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).
  • You may find it useful to revisit the Press Clippings on Trends and Challenges as you work on this question.
  • 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 Oct 30, 2011


Compose your entries like this:
  • Trend Name. Add your ideas here with a few sentences of description, including full URLs for references (e.g. http://horizon.nmc.org). 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. This multi-year trend from global report was again ranked very highly, indicating its continued influence, specifically in the UK. 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. (Carried forward from the 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education)
  • What were previously thought of as new and disruptive forms of scholarship are now becoming the norm for scholarly communication. Blogs, open textbooks, electronic journals, and forms of expression embodied in new media formats have challenged notions of scholarly writing and communication for several years. Yet these techniques are increasingly common and are readily accepted as informal outlets for scholarly work. A more gradual trend toward official acceptance is moving slowly, but its stirrings are visible in the adoption of electronic content, experiments with crowd-sourcing, and open, online peer review of scholarly work. This trend is related to the challenge of developing metrics for evaluating such work, noted in the 2010 Horizon Report, as well as again in 2011. (Carried forward from the 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education)
  • 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 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education)
  • The world of work is increasingly collaborative, driving changes in the way student projects are structured. As more and more employers are valuing collaboration as a critical skill, silos both in the workplace and at school are being abandoned in favour of collective intelligence. To facilitate more teamwork and group communication, projects rely on tools like wikis, Google Doc, Skype, and online forums. Projects are increasingly evaluated by educators not just on the overall outcome, but also on the success of the group dynamic. In many cases, the online collaboration tool itself is an equally important outcome as it stores — and even immortalizes— the process and multiple perspectives that led to the end results. (Carried forward from the 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education)
  • The growing availability of bandwidth will dramatically change user behaviours in teaching, learning and research over the next five years. The advent of cloud computing has alleviated the burden of storing software, email services, and other applications locally. Major resources are now accessible via web browser in just one click, no longer bogging down computer speed. Students and educators can now connect and collaborate with more ease, transfer files and information quicker, and store more new content. (Carried forward from the 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education)
  • People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to. This trend, noted in several recent NMC Horizon Reports, continues to permeate all aspects of daily living. 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 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education)
  • Increasingly, students want to use their own technology for learning. As new technologies are developed at a more rapid and at a higher quality, there is a wide variety of different devices, gadgets, and tools from which to choose. Utilizing a specific device has become something very personal — an extension of someone’s personality and learning style — for example, the iPhone vs. the Android. There is comfort in giving a presentation or performing research with tools that are more familiar and productive at the individual level. And, with handheld technology becoming mass produced and more affordable, students are more likely to have access to more advanced equipment in their personal lives than at school. (Carried forward from the 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education)
  • Computers as we know them are in the process of a massive reinvention. The computer is smaller, lighter, and better connected than ever before, without the need for wires or bulky peripherals. In many cases, smart phones and other mobile devices are sufficient for basic computing needs, and only specialized tasks require a keyboard, large monitor, and a mouse. Mobiles are connected to an ecosystem of applications supported by cloud computing technologies that can be downloaded and used instantly, for pennies. As the capabilities and interfaces of small computing devices improve, our ideas about when — or whether — a traditional computer is necessary are changing as well. (Carried forward from the 2011 Technology Outlook for UK Tertiary Education)
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