Technology and Higher Education: 2015 and Beyond

While universities come in all shapes and sizes and occupy all of the far corners of the world, they share some common challenges. The Summit determined the following issues to be the top technology-related themes facing higher education in 2015. Read more about studying Engineering and Technology.


Every generation of students has different expectations. Managing these expectations — particularly as they pertain to technology — is essential for contemporary universities. Today’s student expect access to everything from Wi-Fi to online courses, but what will the next generation expect? Identifying these needs and proactively meeting them is instrumental to student attainment.

It’s not just student expectations that are changing, but also the students themselves. Today’s “typical” college student is anything but. The adult learner demographic is growing at a significant pace, and the higher education experience must adapt to meet their changing needs. Read more about studying Online Engineering and Technology.

2. Technology’s Ever-Changing Landscape

The technological landscape of today’s higher education institutions is completely transformed from 50, 25 or even 10 years ago. The student computing experience now plays a central role in the college selection process, with Wi-Fi no longer a perk, but a requisite. This demand strains IT infrastructures prompting universities to seek out creative solutions. Social media and digital coursework have also become entrenched parts of the student experience.

So what can we expect in the future when it comes to the interplay between technology and the learning environment? Everything from drones to 3D printing to Google Glass and other wearables are expected to have a dramatic impact on the dynamics of higher education. Learn more about studying a Bachelor in Engineering and Technology.

3. Behavior Change

Students may be quick to adopt new technologies, but the same can’t be said of all educators. Moving forward, universities can be expected to pay more attention to fostering a community in which educators are willing to change pedagogy to embrace technology.

But teaching with technology isn’t just about staying current, it’s also about leveraging technology and its tools to enhance teaching and improve the learning experience. For example, playing off of the increase in Wi-Fi availability, many innovative educators have embraced the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative so students can augment and enrich classroom learning in real-time. Read more about Technology and Engineering courses.

4. Business Forum

While it may be ideal to think of higher education as motivated purely by noble causes, the truth is that they also need to turn a profit — a particular challenge in today’s competitive playing field.

Investing in the right technologies can reduce operating costs and promote a better bottom line. Technology must be integrated into organizational strategies in order to keep pace. This means everything from using MOOC’s to build a global profile to welcoming open web-based learning environments to foster collaboration.

Technology can also be used to aid internal communication and transparency. The more information that is shared, the more productive decision-making can occur. Read more about studying Business and Technology.

5. Mobile Matters

We’ve heard it before and we’ll hear it again: it’s the era of mobile. Universities which fail to incorporate mobile technology as part of their strategic initiatives will falter.

Despite our knowledge that mobile matters, most universities still fail to measure up. According to the Campus Computing Project’s 2014 survey, while top-level higher education IT officers identified “implementing/supporting mobile computing” as a critical priority, a mere 17 percent rated their own institutional mobile services as “excellent.” Bridging this discrepancy is essential to attracting and satisfying constituents. Read more about IT programs.

…And Beyond 2015

A recent Times Higher Education article looked beyond 2015 to predict key trends over the next five years which are expected to further accelerate technology adoption. These included:

  • using technology as a catalyst to reposition institutions within the global marketplace in order to promote a “culture of innovation”
  • increasing cross-institution collaboration to pool resources and/or work toward common goals in acknowledgement of the larger ecosystem
  • customizing the learning experience and/or measuring performance through analysis of massive amounts of student learning data
  • the increased presence of open education resources within the public domain to aid teaching, learning and research
  • the evolution of “blended learning,” in which higher education institutions offer a mix of both online and classroom methods
  • emerging educational models, including “flipped” classrooms, in which knowledge is delivered online while course time is reserved for discussion for a more practical, interaction-based experience.

That today’s higher education environments are virtually unrecognizable compared to the ones of just a quarter of a century ago is largely due to technological strides. While it’s impossible to predict precisely what we can expect a year, five years, or 50 years from now, we can safely conclude that technology will play a significant role in shaping the future of higher education. Read more about studying Technolgy.