Saturday, April 16, 2022

Higher Education’s Least Significant Changes

Way back in 2013, EvoLLLution News suggested that the three biggest changes in Higher Education were: technology, non-traditional students, and declining budgets. However, technology has been changing education since the invention of writing. Each new communications technology (radio, TV, the Internet) is decried by traditionalists and over hyped by the enthusiasts. Then it is slotted in to supplement what already is in use, not radically change anything.

 Education, when well designed, meets the needs of the students. It seems every few years, someone at a traditional academic research university discovers there are a whole lot of mature students who need vocational education, at calls this a discovery, while those at the vocational institution down the road keep providing the sort of piratical learning these students have needed for decades. I have seen this first hand when giving a seminar at an Oxbridge university, to which the teachers from the polytechnic down the road were invited. What I was talking about was new and challenging to the locals, but just everyday work for the people down the road.

Budgets are always a concern for any organisation. Academics at public universities seem to think they should be exempt from competition, and just be given a guaranteed, ever increasing budget, regardless of the quality of their work. Sorry, but the world doesn't work like that.

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