Latest Trends in Colleges for the year 2022 - 2023
The year 2020 has been difficult for everybody because of COVID-19, colleges too were not excluded from its impact. Since colleges/universities are among the most crowded places when classes are ongoing, it was difficult for college officials across the world to decide on which type of learning mode to use in a health crisis keeping in mind it does not jeopardize a student’s learning curve.
Leveraging of Big Data
Institutions of higher education—universities and colleges—are increasingly reliant on data. It gives any organization, educational ones included, an accurate idea of the state of the establishment and how it can grow. This is especially important as figures show that colleges are only just beginning to recover from an enrolment slump from 2011 to 2017.
Everywhere in the country, the industry is waking up to what Big Data can do for education, especially in preventing students from dropping out. For example, Purdue University is using data to develop a system called Course Signals, which helps predict issues that students may encounter. The system alerts both the students affected and the teachers when intervention or action may help correct academic or behavioural problems, thus, helping them reach their potential and reduce dropout rates. The university administration reports that since the system’s establishment in 2007, it has helped increase the grades of students as much as 28%.
And in line with the pandemic, several universities are leveraging big data analytics in monitoring and tracking the spread of the virus on their campuses. For instance, Boston University has launched its BU COVID-19 Testing Data Dashboard, which enables users to know the volume of conducted tests and the results of such tests. These are among the pressing reasons why higher education institutions are also turning to business intelligence software to sort through all the data they gather and make sense of them, especially when for life-and-death situations.
Competency Based Education (CBE)
Data isn’t the only thing that technology has given to institutions of higher education. It’s also how people learn. Examples of these new ways of learning and earning your stripes is a competency-based education, or CBE.
Simply put, a CBE allows students to learn at their own pace and style. In a CBE system, students are measured by how much they have mastered a subject or course instead of putting in the required time. Traditionally, sessions last about four months, but in a CBE, a student can immediately take an exam to measure their competency on the course and earn credit if they pass. This gives an advantage to students with life experience in a particular course and can even accelerate the student’s education.
The Department of Education also endorses CBE as an alternative learning model, saying that it leads to better student engagement and outcomes. Thanks to this glowing review, institutions are planning to develop competency-based programs in their existing courses in the next five years.
Probably one of the most important trends in the coming years is using the internet to earn credits or even a full degree. Also known as distance learning, online education is now on offer from colleges and universities. Not only does this make higher education more accessible, but it also makes it more affordable. It’s faster, too.
Online education is praised by educators and administrators nationwide because of its flexibility. Students need not be full-time students with online education: they can balance their studies with work, for example, or other personal matters. It also opens opportunities for students in a geographically remote location to pursue a degree program offered by a particular university without having to relocate.
And it’s not just the universities themselves that offer online degrees. Coursera is one of the biggest, allowing courses from several institutions to be accessed in one single platform.
Running a college or a university is an expensive endeavour, making these institutions reliant on federal funding and donations. This has been made more difficult because of the serious economic effects of COVID-19.
This means that by 2022, colleges and universities would have already searched for alternative ways to acquire funding to insulate themselves from a financial standpoint.
Another way to maximize student success is using a Guided Pathway system. Unlike traditional ways of higher education, Guided Pathways takes a more strategic approach. It uses a structured program map where students are guided at each choice. This prevents overwhelming students with the number and complexity of degree programs.
Another advantage is that it uses data to streamline the program for a student by way of a program map. It can use the same data to monitor the student’s progress. If they’re encountering roadblocks, Guided Pathways can recommend an action plan to improve the situation.
Also, Guided Pathways allows foreign students to experience better higher education. Guided Pathways also see positive results in other countries that use such a program. This has led to an increase in internationally mobile students.
The traditional age range for higher education is 18–24, but a lot of institutions are looking beyond the norm by trying to attract adults over this age. This is surprising for a lot of reasons. Four-year degree programs have mixed results when wooing post-traditional learners, thanks to outdated practices and rigid teaching methods that do not make much sense to this population. Even so, the National Center for Education Statistics believes that adult learners will increase through 2025.
College student trends 2020 aren’t just about young people. Some institutions are trying new ways to draw adult learners in.
MOOCs will Grow Exponentially
Massively open online courses are one of the best ways to be educated, especially after formal schooling and higher education. Coursera is one of the leading providers of MOOCs, along with edX and Udacity. 2020 was predicted to see a shift in how students avail of MOOCs in two ways.
First, MOOCs has become more flexible. This is something, as MOOCs are already designed to be flexible and open (hence the name). That said, MOOCs were originally envisioned like an online class, with a far stricter schedule and narrower source of materials, specified deadlines, and rigid milestones. This time, however, MOOCs has more leeway when it comes to submitting requirements and completing courses—and courses themselves will become far shorter.
Secondly, MOOCs has also become more premium, which entails some level of monetary cost—but not from your own pocket. Companies would likely pay for MOOCs thus filling the skill gaps in their ranks. A large multinational enterprise may go ahead and create a MOOC platform, such as SAP’s openSAP, where they could have total control of the educational materials that their employees are availing.
The widespread lockdowns because of the pandemic have caused a corresponding significant increase in MOOCs enrolments. For instance, Coursera had experienced a 640% increase in enrolment, while Udemy gained a 400% rise in enrolment.
Use of Learning Management Systems
Learning management systems are software designed to make a teacher’s job easier. Originally used by companies to train their employees, it’s now becoming more common for a university or a college to utilize an LMS to supplement traditional teaching methods. Such software not only allows teachers to create course content but also track the individual progress of students, their performance, and where they can improve. Plus, because an LMS “charts” the path of a student as they make their way in college, it works as a Guided Pathway system streamlining a student’s progression.
Another way an LMS can enrich the student learning experience is by using newer technologies to maximize the application itself.
Institutions of higher education are feeling pressure from both society and the government to adapt to the changing status quo brought about by a pandemic whose culmination remains unclear. This is right as businesses are looking for skills not always taught in colleges or even in universities. To accommodate these changes, these institutions are beginning to turn to outside-the-box solutions.
Depending on how you want to view it, it’s either ironic or apt that the biggest cause of these tectonic shifts in education—technology—is also one of the best ways that institutions can keep up. From utilizing Big Data to better, more engaging distance learning, education is becoming more accessible, affordable, and equitable.
All these are ambitious projects, and the verdict has yet to come out on whether these ventures are going to succeed. One thing is for sure, however: college is going to be significantly different in the next few years as a likely long-term after-effect of the pandemic. Nonetheless, learning will likely stay the same.