World University Leaders Ponder the Future of Higher Education at Paris Meeting!

Dear Commons Community,

Three hundred university leaders from around the world (mainly from the United States and Europe) are meeting in Paris to speculate on the future of higher education.  Organized by Princeton University and France’s Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, topics included enrollment growth, research, interdisciplinary study, and technology.  Here is a summary of the discussions  provided by The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required).

The number of higher-education students worldwide is expected to grow from 97 million in 2000 to 262 million in 2025, a demand that can’t be met under current models of higher education with the greatest growth in non-Western areas such as India and Africa.

Funding for higher education especially in the United States and Europe is being trimmed requiring students to bear larger portions of the costs.

Student goals and interests are shifting to a “return on investment” mentality that is leading many policy makers and others to question the value of a broad-based, liberal education.

Research needs to become more interdisciplinary and across institutions.

And what would a meeting of the future of higher education be without a discussion of MOOCs.   As in the United States, MOOCs experienced a period of breathless excitement in Europe and now face pushback.

In Britain, MOOCs went through a “cycle of hype,” said William Lawton, director of the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, a London-based research group…He said he hoped that now a more sober—and enlightened—conversation could start about how online courses, especially ones that include a portion of in-person teaching, can improve higher education.

“The future is basically blended,” he said.

Most definitely!



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