In New York City on 12 June, the World Economic Forum brought together senior university administrators, faculty staff and entrepreneurs in online education and university ventures to discuss online learning. Everyone is talking about this “tsunami”, which could have the same impact on higher education as the Internet has had on printed newspapers.
The debate centred on what future universities will look like as a whole, not just their online components. The participants strongly agreed that education is broader than content. There is still some concern that the physical intimacy and intellectual proximity found on a real-world campus would be lost in the virtual space. But the conclusion is that some blend of offline and online education is inevitable.
It is already happening
There are several reasons these conversations are happening now, and we face an inflection point for institutions that have otherwise been thriving for many decades – centuries, in some cases. These reasons are being debated at length in academic circles and mainstream media.
Online is already an accepted norm
All agreed that students’ expectations are changing now that the digital world has become a reality. For this generation, teaching and interaction within the online space is as natural as offline. Evidence suggests that rates of placement, retention and academic performance are just as good online as offline. Online degrees are now well-tested and proven....
The student at centre stage