Hear the word “University” and you imagine classic brick buildings, steeped in history, centres of learning, their sole purpose to educate the next generation of thought leaders. But traditional universities need to reinvent themselves to stay relevant, they need to review courses, pedagogy, facilities and access to ensure they are truly providing a 21st century education.
We have been speaking to Dr Andy Nazurechuk from Taylor’s University, Malaysia about this very issue.
How quickly do Universities need to adapt to keep courses, pedagogy, facilities and access relevant in today’s society?
The truth is that universities, for the most part, are way behind in keeping up with the changes in society. Technology, social communication, health, and international relations are changing so fast that we, as educators, need to look at what we are doing to prepare our students for the future. Students have access to unlimited information and are now faced with difficult choices that didn’t exist a short decade ago. How are these students going to be able to cope in such a high paced world if they don’t start the process in school?
How do you envision the future of the university in the face of new entrants to the market such as Coursera?
Online courses have a place in the future, but there is still a need for personal interaction in the classroom. Teachers may become coaches, advisors, or just someone who can guide a student who is confused. The future will have a blended educational environment that includes online courses, experiential experiences, and the development of those skills that are needed in the future. The skills we taught our students in the past may not be relevant in the future, so why are we setting our students up for failure? I will be sharing research on the skills needed in the future, along with my own perceptions on the disruptions that are going to affect everyone.
Can MOOCs / open universities really bring education to rural parts of the Philippines?
MOOCs and open universities will bring opportunities to every part of the Philippines because everyone in the Philippines is connected through their smart phone. The more important issue is to learn how to motivate younger students to take responsibility for their own educational opportunities. Students can no longer sit and wait for education to come to them, they must be the ones to seek out educational opportunities developing the self-determination to get it done. There are many examples of leaders in the world who, through their own efforts, positioned themselves for success. Educational leaders need to change to student focused learning rather than teacher focused learning so that everyone can become lifelong learners.
Does the traditional university set up still hold prestige amongst educators?
Traditional universities will be around for a long time, but those universities that offer new educational concepts, creative environments, increase engagement and position students for success rather than failure will quickly move to the top.
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