A research project exploring emerging student needs explored six aspects of student life: living, learning, working, playing, connecting and participating. Connecting is explored in this paper. Students will be more connected in the future. They will expect more bandwidth and tools. Driven by the impacts of social expectations in a world of changing sexual and gender mores, they may participate in a wider range of communities. This paper aims to summarize two scenarios about the Connecting domain from the Student Needs 2025+ project, and highlight implications for the future of higher education.
A modified version of the University of Houston’s “Framework Foresight” method was used to explore the future of six aspects of future student life.
Students will become more connected; connected to their extended families, to communities and to artificial intelligence. The technological interfaces facilitating these connections and many others will become less dispensable and more essential to happy daily life; don't leave home without your “phone”. To address the stressors arising from increasing information and social connectivity, students will need more counseling and tools to adjust and flourish. The formation of character, which is so central an outcome of the student learning experience, will no longer rely so heavily on face-to-face interactions at brick and mortar locations, but will be the result of a kaleidoscope of machine and personal interactions conducted remotely, asynchronously, and virtually as well.
In terms of research limitations, this paper is focused on the needs of students and does not purport to be an exhaustive analysis of all of the issues influencing higher education. It views the future of higher education through the lens of students and their emerging needs.
The paper is intended for educators, researchers and administrators to provide insight on how the needs of students, their key customers, are evolving.
This piece explores student life in its totality as a way to more accurately identify student needs in the future.
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