Research Question 3: Key Trends

What trends do you expect to have a significant impact on the ways in which learning-focused institutions approach our core missions of teaching, research, and service?

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

As you review what others have written, please add your thoughts and comments as well.

Please "sign" each of your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Jan 27, 2010

Compose your entries like this:
  • Trend Name. Add your ideas here with a few sentences of description, including full URLs for references (e.g. And do not forget to sign your contribution with 4 ~ (tilde) characters!

  • The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing. Institutions must consider the unique value that each adds to a world in which information is everywhere. In such a world, sense-making and the ability to assess the credibility of information are paramount. Mentoring and preparing students for the world in which they will live, the central role of the university when it achieved its modern form in the 14th century, is again at the forefront. Universities have always been seen as the gold standard for educational credentialing, but emerging certification programs from other sources are eroding the value of that mission daily. (Carried forward from the 2010 Horizon Report)
  • People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to. Life in an increasingly busy world where learners must balance demands from home, work, school, and family poses a host of logistical challenges with which today’s ever more mobile students must cope. A faster approach is often perceived as a better approach, and as such people want easy and timely access not only to the information on the network, but to their social networks that can help them to interpret it and maximize its value. The implications for informal learning are profound, as are the notions of “just-in-time” learning and “found” learning, both ways of maximizing the impact of learning by ensuring it is timely and efficient. (Carried forward from the 2010 Horizon Report)
  • The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized. The continuing acceptance and adoption of cloud-based applications and services is changing not only the ways we configure and use software and file storage, but even how we conceptualize those functions. It does not matter where our work is stored; what matters is that our information is accessible no matter where we are or what device we choose to use. Globally, in huge numbers, we are growing used to a model of browser-based software that is device-independent. While some challenges still remain, specifically with notions of privacy and control, the promise of significant cost savings is an important driver in the search for solutions. (Carried forward from the 2010 Horizon Report)
  • The work of students is increasingly seen as collaborative by nature, and there is more cross-campus collaboration between departments. While this trend is not as widespread as the others listed here, where schools have created a climate in which students, their peers, and their teachers are all working towards the same goals, where research is something open even to first year students, the results have shown tantalizing promise. Increasingly, both students and their professors see the challenges facing the world as multidisciplinary, and the need for collaboration great. Over the past few years, the emergence of a raft of new (and often free) tools has made collaboration easier than at any other point in history. (Carried forward from the 2010 Horizon Report)
  • The Post-PC Age: The traditional desktop computer is under attack on numerous fronts. Costs of maintaining and replacing desktop labs is not insignificant (and not one many institutions considered when making their initial purchases of equipment). There is also the space issue to consider at many campuses (certainly in the community college world) where significant enrollment increases without, in many cases, money for expanded physical facilities is creating a lot of pressure around large desktop labs - both for more computer access as well as using the rooms for non-computer-related classes. On the budgetary side there is pressure for allowing the PCs to age more than the traditional 3 or 4-year replacement cycle. One solution that our IT Department has recently become enamored with is the idea of virtual labs using Citrix software to serve up traditional desktop apps from a server. Cloud computing will also impact this discussion (that was their dream a couple of years ago - only partially realized). These pressures mean that traditional desktop labs are likely to slow in expansion as well as become older (with fewer replacement cycles) in all but the high end applications (computer science, AutoCAD, video editing, etc.). On the technical side, the new challenge from tablets and smart phones has lessened the need for advanced laptops. The diffusion of tech even among community college students is starting with the smart phone. Even tablet devices such the Kindle and iPad are starting to make an appearance. Netbooks are still the most common Internet appliance on our campuses. All of these factors mean we are moving away from the beefy PC with localized software toward all manner of "light" clients (older PCs, tablets, Netbooks, etc.) that depend on remote servers or the cloud for their horsepower. The cost savings on the PC side, however, may be partially eaten up by increases in costs related to the network, which will be increasingly taxed, as well as the server infrastructure (both in machine and human terms). - tom.haymes tom.haymes Oct 5, 2010 - helga helga Oct 5, 2010 Clarification: do you mean post-PC, or post-desktop? - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010 Still haven't seen anything that makes me want to completely abandon my PC and/or laptop, but would welcome a device that outdoes a PC or laptop by being smaller, more lightweight, and well connected through 3G or 4G networks. - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 17, 2010 Still not convinced that thin clients and the cloud are the way to go--I'm not eager to revert to a full-on time-sharing model of computing. I want my Dynabook! - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010
  • Crowdsourcing: By participating in crowdsourcing projects, learners are developing expertise, taking responsibility for their own learning, contributing to the social good, and seeing innovation in action. Examples of crowdsourcing initiatives include Transcribing Bentham, the Department of Education's Open Innovation portal, the FoldIt game to advance scientific research by coming up with new ways to fold proteins, and Cathy Davidson's project to crowdsource grading - lisaspiro lisaspiro Shirky's cognitive surplus idea seems like a natural challenge for freshman seminar classes or other multi-section courses at universities interested in testing value of intrinsic motivation to student learning. - dicksonk dicksonk Oct 15, 2010 Agreed. "Crowdsourcing" is another way of thinking about self-organized learning, and leverages the very idea of "college" in a way that is both deeply traditional and radically innovative (given the silos that make up "colleges" these days). If we can't identify and motivate the purposeful, beneficial use of cognitive surplus in college, shame on us. - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010
  • Green IT: To save money on energy and other costs and reduce their environmental impact, many universities are embracing Green IT. Techniques for reducing energy consumption include virtualization, purchasing more energy efficient hardware, setting up computers to go into power saving mode when not in use, and operating efficient data centers. Likewise, IT can allow universities to reduce paper consumption by making information available digitally and cut down on travel by supporting virtual meetings. See - lisaspiro lisaspiro Green IT is becoming a "buzzword" that allows us to make decisions easier in some ways (not purchasing more ink-jet printers, moving to all-in-one desktops, vmware etc.) and also encompasses many of the other topics here like Blended Learning. - crista.copp crista.copp Oct 17, 2010
  • Expanding Our Portfolio of Literacies: What constitutes new media literacies (aka transliteracies i.e. the notion that effective communication requires using, producing and interacting across multiple media and social platforms) has been part of the Trends section in past Horizon reports. However, this trend is also impacting and bringing to the fore the importance on a growing range of other literacies. Two examples of this are: (i) civic literacies where participatory media coupled with the 21st century digital generation bring collective action and more openness/transparency to the civic arena (something that Henry Jenkins has presented on and written about a number of times, see the Future Melbourne site as an example), (ii) ecoliteracies - education and knowledge-based action for sustainable living - Nick Nick Oct 11, 2010 - helga helga Oct 12, 2010 Agree. See Technical Development- Social/Cultural Challenges- bdieu bdieu Oct 14, 2010 See Howard Rheingold on attention and crap detection. - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010 I worry that the notion of "literacy" is expanding to be nearly meaningless, overlapping as it does with "skills" and "best practices" and even a notion of "digital hygiene." Better to identify those media operating with the symbolic complexity and fluidity of alphabets and talk about literacy/fluency within them. I suppose I'd favor "metamedia fluency" to "transliteracies," since the meta level is for me where the more powerful conceptual frameworks emerge.- gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010
  • Scholarship 2.0. The crisis in scholarly communication has been raging for a couple of decades, and already the scholarly ecosystem has become something new. Digital repositories, faculty blogs, e-books, large-scale digitization projects, new forms of publication, mobile device apps for journal article reading (Papers, IOS), crowdsourcing, and peer review experiments are all already in play in 2010, even as the Great Recession's 3rd year begins. Add new ideas for 2011, such as augmented reality projects, and we're looking at a new world a-borning. - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010 - KeeneH KeeneH Oct 17, 2010 Very important. With this needs to be discussions of building and managing a online reputation - alanwolf alanwolf Oct 17, 2010. Agreed. This key trend links well to the key challenge of change in the structure of higher ed itself. Everything follows: disciplines, open access, collaboration, tenure/promotion, undergraduate research, graduate education, the very notion of "research" in the humanities, etc. etc. A crucial item here! - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010 Hear hear! - lisaspiro lisaspiro Great thoughts - Olufemi.Olubodun Olufemi.Olubodun Oct 19, 2010
  • Devices like Apple's iPad are filling a niche that is neither "big smartphone" or "small laptop." As people use -- and talk about -- the ways they are finding to use devices like the iPad, it is becoming clear that it is neither an oversized phone or a dumbed-down laptop. Instead, it represents a new class of devices that perhaps we weren't even aware we wanted before they became available. Meanwhile, the iPad is gaining a footing in education, the health industry, and other sectors as a tool for learning and for serious work. See,,, - ninmah ninmah Oct 14, 2010 - KeeneH KeeneH Oct 17, 2010
  • More and more, teachers are adopting social media as a classroom resource. Students are already out there in these social spaces, and a lot of teachers are involved in professional or interest-based social communities. Social media are being hailed as essential to a 21st-century education (, used as a source for research (, providing a way for students to connect and communicate as part of their lessons (, and being used by the majority of professors ( - ninmah ninmah Oct 14, 2010 Agreed, with one huge caveat: more teachers/trainers have to understand how to effectively use social media as an engaging learning resource rather than assuming they can just post dull-as-dishwater topics and require learners to regurgitate content to earn grades. - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 17, 2010 Very much agree with Paul here: merely grafting social media onto old paradigms of teaching/testing is a dismal failure. These social media must alert us to the poverty of old teaching paradigms and disrupt those traditional practices (esp. one-size-fits-all curricula) that badly need disrupting. - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010 Paul please shout this out on roof tops in African Universities - Olufemi.Olubodun Olufemi.Olubodun Oct 19, 2010
  • Blended Learning. Efforts aimed at moving the learning environment beyond the classroom seems to be gaining momentum on campuses. Often fueled by budgetary pressures to maximize the use of classroom resources, hybrid learning experiences offer great potential for enhancing the learning experience. There is a growing willingness on the part of administrators to consider new approaches to combining face-to-face and technology-assisted instruction. Initiatives such as the Gates Foundation’s “Next Generation Learning Challenges" will likely move this trend forward in the near future. - billshewbridge billshewbridge Oct 17, 2010 - KeeneH KeeneH Oct 17, 2010 I see this blended might happen at to scales shifting between the online and face-to-face within traditional weekly meeting schedule, partial semester/quarter attendance be on campus during a fixed period for labs (for a few weeks), etc, and blended programs which are designed to take advantage of the relative strengths of the various instructional modes - alanwolf alanwolf Oct 17, 2010. I agree that this item is important, but I worry that "blended learning" has already become such a catch-phrase that it fails to convey the useful and inspiring disruption that hybrid learning experiences represent. I'm not sure what to propose in its place, unless it's the idea that the really important factor is not the blend of online and f2f, but what that blend enables: mass customization of the creation and use of learning resources, more flexibility in terms of learner participation and time-on-task, multimodalities of presentation and creation, etc. - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010 I'd expand this topic area to something like "alternative course delivery modes." Institutions are offering significant variations on the blended and online model with rolling schedules and many options for participation (see HyFlex: Although this has been around and is not new, what is new is how quickly it's spreading and the new types of institutions that are participating (lib arts). Worth exploring and noting I think. - drvdiaz drvdiaz Oct 18, 2010 I am afraid that there is no convergence of thoughts on what blended learning is. How much of a course will go online and for f2f. Sometimes it is difficult to define and this therefore left schools to decide, where do we draw the line? What are we blending-the courses, time, mode of delivery, media, technologies etc? - Olufemi.Olubodun Olufemi.Olubodun Oct 19, 2010
  • Beyond Powerpoint: Whether by using interactive, "zooming" presentation tools such as Prezi, adopting visual, concise presentation formats such as pecha kucha, or dispensing with slides altogether, presenters are trying to avoid "Death by Powerpoint." See Bryan Alexander's posts on Beyond Powerpoint, e.g. - lisaspiro lisaspiro Educational boredom is banished! Connectedness, high levels of intellectual quality, supportive educational environments (physical & virtual), and inclusivity. [Wendy]
  • Real Time Web becoming Increasingly More Powerful and Prevalent - Real time web technologies are set to mature and expand having an impact on how we collect, use and consume information. This short ReadWriteWeb post about the keynote at RWW's Real-Time Web Summit in June gives some ideas with links to related articles. [Keene] Tim O'Reilly has spoken to this category in interesting ways in some recent IT Conversations podcasts. [Gardner] -- NOTE: Moved from RQ2.- Larry Larry Oct 18, 2010

  • Virtual Learning: The use of virtual environments for learning goes beyond the direct applications with students. It is finding a role related to the core strength of a virtual environments; the ability to provide something not possible in the real world. A key example of this is simulations. While nothing new, the application is valuable in the return gained, and within education, using virtual worlds to instructor instructors has a lot of potential and flexibility. It also can serve as a natural attractor into teaching of those with an interest and aptitude for innovations. - Dougdar Dougdar Oct 5, 2010 If virtual learning is seen as an integrated component of overall learning rather than a proposed replacement for other forms of learning, it stands to become even more effective than it already is. - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Oct 17, 2010 Would love to see virtual learning and virtual worlds become key elements of digital storytelling and conceptual theatricality (or dramatic conceptualizations). - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010 [ED NOTE: Moved to RQ2 from RQ3]