Is there a bright future for higher education? If there is one industry or institution that is invested in and given importance for tomorrow, it is the university. However, its struggles with self-reinvention manifest themselves as a bombshell that endangers its own future and, why not say it, that of society.
Sounds a bit fateful, doesn’t it? This is how Rohit Talwar begins this interesting article (which you can find in its original version here) and precisely talks about these practices that will allow us to project ourselves into tomorrow, which, frankly, is already catching up with us.
The world is changing rapidly, so more and more professionals are required to provide solutions to more complex problems. They are looking for an education that offers them those foundations, and we cannot offer it if we continue to operate under the traditional model.
We must teach them the skills to address the new challenges and literally not die trying. We are facing generations like the Millennial generation, made up of young people who need a purpose, who need knowledge and information here and now, because if they do not feel they have the capacity, they will fall straight into frustration. If you want to know more about their mentality, I invite you to read my post: Millennials and Centennials, who are they and why should we care?
B-Learning or blended learning
We have heard a lot about e-learning, so much so that it was the order of the day for quite some time. However, models such as blended learning emerged as a “possibility for improvement”, with the aim of offering the best of both worlds: the real and the virtual, and also making the student the protagonist of his or her own learning process.
Such was its success that the financial, telecommunications, energy and pharmaceutical industries all said yes. Universities, for their part, should also become participants, not only as demanders, but also as providers.
Community learning centers
According to Talwar, universities could become true community centers, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The purpose? Students could participate in any class, give their own lectures so that the whole process does not fall solely on the teaching staff, and participate in research groups.
I believe that this would also give a social sense to the university, allowing flexible access for those with limited schedules and infrastructure, even becoming the perfect place to execute innovative projects of a different nature.
Following on a bit from the previous point, universities should encourage those who drop out to learn what they want and need to learn, when they want to learn it. We must begin to become more flexible and understand that, especially the new generations, value the autonomous disposition of their time.
We must stop thinking that this is the way to retain them. They can find in non-formal education an option that fits their needs and if we have the possibility, why not do it.
Peer-to-peer self-assessment and grading
Using technology to enable students to engage in highly self-directed and constructive forms of self-assessment and evaluation could generate more meaningful learning experiences, even more so if it comes from their peers.
I agree with that position and, rather than relying on subjective assessments, more courses should require students to assess their own growth and learning, as well as that of their peers.