Higher education is experiencing rapid change due to developments in information technology which are creating new opportunities. People are finding new ways to gain experience and the skills they need for pursuing a career; they are discovering careers which they never knew existed. The internet is awash with ideas on this topic. Suppliers are active in providing new opportunities.
To understand these change I have enrolled in online courses, at no cost – see websites for Coursera and Udacity amongst others – and with the opportunity to interact online with faculty and students from around the world. I have tried history courses and ones dealing with the future of the university. Reactions and changes include:
1. The University of Phoenix is an e-learning university with no campus or buildings. It can offer a new course within six days by accessing online resources anywhere in the world.
2. Employers who complain of students being ill-prepared for the workforce are asked to provide input for the curriculum and opportunities for training.
3. Costs are falling in many areas, especially hiring full-time faculty, building and maintaining physical facilities. Other costs may arise but the net effect is to reduce the cots of higher education.
4. Students will have to take more responsibility for discovering the programs they want to take and finding ways to access these programs. The programs may originate anywhere in the world. Students and faculty may be from any place with an internet connection.
Major changes have already occurred in the music, video and publishing industries due to communications technology. A similar impact will take place in higher education which will hopefully alleviate some of the high student borrowing costs.