Posted: August 29th, 2013
1999 To the Present
1999 To the Present
Dating back to the earliest American colleges and higher education institutions, there has been a lot of debate over the prevailing issues surrounding this field. These issues mainly focus on changes in curriculum, faculty determination and selection, institutional funds and student debates. An overview of Arthur Cohen’s book “The Shaping of American Higher Education” provides us with an idea of how the author carefully combines a historical educational perspective. Together with an in depth analysis of the current events, this book provides a comprehensive and authoritative account concerning the history of American education. The author dates back to the American colonial era up to the present day, mainly emphasizing on the past half century. Cohen backtracks on trends in student selection and access, professionalization in learning faculties, curricular expansion, public finance, institutional growth, research and their outcomes. The current high education system has witnessed vast changes in events and trends.
A major breakthrough and trend witnessed in terms of societal influence has come through the vast growth in internet awareness, development and usage (Bers, 2007). The world has seen tremendous advancement of internet technology through business undertakings and more so in higher education. To be more precise, it manifests itself in internet learning, or most commonly known as E-learning. This mode of studying comprises all the material aspects of tutoring and learning through electronic support. The systems of communications and information involved serve as specified media in the implementation of the learning process. In essence, internet learning is the imparting of knowledge and skills to students by the tutor via computers that are network enabled.
By the year 2010, an approximate 4.1 million students in the United States were participating in internet learning at higher education institutions(Bers, 2007). This has been greatly attributed to the major developments in multimedia and internet technologies, together with consulting, services and content. In accordance with reports on Sloan Foundation, there has been a registered increase in the region of 13-15 percent of the average student enrollments on fulltime online learning. On average, a quarter of post secondary school students had enrolled for online course. This was by the year 2008. Researches from Ambient Insight declared that an estimated 46 percent of post secondary school students were studying part or the whole of their courses through internet learning in the United States. A forecast on these statistics predicted that these figures would rise to 81 percent by 2014. It is therefore evident in the United States that internet learning is gradually becoming dominant for post high school students and is moving rapidly. The managements in many higher learning institutions are gradually but surely embracing this current trend. With the costs of installing and managing this kind of system decreases, private institutions will be looking to participate in this mode of learning. From the same Sloan report, it indicated that a majority share of students engaging in this mode of learning deemed it more satisfying than their previous encounters with the traditional methods. Online higher education is constantly growing, and leading research universities are even developing online doctoral programs.
Another major event and trend relating to higher education is in terms in globalization (Grummon, 2007). The current conditions this world call for individuals who are learned and aggressive to tackle the various issues encumbering the entire worldwide society in general. The demand and hunger for higher education is rapidly increasing in the United States as well as the rest of the world (Bers, 2007). Researches conducted showed that there are more than a hundred million students in colleges globally. New campuses and institutions are being built worldwide and the existing universities are continuously expanding. There is ferocious competition between universities international universities for academically skilled students, resources, faculty and education and research funding. There are trends on institutions expanding overseas, in the process creating opportunities for faculty diversity and students in terms exchanges programs. These trends have seen the Middle East together with China and India develop to key regions for campus growth that is wide spread. The models of learning are varying from country to country with institutions activities ranging from participating in faculty exchanges, building local capacities, to replicating the home campuses. These environments of global learning are providing many students with opportunities of expanding their portfolios that includes valued experiences required in today’s workforce. On the other hand, universities and learning institutions are utilizing their campuses in foreign regions to attract highly rated research talents, also striving to build on international relationships. The main idea is to establish a massive global presence for a reputable brand and to help in developing local capacity.
Technology in the 21st centaury is playing an increasingly important role in higher education. Institutions will continue to embrace innovative strategies that will define the methods of higher learning and communication. These innovations will consequently affect interactions relationships between staff, students and faculty. Employing innovative services based on current and future trends calls for a reliable, powerful, secure and expendable resource and infrastructure with adequate quality and service(Grummon, 2007). Many higher learning institutions are already developing short term and long-term plans aimed at ensuring prosperity in their educational endeavors. However, these current and forecasted changes in events and trends are raising many questions as to whether they are really imparting the students with quality knowledge and information, to enable them to be competitive in their respective fields (Grummon, 2007).
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