The mix of economic pressures on students and universities, combined with the coming demographic changes in students as well as a decade of state disinvestment in public education, has forced many higher education institutions to transform or die.
In short, higher education has reached a point of no return, writes LSU Vice Provost of Digital and Continuing Education Sasha Thackaberry in an essay published by WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies. WCET is a nonprofit focused on improving the quality and reach of technology-enhanced learning programs.
Into the current make-or-break landscape for colleges comes the “Shadow Education Sector,” which is increasingly less shadowy. This category encompasses boot camps and a variety of micro-credentials from the providers formerly known as MOOCs.
So what does all that mean to non-academics? Higher education must rapidly change, becoming more flexible in how and where it educates students and tailoring services to fit the needs of both students and the workforce they hope to join.
Thackaberry says these developments bring into question whether traditional universities, like LSU, will keep being relevant in the same way they have been. Read Thackaberry’s full essay on WCET’s website.