Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsHigher education is evolving. The college students of the future will increasingly reflect the richness of our population in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, beliefs, culture, economic status, and more. They will come to higher education from diverse backgrounds and will bring with them new expectations, hopes, and dreams. Our economy continues to move toward a knowledge-based workforce, and a growing number of these new jobs are requiring post-secondary education. But not all students will need or want a traditional degree. Some already have degrees and need additional education. Post-secondary credentials will increasingly be expected to provide documentation of competencies and mastery of skills. A credential will no longer simply be a piece of paper.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 secondsIt will be a collection of requirements, artefacts, and other evidence of learning. Students will own their transcripts, allowing them to control their educational records and share them as they wish. The future will provide more opportunities for a much broader pool of students not only to participate in, but to own their education. What tools will help the students of the future be successful? Thoughtfully implemented predictive analytics will be a central element in the success of future students. Data-informed advising, including tracking a student's history, successes, and missed opportunities, will highlight individual paths for achievement. Virtual and augmented reality will allow access to places and objects that would be cost prohibitive or otherwise impossible for students to experience.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 secondsIt will also create more opportunity for the gamification and social experience of student learning. The student experience will be enhanced by smart sensors and smart objects throughout campus. Universal design will broaden access for users with disabilities, which benefits all users, making software and interfaces more functional and intuitive. As students receive more digital and personalised learning, they will advance at their own pace, no longer pushed ahead or held back by the group. These and other developments hold considerable promise, but they also bring new and renewed concerns. As the interconnectedness of data and systems expands, security and privacy must be taken into account.

Skip to 2 minutes and 19 secondsInstitutions must be attentive to faculty autonomy and student agency, ensuring that data and technology complement human judgement and personal experience. The students of the future will be everyone. Our colleges and universities will create hope and opportunity and advance the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion by serving all students and meeting their unique needs.

Who are the students of the future?

Welcome to The Online Educator: people and pedagogy. I’m Dr Leigh-Anne Perryman - an academic with The Open University (OU). In the first three weeks of this course I’ll be drawing on my experience as an educator and a researcher as I introduce some of the hype around online education, some of the ways in which educators can navigate that hype, and some strategies for designing engaging online learning experiences.

Over the coming weeks you’ll closely examine several myths connected with online education as the basis for making your own decisions about how to employ innovation in your teaching.

This week, you’ll start by investigating the notion that online education is a ‘disruptive’ solution to a broken education system. Then, you’ll explore ways to create engaging and relevant learning experiences that best utilise innovative technologies and pedagogies to meet learners’ needs. You’ll be introduced to the use of personas in learning design and will examine two frameworks intended to help educators choose appropriate technologies to meet learners’ needs.

In Week 2, you’ll discover ways to make innovative learning accessible to all and at the relationship between accessibility and innovation.

In Week 3, you’ll explore strategies to evaluate claims about the transformative impact of online education, for example those made in research reports. You’ll also investigate ways to reflect on your own teaching in order to assess the impact of educational innovation, including considering the ethical issues involved in researching online learning.

In Week 4 I’ll hand over to ed-tech celebrity and OU academic Professor Martin Weller. He’ll take you through a study of the benefits and complexities of constructing an online identity as an educator.

First though, watch the video above and step into the future of education… It’s full of technological innovation. Teaching and learning has improved immeasurably. Everybody is included. Does this sound too good to be true?

The video is made by Educause - a nonprofit association whose mission is ‘to advance higher education through the use of information technology’. It gives you a flavour of some of the claims being made about the online education of the future.

As you watch, consider the following:

  • Do you believe the predictions being made will come true? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • Have the video creators missed anything out?
  • Does the video make you feel differently about your own teaching?
  • Do you feel excited about any of the possibilities?

Use the comments area below to share your thoughts with your fellow learners.

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This video is from the free online course:

The Online Educator: People and Pedagogy

The Open University