Flexibility in Higher Education: Revisiting Expectations
Keywords:Flexibility, higher education, technology, change, pedagogy, implementation, scenarios
We have studied the construct of flexibility in higher education for many years, as researchers and practitioners. In this context we define flexibility as offering the student choices in how, what, where, when and with whom he or she participates in learning-related activities while enrolled in a higher education institution. In a textbook we wrote on the topic in 2001 we identified options that could be available to students in higher education to increase the flexibility of their participation. We studied these from the perspective not only of the student but also in terms of their implications for instructors and for higher-education institutions and examined the key roles that pedagogical change and technology play in increasing flexibility. Now is it nearly a decade later. We will revisit key issues relating to flexibility in higher education, identify in broad terms the extent to which increased flexibility has become established, is still developing, or has developed in ways we did not anticipate directly a decade earlier. We will also review our scenarios for change in higher education related to flexibility and contrast these with a more-recent set from the UK. Our major conclusion is that flexibility is still as pertinent a theme for higher education in 2011 as it was in 2001..