Yesterday, The Chronicle of Higher Education published an article by Nigel Thrift, “The Future of Undergraduate Teaching,” which speculates a potential future for higher education. Thrift writes that the influence of technology may actually cause a “return of more intimate teaching styles.”
He poses a scenario where undergraduate education largely consists of online presentations and peer discussion, and also fosters “small group teaching” because “face-to-face experience and other forms of direct experience (like international experience) will actually become more valued.” Thrift further speculates that social networks will encourage peer assessment.
I find this generally positive view of the potential of education encouraging, even if the extensive changes may make some nervous. One thing I especially appreciate is that Thrift does not believe brick-and-mortar campuses or the academy are going away. Instead, hybrid elements supplement traditional pedagogy, which may actually revitalize the practices we cherish, such as an expert guiding students via individualized instruction.