What Are the Attributes of a Future-Ready University?

Increasing digital learning opportunities for all learners is the focus of the future-ready movement. Although the movement itself focuses on the K-12 environment, there is a lot that a university can do to build on its foundation. So what does a future-ready university look like?

First, it has stakeholders who are committed to creating future-ready learners. Tools, such as this interactive planning tool, can help a university become future-ready.

Second, the future-ready university is absolutely committed to digital equity for all of its learners. Although popular perception features college learners as perpetually connected to their devices, the reality is somewhat different, especially when economic factors occur. Recent research has revealed that a large percentage of college learners are food insecure, which suggests that they may be “device insecure.” So a future-ready university is prepared to ensure that all learners have adequate access to digital learning opportunities.

Third, a future-ready university emphasizes important lessons in digital citizenship for its learners. Although a few learners may have completed a rigorous digital citizenship curriculum as a K-12 learner, most will not have. A future-ready university will help learners prepare to legally use digital media. Plus, future-ready learners need to understand how to maintain appropriate relationships online. 

Universities need the resources to coach learners as they respond to cyberbullying and other uncomfortable situations in the digital age. Helping learners to think about their digital footprint and online reputation is also crucial, especially since university learners will be entering the job market within just a few short years. Further, learners will need help in learning how to keep their private data secure. 

Lastly, universities have an enormous responsibility in helping learners learn how to evaluate info that they find online. Recent research shows that many adults do not possess adequate skills to appropriately vet info for bias and relevance. 

These digital citizenship skills are a challenge in an age of reduced resources and tightening budgets. But these attributes are necessary for future-ready universities. Stakeholders can become prepared to leverage these skills by engaging with the future-ready movement, perhaps by following the official future-ready account on Twitter.

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