Education in Ten Years’ Time – by the School of Physics and Astronomy’s Student Reps

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In 10 years’ time, technology will have a much greater role in the way we learn. All students will be loaned tablets for the duration of their degree, which are optimised for their degree subject. Assessed problems can be submitted, marked and returned online, meaning people can easily access their feedback. This will also remove any discrepancy about when work is handed in and feedback is given, will significantly reduce the chance of work being lost, and will help to save paper. We will have better handwriting recognition software so that lecture notes and students’ work can be converted into a digital format. This will make it easier to follow lecture courses and for work to be marked, assuming that the software can also cope with mathematical notations.

Software will be associated with the students who use it, such that it is available on their student login from any computer; people can therefore access the software they need from anywhere on campus. Study rooms on campus will be accessible 24/7 via fingerprint ID, meaning study spaces across campus can be used at all times by students. High-quality digital whiteboards will be used. These have more space, and do not require cleaning as traditional boards do. Board work could be automatically uploaded to canvas and linked with lecture-recording software.

A database of previous student answers to all assessed problems will be created, meaning all problems can be marked by an AI. This will allow PhD students to spend more time giving group study sessions instead of marking coursework, and will also allow feedback to be given instantly. Marking will be more fair and consistent, as all work will be marked by the same system, to the same requirements.

All desks in study spaces and lecture theatres will have wireless charging stations; these will be flush with the desk and so will not take up writing space. The number of desk spaces available at any given time in a study space will be monitored and displayed at the entrance to that space—students will have to ‘sign in’ to desks to allow this. This will also help to prevent desks from being left vacant for long periods of time, as an automatic sign-out mechanism could be implemented.

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