The Future of Higher Education

Jul 27, 2012

A majority of technology stakeholders polled in a Web-based survey anticipate that higher education in 2020 will be quite different from the way it is today. They said university-level education will adopt new methods of teaching and certification driven by opportunity, economic concerns and student and parent demands.

In the Pew Internet/Elon University survey of 1,021 Internet experts, researchers, observers and users, 60% agreed with a statement that by 2020 “there will be mass adoption of teleconferencing and distance learning to leverage expert resources … a transition to ‘hybrid’ classes that combine online learning components with less-frequent on-campus, in-person class meetings.” Some 39% agreed with an opposing statement that said, “in 2020 higher education will not be much different from the way it is today.”

Among the majority expecting much more dependence upon online components in higher education in the future, many bemoaned it. “They are worried over the adoption of technology-mediated approaches that they fear will lack the personal, face-to-face touch they feel is necessary for effective education,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project. “Most noted that economic forces will compel the changes. Yet, a share of this group was excited about the possibility for universities to leverage new online capabilities and peer-to-peer collaborations that they believe would enhance knowledge creation and sharing.”

Read the full report, The Future of Higher Education, on the Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project's website

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