The University of the Future
| Prof. Morten Flate Paulsen - 01 Apr 2023

Young people prefer streaming media and on-demand learning. So, what if linear TV is geriatric, linear schools are old-fashioned and digital natives prefer streaming education? Will the universities allow students to start whenever they like? Progress at their preferred pace? Complete the exams when they are ready.
 Micro guest lectures will become more frequent since technology makes it easy for experts around the world to share their experiences via short webinars. Students could prepare questions from some of the expert’s work. Many international experts will gladly contribute freely if it takes only half an hour of their time.
 Textbooks are expensive, voluminous, and sometimes hard to get. The content will easily be distributed digitally when a successful Spotify for textbooks arrives.
 Learning analytics and meaningful use of big data will improve adaptive learning and individual learning experiences.
 Universities should focus more on cost-effectiveness and strive to get more learning for the money. This is important for students who pay tuition fees, institutions that offer education, and countries that fund public education. Suitable online education has a huge potential to lower costs without reducing quality. Much of the current online education can be more cost-effective, but currently, there is too much focus on one-to-one teaching and digitizing traditional lectures.
 Universities need to be more transparent. Better at sharing learning resources and useful information from and about students, teachers, and learning analytics. Many educational-related activities could be shared more widely. Students can learn a lot from each other if they have access to information about what other students do. Teachers can also learn a lot from each other if they share and make their teaching activities transparent.
 Online education is good for the environment. Green education. Online schools do not need physical classrooms and offices that require much energy to operate. Online education can reduce the need to build new and expensive campuses. Students and faculty do not need transportation to attend online schools. Online education reduces pollution, travel expenses, and rush-hour traffic. Online schools often prefer digital learning resources rather than printed textbooks. This results in less waste of paper and reduced need for shipping.
 Another important future breakthroughs will be improved translation services. Making it easier to communicate across language barriers. In addition, new technologies such as badges, micro-credentials, and blockchain, can make it harder for students to forge certificates and official documents from educational institutions. This will help online educators address some of the issues relating to language, credibility, and trust across national borders.
 Finally, I’m worried that open and distance education becomes less flexible as mainstream education becomes more flexible. Traditional distance and online institutions are merged with, or acquired by, larger mainstream institutions that intend to become more flexible. The result is often that the smaller institutions must adapt to the more rigid culture and systems of the larger institutions. National quality assurance schemes and agencies establish schemes for online education that are founded on not-so-flexible mainstream education.

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