Higher education is changing. Many commentators are questioning the relevance of the university campus. Degrees are no longer prerequisites to work at some of the world's biggest companies. And government funding patterns are changing.
How can Australian universities remain relevant in a world where the role of higher education is constantly evolving?
With a keen understanding of key education trends and an ability to actively respond, a prosperous future remains for higher education institutions. So what are the current key higher education trends affecting Australia and its students today?
"Universities have a significant challenge, namely, what is the enduring role of institutions, and in what form will they continue to exist and remain relevant?"— TimesHigherEducation (@timeshighered) May 31, 2018
1) Employer alignment
University enrolments are higher now than any time in history. One consequence of this fact is that a degree in and of itself doesn't differentiate a job candidate the same way it may have in the past. That's why Google and Ernst & Young have joined the growing ranks of many companies that no longer require a Bachelor's degree, Glassdoor reports.
To counter this, universities should ensure their degrees are sufficiently aligned with employers' needs. This includes, among other things, ensuring graduates develop so-called 'soft skills' - particularly enterprise skills such as commercial awareness and communication skills - in order to really they are meeting employer expectations.
2) Greater focus on outcomes
Not only are more people going to university; the cost of attending is increasing as well. Funding for universities is in flux, meaning a degree can cost an individual around $30,000 a year (depending on the field) without subsidy.
With higher costs come amplified student expectations. Universities need to invest sufficient resources in the student experience to ensure their students are satisfied, for example, with the amount of study support they are receiving to help them complete their degrees. Formative feedback is essential to this process. Universities need to find ways of giving personalised feedback on tasks to ensure students maintain the academic standards required to complete a degree.
3) Internationalisation of Australian universities
Australian universities are increasingly attractive to international students. Figures from Universities Australia show nearly one in four students at Australian universities are from overseas (24.3 per cent).
International students often pay double the fees of domestic ones, placing even more pressure on universities to deliver exceptional learning experiences. For students that struggle with English, this presents challenges - with time-poor lecturers unable to help students with core language skills on top of assessing course content. As universities increasingly rely on international enrolments to support their budgets, they are searching for strategies to ensure these high value students succeed.
"As more students have the opportunity to access the support provided by Studiosity, I think the progression rates and the success of students will increase quite dramatically."— Studiosity (@studiosity) January 30, 2018
Technology is influencing every aspect of our lives, and education is no different. Students are used to everything being online and on-demand The Netflix and Spotify generation expect the same from their university.
Thus, it's up to universities to replicate this experience in academic life, with e-learning becoming increasingly widespread in all courses, not just those undertaken wholly online.
Studiosity's online study help, for example, is used by universities across Australia. It provides on-demand core subject support, as well as personalised feedback on essays and assignments. With users of Studiosity receiving on average one GPA mark higher than those who don't use the service, Studiosity is having a meaningful impact on student success. Many of Studiosity's users are international students, who need extra help with English and use our Writing Feedback Service to receive it.
"This live chat session is extremely helpful for students..mostly International students whose English is not first language. thank you so much :)
- 1st year undergraduate student in QLD, September 2018
"It is always good to have someone to guide along to improve my English skills."
- 2nd year undergraduate student in NSW, January 2018
For more information, reach out to the team at Studiosity today.