Anyone want to offer a few thoughts on these ‘big’ questions?

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The Futures Concept Theme (this is your chance to engage in some pioneering blue-skies thinking) 

Looking ahead to 2026:

  • What kinds of futures can you imagine for universities and what will be different compared to today?
  • How will research-intensive universities of the future need to be structured and organised? 

2 thoughts on “Anyone want to offer a few thoughts on these ‘big’ questions?”

  1. Compared to today, the value universities add will increasingly arise from students demonstrating competencies, sharing knowledge and developing social capital. Many activities will have to designed and bench-marked against maximising these opportunities e.g. the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory. More lectures will be exciting “live interactive performances” akin to gigs in order to add value over those accessible in cheap virtual reality. Although there is a drive towards “active learning”, students will still demand passive information-giving experiences in traditional lectures to avoid burn-out. Subject matter will be contextualised entirely in regional enterprise and research terms in order to differentiate it from generic online information from others.

    Universities need to be technology-rich to maximise the productivity of staff and students. Location intelligence will get students to collocate around similar locations to access and interact with learning materials/props. Giving and receiving multilingual voice and video feedback will be the norm, removing study barriers. There will be an increasing reliance on algorithms to guide teaching practice, student learning and career choice. Timetables will be flexible, personalised and reconfigurable by individual students according to their needs.

    By 2026, the UoB cloud service concept will be under test. Its aim will be to automatically interact with the student’s own personal cloud to provide evolving guidance, expertise and networking opportunities throughout their life. This will help students to maximise their opportunities in the automated data-centric world into which they graduate in 2030.

  2. I work as an administrator, and my responsibilities lie with managing two distance learning programmes which has 5 intakes per year, and currently has over 230 students studying with us – most of whom live and work overseas (there is no requirement to attend classes on campus).

    I wonder if the mode of study will change significantly in the future? More and more undergraduate students need to work to pay for their living costs (to reduce the level of debt they have after paying their fees). As such, I wonder if our University will need to consider alternative modes of registration to allow them to do this – like a registration process similar to those in the US? Students could register on a semester by semester basis, completing their ‘college’ degree over a longer period of time – so the traditional three of four year degree programmes will become a thing of the past.

    Equally, with more and more distance learning PGT programmes, it would be helpful to have a University lead initiative which links these together, so that administrators and lead academic colleagues can share common and best practices. Surely, utilising existing expertise collaboratively could help inform the University’s strategy in this regard.

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