fbpx
Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
Help shape the future of international education at the ICEF Monitor Global Summit London, September 23rd 2024
28th Nov 2018

Not a campus but a storefront: A new concept for higher education delivery

Earlier this year, a special pan-institutional committee at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) released a report on the future of higher education. The group was tasked with exploring innovative approaches to higher education and with making “recommendations on alternative educational models that reduce costs, improve the effectiveness of current methodologies, and increase opportunities and accessibility to serve the needs of the next generation and beyond.” Given Georgia Tech’s prestigious position and its history of innovation in programme delivery – including offering full graduate degrees online and its participation in the University Learning Store consortium – the report’s findings (and the US institution’s next steps) are likely to draw some attention from educators around the world. The Georgia Tech report, Deliberate Innovation, Lifetime Education, is underpinned by a number of important changes in how students are approaching higher education. In fact, the findings reflected there have much to do with some of the important trends we have been tracking in recent years, including the rapid growth of online and hybrid learning models as well as the growing importance of non-degree qualifications (often referred to as “alternative credentials”). The report’s authors propose nothing less than a reimagining of the higher education model. They envision “a future for college not conceived only as a physical place one enters at a particular age and exits when a degree is completed, but rather as a platform for the increasingly diverse – in age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status – population of learners,”…and one where that platform blends “in-person and digital learning experiences.” The model relies as well on, “Advising and professional coaching that starts much earlier in high school [that] will provide students multiple pathways through the undergraduate and graduate experience and will be sustained for a lifetime by renewable learning with multiple on- and off-ramps beyond degrees and certificates.”

A distributed worldwide presence

Among its five major initiatives, the Georgia Tech proposes a “distributed worldwide presence” for the institution. Changes in student demand and technology play a part here but so too do economics and the idea of shifting the institution away from a solely degree-based experience and toward the lifelong learning orientation described above. In essence, the report challenges the idea that a university needs a campus to do its work, or at least that all students will need or want a traditional campus. “The physical campus is, however, a fragile model,” it argues. “This is especially evident in public education, where regional colleges and universities that are essentially copies of much larger land-grant and flagship institutions are established in localities that would otherwise not have access to college-level programmes…the high fixed cost of operating a central facility cannot be sustained when there are not enough students interested in the high, fixed-price degrees and programmes offered in that facility. Institutions that have tried to open foreign campuses have also seen this effect.” As an alternative to such high-cost facilities, the report recommends a pilot for a new model that the institution has already taken the precaution to trademark: the Georgia Tech atrium™. The atrium is a “scalable distributed presence” for the university that would have the effect of creating local storefronts for Georgia Tech in a variety of locations throughout the US and around the world. The atrium model is a “portal to real and virtual services” at Georgia Tech, but also a marketplace based on two existing services: the Library Store and the University Learning Store. The Library Store is a new model for library services that in part allows students to have remote access to a high-quality research library. The University Learning Store is an on-demand, online training platform offered by Georgia Tech and several other noted US institutions. Georgia Tech imagines that atriums could be established in a wide range of locations, including co-working spaces, commercial offices, or in retail centres. The idea in each case being to provide students with a way to connect to the university, and its programmes and services. While institutions may rely more on digital delivery, it remains clear that online learning students value opportunities to engage with faculty, peers, staff, and services from their institution. It is clear as well that the more modest local centres anticipated in the atrium model would allow a university to expand its physical footprint with much less expense and risk than is the case for more conventional branch campuses today. There are many implications of this simplified storefront approach, including that such centres could be an important lever in expanding the international links of prominent institutions and, in an international context, further boosting participation in online learning or other transnational education initiatives. This at least makes the Georgia Tech atrium™ experiment an interesting one to watch, and an opportunity for real innovation in higher education delivery. For additional background, please see:

Most Recent

  • Australia: Study visa grants down nearly a third through April 2024 Read More
  • Study maps employment pathways for international graduates in US; calls for expanded career services Read More
  • Home Office data confirms downturn in UK visa issuances through Q1 2024 Read More

Most Popular

  • Comparing student visa proof of funds requirements across 20 study destinations Read More
  • Canada: More provincial cap numbers announced; IRCC moves up end date for post-graduate work for partnership programmes Read More
  • Lessons from Denmark: The downside of limiting international student flows Read More

Because you found this article interesting

Home Office data confirms downturn in UK visa issuances through Q1 2024 A 13 June data release from the UK Home Office confirms a decrease in student visa issuances for...
Read more
Number of English-taught degree programmes rises by 22% from 2021 to 2024 A new report from British Council and Studyportals, “Mapping English-taught Programmes Worldwide,” reveals that in 2024, there are...
Read more
Market snapshot: A guide to international student recruitment in Brazil FAST FACTS Capital: Brasília Population: 218 million (2024) Youth population: 44% below the age of 30 Median age:...
Read more
Will the US host 2 million international students within the decade? A new analysis from international research firm HolonIQ sets out four future growth scenarios for foreign enrolment in...
Read more
UK: Review finds no abuse of Graduate Route; recommends that current work rights remain in place for international students Following months of speculation, the UK’s Migratory Advisory Committee (MAC) has concluded its “rapid review” of the Graduate...
Read more
UK: Home Office data finds a significant drop in student visa applications for first quarter of 2024 The UK’s tightened immigration settings are having a profound effect on international student demand for educational programmes in...
Read more
The other side of a “V-shaped” recovery: 2024 and the transition to steadier growth in international enrolment “The year ahead will likely be a transitional one, marking both the end of the post-COVID era and...
Read more
How international students are deciding on graduate business schools QS has conducted an extensive survey exploring the motivations and preferences of international students interested in advanced business...
Read more
What are you looking for?
Quick Links