With all the negativity attached with COVID, it is also eligible to get the Best Teacher Award for the year 2020 as it has taught the entire world to use the technology for teaching-learning in an effective manner.  The pandemic has made us realize that the future world will be dominated by the technology. Future Classrooms will be totally different than the present world with students having access to abundant learning resources. The drivers of change would be emerging technologies of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, 3D Printing, Robotics, Drones, Blockchains, 5G, self-driving cars, Augmented reality, Virtual reality, Holograms and Quantum Computing etc. The need of the hour is to equip the students in these skills and to urgently work towards reducing the time lag between the speed of change and the time it takes to produce a workforce with the desired educational qualifications and skills and prepare graduates who can do more useful and valuable tasks than the mundane jobs that can be done using AI.  It is the synergy of well-educated humans and the best machine learning models that will address the challenges the world faces today.

The learning in future will not be limited to a university in which one takes the admission or to the teachers who are teaching or to the duration for which he has enrolled for a given programme. As free online learning resources are in abundance today, the concept of compartmentalizing education into different academic programmes of a specified duration would be fast disappearing.  The future of education will see the learner as a totally independent person who can learn from multiple sources for the life time and get employment opportunities based on the skills, talent and learnings rather than the degrees earned.  Drawing analogy from the past, when theatre artists used to work on fixed salaries but are now free lancers, the teachers of future may also not be looking towards a salaried job but may work as teaching nomads in multiple universities and obviously the best teachers would be engaged more often as compared to their counter parts who have not exerted much to acquire the required knowledge base and pedagogical skills. Rather the best teachers will be able to have their presence everywhere with their holograms, created in mixed reality studios, giving lectures  in various countries that too in different languages attuned in their own voice.

The future students would build up their profile opting for a ‘pick and mix’ model of credits on different online courses gained from different universities across the world and thus experience an intellectually challenging experience rather than attending a single university. The campuses of the future will be more open, adaptive to changing needs, more environmentally conscious, physically, mentally and spiritually supportive and more grounded.  Students will have the option to attend lectures in person, online or at a later time as and when convenient to them.  AI Apps will keep a track of the students in terms of what classes they have attended, the learnings they have gained, the use of academic spaces like labs and libraries, attendance in seminars and conferences and even track  their social media accounts resulting in their 360 degree appraisal.

Universities of future will have a physical campus as well as a campus “in the cloud”. Former faculty and graduated students can continue to take part in the “cloud events” even after leaving the Campus and the universities will continue to support their students with lifelong learning even after they have received their degrees so that they continue to learn, unlearn and re-learn.

This Article is written by Dr (Mrs) Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi.

By Admin

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