The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is no stranger to innovation.
In 2016, the research university pioneered low-cost education with a $7,000 master’s degree in computer sciences. In recent years, the institution has experimented with artificial intelligence and reimagined the campus library.
Georgia Tech’s Commission on Creating the Next in Education recently released a report on the public research university of 2040 and beyond. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Beth McMurtrie sat down with Rafael Bras, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, to talk through Georgia Tech’s higher ed predictions.
Prediction 1: Artificial intelligence will play a greater role
Georgia Tech previously experimented with an AI teaching assistant and found that the agent could handle the majority of exchanges between students and professors, says Bach. While there’s more work to be done to design a sophisticated AI tutor, the technology will be instrumental to improve students’ access to information.
Prediction 2. The path to graduation will become less linear
The report suggests that the future student’s college journey will include numerous entry and exit points. Graduation may no longer be a student’s final goal—especially for student entrepreneurs.
At Georgia Tech innovation hub, students have founded over 81 startups, which collectively $2 million through investments in just three years. In the future, student entrepreneurs may leave college and rely on faculty mentors as they pursue their business. Later on, they may return to college to graduate, or for other offerings, he predicts. To accommodate a meandering path, colleges may also experiment with subscription models, where students pay as they go while they stop and start their studies.
Prediction 3: The campus experience will still matter
More students are enrolling online courses for both flexibility and cost, but the traditional residential experience will still be in high demand in 2040. However, a campus’s student population may widen to include more K-12 students and older students.
Prediction 4: Collaborative spaces will be the key for innovation
The report envisions a shared space with entrepreneurs called the Georgia Tech atrium. In this space, students, alumni, and others can access information, mentors, and lectures (McMurtie, Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/17).