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The educational landscape is shifting under our feet. Georgia Tech’s decision to offer a name-brand master’s degree in computer science at a strikingly low price is only the most dramatic example of the host of innovations that are reshaping higher education.

The next 24 to 36 months are likely to see dramatic shifts in the way that education is delivered and consumed.

  • Many textbooks will be free and will be supplemented by high quality interactive digital content that will include animations, simulations, online laboratories, serious games, and immersive learning environments.
  • Many classes will not have a fixed calendar, a uniform start date, or a 15-week semester and will focus on competencies rather than seat time.
  • Large lecture classes in big auditoriums will decline in number as alternate modes of delivery – accelerated courses, web-enhanced courses, fully online classes, competency based modules, emporium-supplemented courses, and machine learning – proliferate.

The disruptions generated by the introduction of new technologies into higher education are likely to accelerate in the next few years.

  • More classes will move partially or fully online.
  • e-advising systems will collect data on each student's progress and risk of failure and help students select courses.
  • Personalized adaptive pedagogies will provide many students individualized pathways through the course material in pinch point or bottleneck classes.
  • Social learning – in which students share notes, conduct video chats, collaborate in online projects, and communicate with students at other institutions – will become commonplace.
  • New kinds of credentials – including badges, certificates, and specializations – will spread.

The factors driving these innovations are well-known. Partly, the pressure is economic. The current business model of public higher education – which depends heavily on public support and internal cross-subsidies -- is eroding as public funding lags behind rising costs, resistance to tuition increases mounts, and more students receive college credit in high school, from community colleges, and from online providers.

But also contributing to change is a paradigm shift, as the faculty-centered classroom gives way to a learner-centered approach, as a one-size-fits-all pedagogy is gradually replaced instruction tailored to individual student needs, and as approaches designed to separate the wheat from the chaff are replaced by a success agenda.

We invite you to consider submitting a 500 to 800 contribution “Higher Ed Beta.” We look

forward to your pitches, ideas, and full postings so that “Higher Ed Beta” can serve as a forum where we, collaboratively, can drive the future of higher education.

Higher Ed Beta will present, twice weekly, insights from those who are on the front lines of developing and creating novel, interactive, next generation teaching and learning experiences. It will provide a digital commons where learning innovators can share their insights and experiences.

Topics can range widely, and might include:

  • Using technology to enhance on-campus education.
  • Strategies for engaging faculty to embrace new teaching paradigms.
  • Research into technology-enhanced education.
  • Practical advice about next generation pedagogies, instructional design, course delivery.
  • Institutional policies regarding intellectual property, faculty compensation and workloads, tenure implications, academic credit, and outsourcing of services.

We invite you to join us as partners as we reimagine 21st century higher education.

Steven Mintz

Michael Patrick Rutter

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