Anya Kamenetz (DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education) continues to examine the evolving role of traditional institutions of higher learning in a constantly changing social media landscape in this interview with Higher Education Management Group.
KCH: You’ve suggested that higher education will witness a further “unbundling” of its services and activities. What are the most significant implications of this change for institutions? Instructors? Students?
Institutions will be compelled to specialize and focus on what they do best, to pool resources and avoid duplication. No more trying to be all things to all people. The traditional roles of faculty have been under threat for awhile as underpaid adjuncts and graduate students increasingly fill classroom hours. Some faculty are seizing on new technological tools as ways to improve their teaching and also save time, while others are acting entrepreneurially to combine research with real work experience for students. Some new institutions are hiring more faculty who are teaching specialists, while others like Western Governors’ University have fully “unbundled” the role of the faculty into separate cadres of mentors, curricular specialists, and assessment specialists.
For students, the future is exciting because it means more choices, but also more responsibility. Smart students will try to assemble a learning experience that is specialized, affordable and accessible by combining online, open resources, experiential learning and conventional classroom time.