will also evolve over this current generation. Technology will certainly factor heavily into the types of courses being offered, but will technology also be the vehicle as well as the foundation? Will online classes be the norm due to the huge number of students who could attend a single course offering by a single professor?

One Question Answered – Another Surfaces

As shown above, one question is no sooner answered than another is posed. For example, since technology is making it easier for students to attend college without ever stepping foot on campus, will less money be spent on building new classrooms so that more can be funneled into Cloud-based virtual classrooms? 

madmumof7 as a teenagerIt stands to reason that students looking for an online doctor of education degree would prefer to work in the relative quiet of their home as opposed to a congested lecture hall. 

One 12 year study indicated that distance learners scored slightly higher than on-campus student attendees. In fact, will college campuses be done away with altogether in light of the ever increasing number of virtual students?


The face of education is certainly changing so that the experience I had is no longer. (check out the fuzzy photo taken from a print from my High School days!)
  
I loved my tech-free experience of school and college but at the end of the day these advances are making it possible for greater numbers of students to get their graduate degrees so that they can go forward, maybe in a leadership role to raise up future generations of scholars. 

It will be interesting to see what the face of education looks like in 20 years, but it's safe to say it won't be like what students are experiencing even today.

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