“University is so much easier for you!” mum shouts down the phone as I lay in bed watching Netflix, still not dressed and smelling like a kebab shop, even though it’s almost 5pm. “You students do nothing these days!” She continues as I open a new tab to check if I missed anything important in the two lectures that I skipped earlier in the day.
University probably shouldn’t be as easy as it is for us. You have to admit that we have it good. The day before an essay is due, we can just scour the internet for all the information we need and we’re sorted. Roll the clock back 30 years and realising that you only have 24 hours before a deadline, and that it’s a Sunday, and that the library is closed… it’s an automatic fail.
So what happens if we turn the clock forward 30 years? Science shows that by 2045 we’ll not only have ‘talking’ buildings but also self-driving planes. If this is the direction the world is heading in, just imagine what university will be like for the next generation of students.
Physically going to university will be a thing of the past
You can already get a degree from the comfort of your home thanks to the success of the Open University. With more and more courses also being opened up around the world that allow you to attend ‘Webinars’, seminars conducted over the internet, it’s becoming easier to complete a course without ever having to be present in the same room as the teacher.
The Economist reports that we’re already seeing distance learning grow around the world. A university in Brazil offers students digital classes instead of traditional ones in a classroom and Minerva University in San Francisco has already started to digitalise some of their degrees for students who have been enrolled outside the United States. Professors live all over the world and communicate with their students (capped at 19 per class) solely via the internet.
Saving both time and money without having to commute, this trend may start catching on sooner than you think. Webinars are already run by companies such as LinkedIn and P&G and the advancement to universities is just a matter of time.
It might make those 9am lectures just a little easier to attend.
A student’s attention span is only around 10 minutes according to a 2010 survey. With lectures averaging out at 90 minutes to 2 hours long, it seems that lecturers are teaching the entirely wrong way.
At least one university professor is in agreement; he’s started using 8 minute lectures on his students – and with great results. The futuristic Minerva University has also banned lectures, allowing only seminars to take place.
Even The Guardian argues that lectures at university should be a thing of the past. When will university professors finally stop reading off a PowerPoints for hours on end?
There will be more competition…
Technology has been destroying jobs for a while now, and that’s probably going to continue. Digital Trends predict that 5 million jobs will be replaced with robots by 2020. This means that more people will be looking to gain a degree than ever before.
Degrees such as Computer Science, Engineering and Physics have become extremely competitive to get into in the past few years. I can bet you that it’s going to carry on this way too.
….but more courses to choose from
With globalization the world just keeps feeling bigger and bigger. Did you know that you can now get a degree in Floral Design, Viking Studies and Hacking? Not to mention the Harry Potter module taught at Durham.
If that’s what its like now… imagine which courses will be on offer in 30 years’ time.
Let’s face it though, we’ll probably still be paying stupid prices
The UK already has the highest tuition fees in the industrialised world, and it’s not looking as if prices will decrease anytime soon. 30 years ago, university was just for the wealthy; now it seems to be going back to that way.
At least students will be able stay in bed and study Game of Thrones for 8 minutes, even if they do have to sell a kidney to pay for it.