Higher education in a changing world | Careers update

Higher education in a changing world | Careers update

Recently, Catherine Friday from EY, co-author of the report, The peak of higher education — a new world for the university of the future, was interviewed to discuss the massive disruption in the learning sector over the last eight months. This report was written to build upon Ms Friday’s previous papers, Can the universities of today lead learning for tomorrow? (2018) and University of the future (2012).

The preamble for the 2018 report, prepared for the Australian Government, starts with:

“Imagine closing your eyes and waking up on 1 January, 2030”, and the new report continued with the 2030 theme, posing four ‘What if?’ scenarios for university Vice Chancellors to consider. Key messages in the responses focused on digital adaptation of learning strategies and the exploration of what a university campus may look like in 2030.

In this recent interview, Ms Friday acknowledged that universities have pivoted their business to provide access to their products online, perhaps 10 years earlier than anticipated as discussed in the report.

She questioned the campus approach to learning, suggesting that universities are being forced to consider what value a designated learning space has for students. Certainly, aspects of the university experience like attending lectures alongside cohort of 200 other students don’t speak to a bespoke learning experience, which was reflected in this comment in the 2018 report:

“With this in mind, we suggest universities should consider the potential to…make the shift from being faculty-focused to learner-centric [and] re-imagine the physical campus for the digital world.”

When we speak to our students of the range of employment options that they may take up, that haven’t been created yet, we are reminded that it is also the case that the range of ways they will learn, similarly, haven’t yet been imagined.

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