Q&A on Trendlines in Education and Technology

headshot-teddi-fishman-110x130In our Plagiarism Education Week webcast with Bryan Alexander from NITLE, "Glimpsing the Future in the Present: Surveying Trendlines in Education and Technology," he explored some trends and how they will impact education in the future. We received many great questions during the presentation, but couldn’t get to them all in the short time we had. Bryan has posted his responses to some of these unanswered questions here on the Turnitin blog.

Farah: To link to our theme on Plagiarism, do you believe there are trends that we can trace with the proper versus misuse of knowledge attribution with the advance of technology?

BA: It's possible that document ecosystems (Kindle, iBooks) make it easier to identify and credit authorship. The free play of open content might, perversely, make that more difficult. The rising importance of datasets will lead to new plagiarism questions, since those aren't as easily acknowledged or understood as creative work.

Bhagavathy: What kind of trends do we have in adult learning? Especially the kind where people are trying to shift careers?

BA: Great question. First, a strong emphasis on convenience for learning, hence the appeal of online learning. Second, a focus on practical skills.
It's possible we'll see an expansion of traditional-age undergraduate institutions to include more adult learning.

Sondra: We have a trend taking place where paying internships are now students in higher education doing community service and is cleverly called "service learning courses.” Where is this?

BA: It's a good example of how we demand more job preparation from education.

Ancilleno: What about hiring requirements? Have employer needs changed significantly?

BA: It's hard to determine this with objective precision, but there seem to be demands for "soft skills": communication with coworkers, the ability to take initiative, to work in teams, to learn on one's own.

Teresa: What about eBooks in education? Is that plateauing also?

BA: Growth is incremental. Electronic textbooks have been very slow to be adopted. In scholarly literature we've moved to a mostly digital format for articles, but not so for monographs.

Badre: If Southeast Asia adopts the US education model today, how many decades before that region will face the same issue you mentioned about higher education in the US today?

BA: It depends on the demographics. I'm not sure at what point Southeast Asian nations will cut back on reproduction (leaving off China, of course).
It also depends on the funding models for higher education. Watch for governments to cut back subsidies.

Janie: Houston Community College just announced a new chancellor. He is both an engineer and recent President of Texas State Technical College, Dr. Cesar Maldonado. Does this choice reflect trends for community colleges in the US?

BA: In terms of greater emphasis on STEM? Perhaps. STEM fields are certainly attracting far more energy and money than are the humanities.

Sondra: Any comments on plagiarism in the workplace due to technology?

BA: Great question. Closed intranets reduce that to a major degree. See my earlier point about open vs silos.

If you missed this or any other Plagiarism Education Week webcast, you can view them all on-demand at your convenience.

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About the Presenter

Bryan Alexander is senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE). He researches, writes, and speaks about emerging trends in the integration of inquiry, pedagogy, and technology and their potential application to liberal arts contexts. He is active online, combining research with communication across multiple venues and tweets steadily at @BryanAlexander.