3) What do you see coming in the future of collaboration and student engagement?
CJ: The walls are coming down – so fixed classrooms are going away. I don’t think campuses will ever go away, not any time in the next 100 years for sure. But the idea that a campus is populated by a bunch of drones with closed doors and you schedule access to those rooms and you go sit in those rooms for a fixed amount of time, I think that’s going away really quickly. I talked to [CTOs on the education side], and they’re having a really hard time getting their heads around what that’s going to look like, how purchasing patterns will change, getting students engaged with their faculty, etc.
Think of the graduate seminar model, where students volunteer to take a seminar because they’re interested in a subject. Well, they had to find that topic and sign up for it and attend a particular location to do it – that’s going away quickly. What you’ll have are groups of people on a campus because they’re all in pursuit of a particular goal…those people find each other quickly, faculty find those people, those people schedule time directly with a faculty member and collaborate around a goal in that topic area, and they do it in ad-hoc spaces… That’s a very different approach from the scheduled classroom.
4) What tips should colleges follow to prepare for the future of collaboration and student engagement?
First – don’t engage hardware-specific platforms. Their life cycles are three to seven years, and collaboration in the classroom is still being defined. To become part of the dialogue, engage with software companies like us.
Second – think heavily about the BYOD mandate and smartphones coming into the classroom, and the role that they play. You can’t ignore them anymore. I think most of the forward-looking institutions have gotten past that, but I have met some that have faculty that still collect [devices] in a basket at the door. That’s exactly the thing that you can’t do.