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15 innovations impacting higher education

Adelphi University Centers for Sport and Performing Arts, Garden City, N.Y. Phot
Adelphi University Centers for Sport and Performing Arts, Garden City, N.Y. Photo: Courtesy Cannon Design
July 31, 2013

I feel compelled to share this The Chronicle of Higher Education article focused on the current higher-education revolution we find ourselves immersed in. The piece acknowledges the many challenges facing higher education currently, including economic and demographic shifts coupled with mounting criticism focused on low graduation rates, unacceptable levels of student engagement and questions about its overall value. However, the article stakes its biggest claim that the most significant challenges facing higher education are the changing ways students are consuming it.

Steven Mintz, executive director of the University of Texas system’s Institute for Transformational Learning, authors the piece and suggests that colleges must become more nimble, entrepreneurial, student-focused and accountable for what students learn. He then highlights 15 predictions for innovations that will alter the face of higher education over the next 36 months.

As a market-smart design firm that works with a number of clients in the education sphere, it’s imperative that we understand the innovation challenges and opportunities they face. If more students are consuming their education online – how can we better optimize space on campuses to allow for this? If higher education is focusing more on data-driven decision making, how can we best help them plan their futures based on this data?

I’ve included all of Steven Mintz predictions below for reading, commenting, brainstorming and sharing:

Innovation 1: e-Advising

Why do only half of college students graduate? Noncognitive factors seem pivotal, and social disconnection appears to be a crucial factor. When students feel alone, they withdraw and eventually give up. Conversely, students who feel part of a community persist. Another key factor is a lack of direction: Many students accumulate wasted credit hours. Sophisticated e-advising systems will monitor student engagement and degree planning, send out automated warnings, and signal faculty and academic advisers about impending trouble, thus helping ensure that students remain on a path to graduation.

Innovation 2: Evidence-based pedagogy

Instructional design will be increasingly informed by the science of learning, with a greater emphasis on learning objectives, mastery of key competencies, and assessments closely aligned to learning goals. Courses will incorporate more social learning, more active learning, and more real-world assessments.

Read the full post by Cannon Design's Patricia Bou at the Cannon Design Blog.


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