2013 Year End Wrap Up – How Technology Has Impacted Higher Education

With 2013 coming to a close, it is time for the year end technology wrap up! I’ll be taking a look at a predicted list of trends that Forbes coined as being highly influential in late 2012 and reviewing their foresight! Here are some ways that technology has impacted the higher education industry in this past year:

Curious to hear your thoughts about these developments and what you have experienced in 2013 higher ed & tech developments!

1. Growth in Online Education – Year of the MOOC!
2013 was predicted to be a big year in growth for the online education sector. Most of this growth happened at top-tier universities. Over the last two years, the number of top-tier Universities with at least some online activity has more than doubled, in large part due to MOOCs. However, growth in MOOCs does not necessarily correlation with improved educational access, as was recently illuminated in a research study that found typical MOOC users are already highly educated individuals.

2. Innovation in the Classroom
In my opinion, this has probably been the most successful element in 2013, and will continue to be the most robust for development in the future. Long gone are the days of piling into a lecture hall, as students can now utilize online platforms and their content anywhere and anytime. With more online content accessible to students, classroom time can be used to augment lecture content, with discussions, group activities, and so on. Online platforms also provide analytic that tell instructors who is learning, what they are learning, and how. This online connectivity, creativity, and accessibility will continue to create opportunities to improve how we use classroom time and space.

3. Hybrid Programs
Perhaps a development for 2014 – hybrid program is the new buzzword for educational programs that are both online and classroom based. A hybrid program is different from a MOOC in that students would formally be enrolled in their course for credit in a given degree program, and of course as a hybrid program the learning would not be totally online. Hybrid programs can offer great opportunity for students who are working professionals, and for universities who want to experiment in the online education sector without fulling loosing their more traditional methods. Sounds like an interesting development at my graduate school, Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education, where many students are full-time employees and part-time students.

4. Picking the Latest Instructional Model
The race is on for the next educational model that will revolutionize technology in the classroom. With all of the new and existing online developments, there is a wealth of possibility for instructors to create a more in-depth learning experience with their students. This is definitely a budding area, but I am confident for some new and exciting innovation in 2014!

Overall, 2013 has seen some interesting developments for how we interact in the higher educational relam. However, the sustainability of these 2013 trends will only be truly known as we follow these developments into the future – 2014, 2015, and beyond. As a tech-loving optimist, I think that the most influential developments for higher education and beyond are those that haven’t even been invented yet! And for a snapshot of those future ideas, check out the Impact 15; the 15 most influential and creative classroom revolutionaries.


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