The Roanoker - September/October 2014 - 37
Larry Hincker: "Legislation will be
needed to boost male enrollment in
higher ed by 2054."
COURTESY OF VIRGINIA TECH
"The typical academic calendar as we
know it will cease to exist as students complete classes at their own pace. Hyper-motivated students will be able to shave years off
their college degrees by consuming online
classes in the same way people now bingewatch programs on Netflix.
"As four-year colleges and universities
become inaccessible to many Americans because of exorbitant tuition costs, community
colleges' value will become even more evident. Community college costs will remain
about one-third those of a four-year college
"Community colleges will invest in facilities that can serve as community learning
centers in which shared computer labs coexist
with docking stations for laptop computers,
food outlets, retail stores, libraries, meeting
rooms and study lounges. These physical facilities can complement the strong links community colleges have with local businesses
"Community colleges will continue to be
powerful engines for workforce development
by providing hands-on, lab-focused education that cannot be easily replaced by MOOCs
[Massive Open Online Courses] or any other
form of mass education on the horizon.
"Entrepreneurship education and incubation will become critical factors in economic
development. Virginia Western is now a key
partner in Roanoke's Co-Lab, and such outlets
where entrepreneurship education is put into
practice are expected to expand.
"Flipped, or inverted, classrooms will
become commonplace at all levels of education. Students will view lectures/presentations by subject experts on their own time
and spend classroom time putting those
principles to work with one-on-one assistance from teachers or faculty. Classrooms
will feature shared workspaces and technology to deliver instruction in each student's
preferred learning style.
"High schools will be vastly different in
terms of teaching and learning. Students will
come and go with very flexible schedules.
Time will no longer be the determining factor, learning will. Instead of courses, students
will be completing competencies.
"Many students will do the majority of
their work online and come to school just
for labs, facilitated activities, athletics and to
work on projects that integrate content areas."
HIGHER EDUCATION: A COMPLEX LANDSCAPE
LAWRENCE G. HINCKER, ASSOCIATE VP FOR
UNIVERSITY RELATIONS AT VIRGINIA TECH
Larry Hincker has lived in the Roanoke Valley
for most of his life and not only knows Tech
(he reports directly to the president), but has a
strong familiarity with its impact on his neighbors. His take:
"First, here's what didn't happen in those 40
years: Traditional residential college experiences like at University of Virginia, Virginia
Tech, Roanoke College, etc., were not replaced
by MOOCs or online learning. The cost of an
undergraduate degree did not go down. States
did not increase funding for higher education.
"Here's what might happen:
"Post-secondary education became increasingly important. Jobs simply were not
available without some education after high
school. However, as American manufacturing re-emerged and surged in the 2020s, there
was greater recognition among educators and
business leaders that not everyone in society
required four-year degrees.
"The higher education landscape got a lot
more complex. Post baccalaureate degrees
became more commonplace and coin of the
realm for professional positions. But other
non-bachelor options became accepted.
Non-profit or for-profit schools and corporations increasingly offered focused certificate
programs to address specific job skill requirements.
"Disciplines continued to evolve, split, and
new degree options were created more quickly
in response to demand. For example, degrees
such as big data management, disaster response, or Virginia Tech's water management
and policy degree proved prescient as water
became more valuable than oil by mid-century.
"Residential college experiences remained
in high demand and the standard by which all
degree programs continued to be measured.
However, small private colleges found economies of scale difficult and partnered with other
colleges for course delivery. Many shuttered
"Other program delivery options, involving computers, phones, or electronic clothes,
made getting a degree possible from virtually anywhere on the planet. That meant that
courses could also be taught from anywhere
on the planet. Accordingly, celebrity professors
became brands and pieced together, with other
celebrity professors, unique degree offerings.
This process, normally using holography, enabled delivery of narrowly focused or specialized degrees.
"Long before mid-century colleges required
out-of-country study experiences as a prerequisite for the bachelor's degree.
"Southwest Virginia's Blue Ridge region
became known as a higher education hot spot
with more college students than any other part