Recap from EDUCAUSE 2015

Last week I attended the EDUCAUSE 2015 conference, where I had the chance to attend sessions and keynotes focused on trends impacting higher education. One of the things I found interesting is that some of these trends seemingly conflict with each other. That is not a bad thing…any organization will face differing trends that may promote conflict within the organization. But understanding that conflict and planning for it is an interesting discussion in itself.

With regard to trends in higher education, what conflict am I talking about? On one hand, there was the discussion on how higher education is focusing on competency-based education and successful student outcomes (and the role of technology in furthering this goal).

On the other hand, there were discussions how rapid technology innovation will not only force changes on the university, but may actually eliminate many of the jobs that the university is training students for. If the latter is true, what then is the role of higher education in helping students succeed in finding jobs if many of these jobs are going to disappear?

Are these trends in conflict? Should colleges and universities continue to focus on competency-based education, as well as focus on successful student outcomes when new technologies impacting the job market may make that an impossible goal?

There may be potential for conflict, but also the potential definitely exists for colleges and universities to really move to the forefront of these technological and economic shifts, and really help students and impacted workers navigate successfully a changing and confusing job landscape.

Disruptive Change: Can Higher Education Keep Up?

This then begs the question: Can higher education keep up with the pace of change, especially if this pace continues to accelerate? One interesting point from the Andrew McAfee Keynote at EDUCAUSE is that if you follow the path of Moore’s law, then we just recently entered the phase where acceleration in computing power will really take off.  The speaker used the analogy of doubling rice on a chessboard where he stated that if you apply this analogy to Moore’s law, we just recently entered the second half of the chessboard around 2006. If you follow this logic, then we are just now embarking on a path where innovation will far exceed what we witnessed in the last 50 years. This is something we have talked about recently when we stated that with the Internet of Things, the best is yet to come.

If the speed of innovation accelerates at this pace, this will be the ultimate challenge for higher education. Most of the higher education institutions I talk to are fully aware that innovation is happening rapidly, but at the same time they are also aware of the reputation higher education has as an industry that is often slow to adapt to change.

I know in my conversations with many colleges and universities that I have seen a commitment to student success, reaching more students leveraging technology and changing the student engagement model.

The real question will be as the pace of change accelerates, who is best suited to meet that pace of change? Will all schools adapt? If not, what type of school is best suited to meet these changes? How colleges and universities adapt to the changes impacting them and their students will be the real trend to follow in the upcoming years. One thing I do know is that Citrix is committed to helping colleges and universities keep up with the pace of change both today and tomorrow.

Are you in Higher Education? If so, please consider taking our survey on Hybrid/Blended classrooms.

Citrix Labs is an applied research organization within Citrix. To get updates on what the Citrix Labs team is following as well as projects the Labs team is working on, you can subscribe to the Citrix Trends and Innovation LinkedIn page.