• September 30, 2014

Tomorrow's College

The classroom of the future features face-to-face, online, and hybrid learning. And the future is here.

Tomorrow's College 1

Matt Stroshane for The Chronicle

Jennifer Black (wearing purple), a student at the U. of Central Florida, starts her day in a class on legal issues in hospitality and tourism.

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close Tomorrow's College 1

Matt Stroshane for The Chronicle

Jennifer Black (wearing purple), a student at the U. of Central Florida, starts her day in a class on legal issues in hospitality and tourism.

Jennifer Black isn't a fan of technology. Until college, she didn't know much about online classes. If the stereotypical online student is a career-minded adult working full time, she's the opposite—a dorm-dwelling, ballet-dancing, sorority-joining 20-year-old who throws herself into campus life here at the University of Central Florida.

Yet in the past year, the junior hospitality major has taken classes online, face to face, and in a blended format featuring elements of both. This isn't unusual: More than half of the university's 56,000 students will take an online or blended class this year, and nearly 2,700 are taking all three modes at once.

As online education goes mainstream, it's no longer just about access for distant learners who never set foot in the student union. Web courses are rewiring what it means to be a "traditional" student at places like Central Florida, one of the country's largest public universities. And UCF's story raises a question for other colleges: Will this mash-up of online and offline learning become the new normal elsewhere, too?

Signs suggest yes. The University System of Maryland now requires undergraduates to take 12 credits in alternative learning modes, including online. Texas has proposed a similar rule. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is pushing to have 25 percent of credits earned online by 2015. And the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pointing to UCF as a model, has made blended learning a cornerstone of its new $20-million education-technology grant program.


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These players pin their hopes on Web classes as a panacea that will expand access, speed up the time spent earning a degree, save money, manage classroom needs, and much more.

The trend toward online courses for campus students can be a head scratcher. Why pay to go away to college if you're going to sit in your dorm room taking online classes?

Control over course schedules, for one thing. Alexander Harrison, 20, a junior majoring in accounting and finance at Central Florida, often prefers watching lectures online to enduring a two-and-a-half-hour class in person. Web courses also free up time for more campus involvement, be that playing baseball or joining the belly-dancing club.

Or sleeping in.

The convenience of online classes can be a slacker's paradise. Schedule the right mix, and you might not have to face a live professor before 1:30 in the afternoon. Which means you can stay out until 4 in the morning and still sleep nearly eight hours. Not only that: Some students talk about online classes being so easy a caveman could pass them. In a test, there's no one telling you that you can't look at the book, says Ariel Hatten, 20, a junior and nursing major who considers her online class an easy A.

"No one enforces you to do the right thing" in an online course, Ms. Hatten says. "It's at your discretion. I care about my grade, so if I don't know the answer, I'm not gonna let myself fail when I have an opportunity to look in the book."

This is the good and not-so-good news as universities move from bricks and mortar to clicks and mortar. The Chronicle spent three days trailing Ms. Black, Mr. Harrison, and Ms. Hatten to get a closer look at how that shift is changing the student experience—and how students feel about their growing digital freedom. Here's what we found.

 


 

It's 9:30 a.m., and a hospitality-law class is under way. In a campus auditorium whose plush red seats have the feel of a movie theater, Arthur D. Sims engrosses his students in a case study. The focus: a college student who went skinny dipping at a wild resort party and got his penis stuck in the suction hole of a swimming pool.

Ms. Black, who has the relentlessly chipper personality of a tour guide, looks down from the fourth row in disbelief. "Oh my gosh, this is disgusting," she mutters.

Maybe, but it's also an engaging segue into the legal concept of negligence for several dozen groggy students who were out tailgating at last night's football game.

For UCF, this kind of course is an increasingly rare breed: purely face to face. For Ms. Black, it's the start of a packed day that will shift between on- and offline study as naturally as changing gears on a car.

After several minutes of hilarity, Mr. Sims arrives at his point. The skinny dipper sued and won because the cap was missing from the hole. Forty-eight-thousand dollars, he says, "for a romantic encounter with the pool." His hook baited, Mr. Sims descends from the stage and prowls the auditorium, quizzing students on the peculiarities of negligence law.

Ms. Black calls Mr. Sims "a pretty cool professor." But she could not manage all her courses in his low-tech style. Her hospitality major and dance minor add up to a 20-credit course load this semester. Plus, she's a resident assistant, works at a nearby Marriott, belongs to a Christian sorority, mentors elementary students, and dances in "The Nutcracker" back home in Jacksonville. "I don't like to have downtime," she says.

There isn't much downtime in her schedule. The hybrid class she has next—a fast-growing style here—helps her pull off that packed course load.

 


 

When Central Florida began experimenting with online courses in the mid-1990s, it didn't expect demand from on-campus students like Ms. Black. Officials figured they'd get students who lived far away. But early on, about 75 percent of online students were already on the campus or lived nearby.

That's a good thing, for a reason unrelated to technology: The university has a severe shortage of classroom space. It's a young institution, opened in 1968 in part as a training ground to prepare workers for the nearby Kennedy Space Center. It evolved from a commuter campus that was something of an academic afterthought in Florida to a place where the majority of students study full time. Enrollment shot from 21,000 in 1991 to 56,000 today. So much building accompanied the student boom, the running joke is that UCF stands for "Under Construction Forever."

The university remains 40 percent short on classroom space. One of its coping strategies is invisible on a campus dotted with new buildings—football stadium, basketball arena, pastel dorms—that scream Traditional State U.

UCF has become a hybrid university.

For Ms. Black, that means the boisterous give-and-take of Mr. Sims's morning class gives way to lots of quiet clicking. Two of her courses are known as "blended" or "mixed mode," meaning class meets face to face only once a week, and the rest of the work is shifted online. The afternoon a reporter visits, she has time to kill before catching a shuttle to her dorm. So she plops her giant orange backpack at a table in the student union. Then, in a routine that's become as familiar as checking Facebook and e-mail, she logs on to UCF's course-management software and enters the digital classroom of one of her blended courses.

First she mouses over to the green stars that indicate new content has been posted. For her finance class, there's a quiz on Chapter 4. Basic stuff—10 questions, open book. And there's also a discussion question to answer: "What is working capital, and where is it listed on the balance sheet?"

"That's more or less your participation for the class," she says.

Blended classes generate the highest student evaluations of any learning mode at Central Florida, and, like her classmates, Ms. Black is a fan. She gets as much from the online work as she would from more time in class, she says. Plus, the free time helps make it easier for her to do dance.

One of her mixed-mode professors, Youngsoo Choi, likes the online component for another reason: It makes students grapple with material before they meet for class. At least, he hopes it does. Mr. Choi, who teaches tourism management, worries some students may view the reduced class schedule as time off.

"I still have a phobia and a concern," he says. "Maybe I should still talk about a few basic things to some of the students who probably enjoyed the football yesterday and didn't do anything for the class."

Ms. Black takes official mixed-mode courses, but other students customize their own unofficial blends. For example, Mr. Harrison, the accounting major, takes a business class with more than 1,000 students. The lectures are given live, he says, in a room that fits 68. Some students show up more than an hour early for a seat, but attendance isn't mandatory. Students can also watch online videos of the lectures any time. Mr. Harrison catches some lectures and skips others. He likes the freedom of these video classes. Learning online can also be a challenge.

"You can walk through the library, and literally, you'll see students who are watching a lecture but also have Facebook open right behind it," he says. "And, it's sort of like, 'How much time are you spending on each frame? Are you actively taking notes, or are you just chatting with your friends?' There's a lot of distractions that come with putting courses on the Internet."

 


 

Talk with some professors and administrators, and they say today's students like Web courses because their generation lives online. Mr. Harrison's remark reflects the more complicated picture you hear from students themselves, especially when it comes to fully online classes.

Mr. Harrison, who attended a private high school with a graduating class of 38, never thought he would have to take classes on the Web. Once the shaggy-haired fraternity rusher learned to manipulate the system, though, he ended up handling so much of his course work online that his actual butt-at-a-desk class time has shrunk to about six hours a week. Since he began at UCF in 2008, six of his courses have included a large online component. "It's such a crazy mix," he says. "Each semester is a new experience."

His first experience with an online course was a struggle. He got lazy. He'd tell himself, I'll watch the lecture between 2 and 4 p.m. Something would come up. He'd say, I'll watch two tomorrow. He fell behind. There was no help. He got a C.

That's the kind of trouble Susan J. Wegmann strives to avoid. The associate professor of education will e-mail students, call them, tweet them, Facebook them, chat with them—use any available safety net. "I tell them, 'Listen, I don't want you to think that I'm stalking you or anything, but I will certainly try to get ahold of you if you're not turning in work and participating,'" she says. Some are adolescents, she notes. Most don't have online experience.

Ms. Hatten, the nursing major, did—from her father.

An electrician-turned-foreman, he tried studying management online. His daughter would help him on weekends, explaining how to do things like format an essay. He couldn't finish the degree for financial reasons.

Ms. Hatten is having better luck with her online medical-terminology class. To demonstrate how it works, she sets up camp in a quiet room on the third floor of the student union, next to a giant lizard wearing a UCF jersey. She learns through interactive software. The computer offers activities like dragging the term "peripheral nerves" to the correct spot on a picture of the body. It chimes when she gets it right. Beyond course announcements, Ms. Hatten's interactions with the professor have been limited to one e-mail exchange.

"It's wonderful," she says of the class.

Educators who prize human contact would probably say it isn't. Then again—compared with what?

The next day, Ms. Hatten attends a physiology class in a lecture hall in a nearby building on campus. Students struggle to understand as a professor with a thick accent drones through slides about terms like "hematopoiesis."

Ms. Hatten whispers, "She's really nice. But she doesn't teach very well."

Some students look spaced out. Some surf Facebook. Others text.

The most interactive moment comes when the professor announces that she plans to grade a test on a curve, and the class cheers.

The scene evokes a quote UCF's online officials like to share.

If you want to encounter distance education, a student once said, sit in the back of a 500-seat lecture.

Comments

1. mswoolley - November 01, 2010 at 08:16 am

Well written article. It really provides good insight to why a blend of class types is needed to meet the needs of a diverse student population, especially working adults.

2. tuxthepenguin - November 01, 2010 at 08:48 am

If this means I can teach a class with the expectation that students will actually do something on their own (not just the good students, but all of them), I'm all for it. Shift the burden from the production of entertaining lectures to helping them learn on their own. Convert three credit classes to five credits, require 40% of the work to be done on their own, reduce the total number of classes students take, and we'll have a much higher quality product.

3. cmletamendi - November 01, 2010 at 09:16 am

I have taken a good number of online classes in the past, and to be honest, I think I really prefer the face to face interaction with the professor and my fellow classmates. I feel I learn better when I'm in that academic "thought cloud" which can only rise in the midst of other classmates and a professor invoking thought and conversations. I am so glad I took the bulk of my advanced Finance and Investments courses face to face, I think I probably would have not done well at all had I taken these classes onilne in a "self taught" environment. Here's a thought: The university of Cambridge in the U.K, DOES NOT offer online classes...hmm... I wonder why. I don't think the university should cater to the student's needs, I think it should be the other way around. Let's see if in these next few years, online learning can fill in the voids that it currently has and can maximize that kind of learning experience.

C.M. Letamendi, MBA
letamend@nova.edu

4. trendisnotdestiny - November 01, 2010 at 09:24 am

@ tux

I recognize and understand your frustration teaching students who do not fulfill expectations. It is a reality (especially with the written word and assigned readings). However, I take a bit of a different view than yours.

Tux, shifting the burden of production is a neoliberal phrase used to describe an economic model disguised as social darwinistic rhetoric of accountability and self-reliance. We have already seen this shift from public spending to privately funded resources for education during the last few decades. The middle class has already been experiencing a shift of burden (401K's, Housing, College Tuition and Healthcare while corporate taxes have been historically low). Nonetheless, when structures allow of imbalances to accrue,there is always a battle for the correct narrative to explain them. But education is different.

The major burden that you speak already has been shifted (an expensive debt for diploma process of job training). The problem lies in the commodification of higher education where the student is the CEO of their own academic journey, often times without very much perspective, a lof of pressure to succeed and a large level of indebted. My point is this shift of burden has been occurring now for several decades (hidden in the ethos of faux left-right debates and scholarly cycles of grant-writing/publishing)

Teaching and learning are inextricably linked in a shared process. It is a balance of burden not an outsourcing. While I do not hear in your writing that teachers abdicate segments of their productive selves for research interests, it is only one excuse away during a busy fall or spring day: "its up to them". Our role is to avoid 'over-essentializing' outcomes and learn with our students what the best way to connect them to material as an evolving process where we accept developing students as unique or talented; not as a monolith of unproductive students that do not live up to our expectations.

This is basic parenting 101, if you want success concentrate on the process not the outcomes (especially if you people to understand)....

5. trendisnotdestiny - November 01, 2010 at 09:27 am

Edits: (delete "of" between allow and imbalances)
(spelling: indebtedness)
(if you WANT people to understand)

6. washingtonwarrior - November 01, 2010 at 09:53 am

I would never attend an institution as undergad that requires a min. number of online classes. That's ridiculous and lazy on the part of the school. Hopefully admins. take note and realize students are not receiving a quality education by taking classes online. UCF might as well spell Phoenix or Kaplan...

7. kmellendorf - November 01, 2010 at 10:07 am

I appreciate the article as a set of observations to be interpreted. My interpretation in many ways agrees with the direction of the comments by "trendisnotdestiny".
Regardless of what it can look like, most of the responsibility is already on the students. In a standard 3 credit-hour course, a student is expected to spend at least six hours per week out of class studying and doing work for the class. Students who intend to get an "A" will often devote an average of 9 personal hours to the class. The same number of study hours will be needed in an online class if the student is to take more than a list of facts and a grade onward to the next semester's courses and then to a career.
Initially, such a method can appear to involve less work for the instructor. After creating the online homework, online tests and online presentations, preparation time is temporarily reduced. Like in-class courses, however, we must still adapt to new situations and new students from semester to semester. When a borderline student lacks motivation in a thirty-five student classroom, an attentive instructor can notice the difficulty. A little push can often help that student decide that learning is a worthwhile task.

In a class of five hundred, such students can easily be missed. The good students will do well in any situation. The students that do not want to learn will do poorly, often just enough to get by, in almost any situation. The group that concerns me are the in-between students, the students that have not yet decided whether they are going somewhere or going nowhere. It has been my experience in all of life, not just classrooms, that this middle portion gets lost as a statistic in very large non-personal environments.

8. a_voice - November 01, 2010 at 10:07 am

I am a student at the University of Phoenix and my classes have not been easy As, contrary to how one student described her online class at the University of Central Florida. Just like face-to-face classes, not all online classes are equal.

9. archman - November 01, 2010 at 10:37 am

Tomorrow's (and today's) classroom is a cheaper one. The bottom line will always be cost efficiency for minimum educational quality. With reduced state support, ballooning admin costs, and raised instructor workloads, the "minimum educational quality" contines to erode.

The big push for hybrid and online is primarily for cost-savings and profit generation. The line of thinking closely parallels that for the 500-seat classroom, as the end of the article comments upon.

Watch and see how online courses develop. I predict steady increases in class sizes over time, now that we are no longer constrained by the fire marshal by how many warm bodies we can pack into a room.

Online education will eventually denigrate into the 500-seat classroom, minus the classroom.

10. dvacchi - November 01, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Tux good comment - I would disagree with trendistodestiny's analysis of your comments. I don't feel you're saying students should do your work, I feel you're saying students should learn how to learn by doing work they have not been doing for the past 40 or so years (as a group and over generalization to make a point).

Trend - you have to look at the comments from the University of Phoenix student, realizing this is currently the exception rather than the rule, and keep an open mind about online learning. If you pay attention to what the UCF nursing student is saying, what they seem to get is streaming recorded content, which is not online learning and drives #3 and #6 to make comments as they do (based only on their limited experiences, like you).

There are certain courses that lend themselves to online learning and might even have components that are simply recorded content. Others might have students writing and posting comments in structured discussion threads and have requirements to provide critical feedback based on a rubric. Still others may simply use the online learning environment as a repository for easy storage and recall of data, such a PowerPoints and links to online content to share with the whole class.

I've only been exposed to Neo-liberalism as a concept for about a year and I'm already sick of hearing all the crying about it. There's no universe in which an entity can operate at a loss indefinitely. If you're already in the red (most public institutions) and you're charging ahead to bring in more students, the only thing you can do is seek efficiencies. Call is Neo-liberalism if you want, but I call it an attempt to preserve the academy in the face of annihilation. Come back from the la-la land of the 1800s and live in the now.
peace

11. trendisnotdestiny - November 01, 2010 at 12:45 pm

@ dvacchi,

Totalizing all of online learning into one box does not indicate so many strengths as you point out. And naturally (as I conceded already)there is a reality to the student-teacher relationship which does revolve around individual effort and accountability.

However, to miss the overall market opportunity for higher education in terms of online learning (cutting costs and streamlining revenues) while espousing the belief that many students and teachers are limited in their experiences with online learning is neoliberal in itself. What you miss is how this whole system has been engineered to be gutted and reconstructed to resemble a private corporation (during the precise period that you point to students struggling over the past forty years)...

The reason we are in the red is the real question you should asking instead of touting a business centric agenda which decries the urgency of our financial backdrop. Also, you might ask yourself who has profited over this time period and who has undergone an exercise in penury (that a $15 library card and a bus pass could have purchased). Please sell commodified education somewhere else!

12. kurtx - November 01, 2010 at 02:01 pm

I, too, see the pressure to translate higher education into deliverable online "content" (surely many of us have heard faculty described as "content providers") as a fundamental transformation of education into a commodity. It had not occurred me to see this process as one of commodification until reading the comments on this thread, but it sounds and feels right to me.

At the same time I am intrigued by the idea that some of the fundamental intellectual skills of value in the future can *only* be taught online. That seems to me to be the necessary condition - and right now at least the only justifiable reason - for requiring students to take a class online.

13. tuxthepenguin - November 01, 2010 at 02:11 pm

A couple clarifications of my earlier comment.

My use of the term "product" is done in a somewhat (strange?) mocking sense, where I only use that terminology because others use it. I think a good education is not a product but an experience. Kind of like the difference between a lecture about how to punch and someone beating you up. Only getting beat up is an education. Nonetheless the current culture views us as providing a product not an experience.

As for the meaning of online education, I view it as pretty much anything that takes place online rather than in a classroom. Personal interaction is important, and cannot be replaced in an online course, but unfortunately the 'give the customer what she wants' mentality largely limits us to _only_ worrying about the personal interactions. One example would be to require students to research a topic and write about it, periodically submitting versions for feedback.

14. trendisnotdestiny - November 01, 2010 at 03:09 pm

@ tux

QUOTE
"I think a good education is not a product but an experience. Kind of like the difference between a lecture about how to punch and someone beating you up. Only getting beat up is an education. Nonetheless the current culture views us as providing a product not an experience."

Shouldn't we as educators be speaking with students rather than at them. Also, while you may want to take back the analogy, I thought our role was to educate people to work through differences not lecture or 'beat them into academic submission'. There are many with that 'experience' that deserved a more thoughtful process over the years.

Lastly Tux, you might lose the part that links education with beating people up.

15. 11134078 - November 01, 2010 at 03:56 pm

Pondering this article has brought me to a suggestion that if acted upon will save Florida taxpayers a bit of money: close UCF, for surely it is not serious about university level education.

16. gahnett - November 01, 2010 at 05:26 pm

Given the different ways students learn, why should we expect to stick to a single protocol for learning if others exist?

If it's available and it can engage the student, then we should use it. Teachers should also be up to date on different modalities and incorporate it if it's useful.

Try it. You might like it.

17. ktho1856 - November 01, 2010 at 07:00 pm

While it is always interesting to hear the situated opinions of readers posted in blog comments, it is often instructive to let inquiry-based evidence speak for itself.

If you have a priori misgivings about the quality of online and hybrid courses, perhaps the following illustrative (not exhaustive) list will be a useful starting place as you seek evidence:

BEYOND STUDENT PERCEPTIONS: ISSUES OF INTERACTION, PRESENCE, AND PERFORMANCE IN AN ONLINE COURSE
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.98.6506&rep=rep1&type=pdf


Analysis of Large Web-Based Courses at the University of Central Florida
http://www.editlib.org/?fuseaction=Reader.ViewFullText&paper_id=16884

Supporting the Hybrid Learning Model: A New Proposition
http://k55.nu.edu/resources/SPL/collateral/uploadedFiles/Supporting_the_Hybrid_Learning_Model.pdf


Using Quality Assurance Strategies for Online Programs
https://www.aace.org/pubs/etr/issue3/Lee.pdf

18. cechulvick - November 02, 2010 at 09:14 am

A great range of opinion and comment has benn presented in and in reaction to the article. I hope to benefit from the insights of Tux and others who have thoughtful concerns about changes in teaching and learning.

However, I obviously cannot truly benefit from their insights until we get together in a room so they can present them to me in person.

19. austinbarry - November 02, 2010 at 09:20 am

Some material is, and always has been, better suited to online (or non-classroom) instruction. The example of the "pin the term to the body part" vs a long lecture on medical terms comes to mind.

20. spellettieri - November 02, 2010 at 11:23 am

Great article. Is there a tuition discount for online classes? I think there should be since students are not occupying a bricks and mortar building and not getting face to face interaction. In any event we are on the verge of some major breakthroughs in the way we learn (thx to technology).
By the way a great site for managing group projects online is
Enterthegroup.com

21. archman - November 02, 2010 at 02:20 pm

A discount on tuition for an online course may look good at first glance, but looking deeper one may find that the opposite may be more appropriate.

Online classes tend to take up more instructor prep and management time than traditional courses. The lack of face-to-face time actually makes some communication modes far more difficult, rather than the reverse. I have heard this from so many hybrid and online course instructors now (myself included), that I believe it to be the norm rather than the exception.

At all the public schools I am aware of, online courses charge higher rates than traditional classes. I do not think this illogical or unfair. Unless one is teaching a "course in a can" (which many online courses unfortunately are), an online or hybrid course is not any simpler or easier.

In terms of non-instructor costs, you have cost of classroom space vs. cost of computer resources to maintain & develop online/hybrid course? Toss up? I do know that the funds universities need to maintain and upgrade their computer infrastructure are rising just as fast as U.S. health care costs. Hardware and software support (especially software licensing) is a HUGE chunk of university budgets now.

22. mgre6660 - November 02, 2010 at 05:19 pm

A student who graduate from this very program told me that at least in her dormitory the University of Central Florida has a non-optional charge for maid service. That seems deeply wrong to me...

23. michaeledits - November 04, 2010 at 09:06 am

A good comprehensive look at an interesting topic.

24. betterschools - November 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm

I appreciated how effortlessly this article takes the reader below the overheated rhetoric, down to the level of the learner and the classroom. I found it well done and informative.

- @dvacchi, I appreciated your comments, especially with respect to the importance of seeking and being open to changes that improve learning, reduce costs and, if we are fortunate, both. I, too, am tiring of the neoliberal rant, although it source seems limited to 2-3 individuals. The "don't you see the neoliberals behind the bush" agenda may alert us to important risks and concerns. On the other hand, it borders on paranoia in the way it selectively collects and interprets world affairs, conveniently leaving conflicting evidence on the side of its ersatz theoretical road.

One factual perspective that needs to be inserted into this discussion is relative cost. I have examined the online and conventional budgets of a few dozen colleges and universities every year since 1989. In all comparable cases, delivering online education costs about the same as delivering on-ground education. However, as one poster noted, the internal cost allocations are different. There are exceptions. When large publics and programs like Harvard's professional continuing education enroll hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of students in an online class, the per student costs are substantially less and the profits are high. For the ethically minded professional, however, it is unthinkable to enroll such numbers and call the product "education." Most schools who take a systematic (i.e., open-minded, inquisitive, and empirically guided) approach to online education have discovered that class size optimizes, from both directions, around 14-18 students. It is not coincidence that these numbers reflect the average class size for the most successful, large online programs.

The contribution of online education to higher education's runaway cost and affordability crises lies more in the form of increased access and the resultant economies of scale and scope than in the potential for reduced costs. With a little attention, the costs of all learning platforms can be reduced at the same time quality is increased.

25. arrive2__net - November 12, 2010 at 05:59 pm

Its and interesting and personalized article, but its tough to say whether the students in the article are truly representative of UCF, or of modern universities in general.

If someone were writing a science fiction story, or even a historical account, of how higher education made a huge fundamental adaptation from the world of 1899 to 2050, would the current stage of development be a logical necessity, and where will this end up? Very small scale and intellectually elite colleges give way to the massive factory universities ... of the future? Yet, of necessity, the human side of the institution is still there adapting to the very large change in scale.

Forces outside highered include previously unserved, shunned populations, who nevertheless have been asked to chip in their tax dollars. Also pressuring highered are industrial and technology interests who want universities to take up enough of "the great unwashed" to provide the workers and innovations they require. India and China seem poised to make such a transition, but what about the United States...busy with its wars and political divisions?

Maybe the higher education system will divide into two, with surviving traditional colleges being, in effect, one marketplace, and the huge universities and their follower institutions being the another. If so, these systems will compete. Perhaps it has already happened.

Bernard Schuster
Arrive2.net

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