USC 2025

An Example Scenario Exercise

Browse through the resources and videos and think about the ways that USC might change over time.  Describe both undergraduate and graduate education and research at USC in the year 2025 in one or two paragraphs.  In other words, what is USC’s story in the future and why does the university matter? A quick analysis of our collective ideas will be provided by USC’s Scenario Lab.  For additional ideas, please click here.

For general reading on key environmental changes expected over the next decade or longer, please click here and for additional sites to peruse, please click here.


Post your narrative below (prior to the retreat if possible)!

43 thoughts on “USC 2025

  1. USC 2025 Narrative

    In 2025, USC, recognizing the limits of individual or even traditional (horizontal) interdisciplinary entrepreneurial endeavors, has trained its focus on the synergistic power of the intellectual, emotional, productive energy of all persons associated with the university (faculty, students, staff, alumni, community, peer institutions, media, friends of USC, fans of USC, activists, advocates, legislators, policy makers, etc.). And has developed a system of communication that is embedded in their everyday functioning, that allows for exchange of ideas, education, organization of tasks and projects, and viral recruitment of new members of the community through transparent public communication. No longer does the university have faculty, students, and select members of peer institutions collaborating in isolation in a particular project. The university has embraced the idea of open source, and has helped its community to see the power of sharing it’s knowledge and findings as they are uncovered, and monetizing that knowledge by allowing others to take it in any direction they can. This increases the speed and distance of science & discovery exponentially. It has transitioned into an open source community, where anyone interested can follow, like/share, participate, evaluate, and critique the work as it happens, even before it is finished. Their participation alone further disseminates the information.

    For example, let’s say I am an alumnus of UCLA, and am looking for the latest work the Bruins are doing in humanistic psychology. Sadly, when I reach out, I am told that since I’ve already graduated, and am not interested in becoming a graduate student, all I can do is use my library privileges to read the articles or books after they are published, or go to the faculty’s websites. But, I am of the generation that expects to participate in everything, as it happens. I expect to get involved in anything I have an interest in just by getting online. So I do a search, and I stumble across USC’s open source science/practice/life platform (USC-SPLAT). I meander around the site, and find exactly what I’m looking for. I am interested in the work in being done using science in neurology, attachment, biochemistry to illustrate how the principles of humanistic psychology work (e.g., accurate empathy, importance of relationship in psychotherapy, self actualization, meaning making). I am using SPLAT to get 1) updates, 2) calls for lab assistants, 3) requests for congress letter writers, and 4) requests for funding, and this platform is integrated into all of my other social networking platforms. So as I participate in discussions, debates, and critiques on the work, as it happens, my participation is published on my other social networks, and is seen by my friends who have similar interests. They also begin to get involved in the work being done.

    The definition of what it means to be a scholar shifts. Anyone who accesses SPLAT can choose to become involved in the discovery of new knowledge, evaluation of existing knowledge, and the expansion of ideas. Faculty and students will continue to be involved in scholarly activities, but so can staff, alumni, and colleagues from peer institution. Most exciting, with this new platform, so can people with no previous formal relationship with USC. We can invite lay people, activists, policy makers, inventors, and anyone else with an interest to participate in our work. School children can connect their own class assignments to our research. In so doing, we can create communities of interests, where new projects and ideas can be created and undertaken by others in our community. We will no longer be thinking only of our projects; they will only be a part of what is getting done. And with this distribution of intellectual and productive energy, we will be able to further our area of research exponentially.
    Meanwhile, our campus has become a physical representation of our SPLAT platform. We have transformed our physical campuses from a traditional set of office, classroom, and lab buildings, to an “open source” community. The hearts of campus are 5 to 7 welcoming gathering places—Discovery Houses–with movable communal furniture, food, drink, fireplaces, windows, AV equipment, internet access, rentable computer equipment with flexible hours. Vertically and horizontally connected to these Discovery Houses are a mishmash of labs, offices, apartments, conference rooms, as well as transparent display rooms (similar to the Heritage Hall or the School of Cinema “lobby”) where the latest SPLAT innovations are on display (sort of mini science center exhibits). Also attached will be rec rooms, gaming rooms, music rooms, reading rooms, day care centers, movie theatres, small theatres for performances, grocery stores, doctors’ offices, pharmacy, gyms, wellness/yoga centers, nutritionists, meditation rooms, counseling centers, tutoring centers, etc. These are places where everyone (community members, tourists, high school students, retirees) is welcome. This also required a different parking system. The entire campus sits on top of an underground parking structure. Parking is free, or very inexpensive. The university has replaced that revenue by monetizing foot traffic on campus (movies, rec room, gaming, concerts, medical clinics, yoga centers, counseling and other services, etc.). The point in this shift was to attract the community to campus, not prohibit them through fences, parking fees, and security.

    These Discovery Houses are the driving force for innovation on campus. In fact, just the other day, faculty and students met with community members, and discussed their work being done on SPLAT to address how the knowledge emerging on mirror neurons could be used to teach empathy skills to at risk kids. They threw their schematic up on the projector in their seating area to discuss next steps in the project. This attracted the couple sitting at the next table, who were visiting from India, and have been interested in funding projects that foster leadership in at risk kids. An economist over in the corner overheard these conversations and requested a lecture in the Discovery House about their work, because he and his colleagues have been wanting to understand more about how humanistic principles could be infused into economic policy, but need scientific data to give their argument credibility. They all retired to one of the conference rooms to flesh out their ideas further. The couple decided to rent a room in the Discovery House so that they could meet with the humanistic group the next day to discuss ways they can become involved in the work. They wanted to bring their granddaughter to campus anyway to see the mini museums and take her to a play the next night. Another patron, a student, also heard what had gone on and remembered he wanted to give a talk on his discovery during his class assignment – a video documentary on stray dogs in the neighborhood, and their impact on traffic conditions – to see if anyone else would be interested in helping him work with the community in coming up with solutions. He approached the admin and scheduled a time for his talk. It immediately got posted to the Discovery House’s SPLAT page, and a video of the talk was uploaded for those who couldn’t make it, and he posted it to his own SPLAT page, as well as the rest of his social networking pages, and his course SPLAT page. Additionally, SPLAT uses hashtages to search for key words in postings so it got posted to the Civil Engineering, Vet School, and Community Planning SPLAT pages, as well as that of the pet lovers, alternative transportation, and animal therapy SPLAT pages. From these, it went viral onto other news and social networking outlets through the hashtag pick up.

    Infused throughout both the physical and virtual USC presence is the commitment to the following 5 elements of human existence: Social, Spiritual, Cognitive, Developmental, and Emotional. USC has committed to improving the human condition. It has separated itself from the traditional university model by disposing of the artificial façade of the pureness of academic endeavors, devoid of human fallibility, bias, emotion, and politics. USC instead has proclaimed that it embraces those elements of human existence, thereby harnessing and monitoring, even shaping their influence over our thinking and development. USC is no longer existing only as an educational endeavor for its students, a career endeavor for its faculty and staff, and an entertainment/funding endeavor for its alumni. It no longer compartmentalizes itself in that way. Eliminating, too, its efforts to meet student/faculty/staff needs through one or two options (e.g., nondenominational chapel for spiritual needs, greek system and cohorts for social needs, student affairs for developmental needs, etc.). Instead it has transformed itself into an environment in which social, spiritual, cognitive, developmental, and emotional elements are addressed in all aspects of people’s experience on USC’s physical and virtual platforms.

    In classes, biology professors connect lessons on zygote development to students’ social, emotional, cognitive, spiritual, and developmental experience through the various ways they read, watch, and do in the class. The professor assigns an online video, documenting an infertile couple going through the IVF process. The couple is debating whether to transfer the embryo on day 3 or day 5. The research says that the embryos are far more likely to implant and reach a successful birth if they reach blastocyst, but the research hasn’t shown whether it has a better chance of reaching blastocyst inside or outside the uterus. Waiting until day 5 will at least allow the couple to know sooner whether the embryos are going to mature, but they don’t know whether putting them in on day 3 might have helped the weaker embryos to reach blasocyst. It is possible that keeping them outside the uterus until day five contributes to the failure of embryos that might have survived en utero. But, the waiting for a month is agonizing month after month. And what about their spiritual beliefs? Are they playing god? Are they endangering their embryo by waiting? Students are assigned blog readings by scientific, political, and religious activists around the issue, and have to work together to develop a set of questions for the couple and doctors to answer regarding this issue. Each of them then has to interview someone in their family to get their views on the issue, or someone in their cultural community, and report back to the class the perspective of those they interviewed, as well as their own critique of what they heard. The students subscribe to the class “page” on the SPLAT network, and receive biweekly postings of articles from major news papers, think tanks, global activist groups, science news (impact of pesticides on embryo health), infertility psychotherapy groups, and other credible sources, so that they can comment on them, sparking online discussions on these pieces. They would also have assignments connected to their own sexual health and wellness, or those of their generation. In this way, USC becomes an educator of reflective, critical thinkers who know how to access multiple sources of information, teach and dialogue with their peers, and who know how culture plays into their perceptions.

    Finally, USC doesn’t just talk about these five elements of existence. It fosters them. Both platforms (virtual and physical) have wellness services, where faculty, students, and staff (and their families) receive counseling, tutoring, mentoring, teacher training, grant training, research program planning, life skills training, exercise training, yoga training, meditation training, nutrition services, spiritual exploration, and coaching. Written information, videos, blogs, and Hot-Lines on all of these elements is available for free to all who wish to receive it. And the university has found a way to monetize the services for those not employed by, or registered with the university, so that the public, peer institution colleagues, and others can access selected services, furthering the USC brand as the bridge between people and their next steps toward actualization. Finally, the university has mined the research on creativity, productivity, and innovation, and has rewritten its policies so that employees and students’ experience is structured in a way that cultivates these things. Regular trainings are given in leadership, time management, creative strategies, and there is an office that oversees the implementation of these policies so that faculty and students do not feel overworked, overburdened, underappreciated, or undercompensated. USC is known for its schedule that requires extensive time for reflection, retreats, rejuvenation, social exchange, feedback, support, and reward. Its leaders receive training in motivational leadership, the science of change, and positive psychology. There are multiple layers of information, services, and support. Risk taking is encouraged. The voice of all of the stakeholders is what drives the direction of the university. It is a bottom up organization, rather than a top down institution.

  2. In a perfect world, the university of 2025 will consist of new disciplines that make sense for a digital world; current disciplinary boundaries, having coalesced during the ascendency of print, must be reconfigured for a digital era. The majority of classes, particularly at the undergraduate level, will be held on site, but all will include an online component that extends and enhances the learning. MOOCs, for instance, will be seen for what they are: digital libraries with video “books” that are enhanced by online marginalia. The affordances of the digital endow filmic texts with book like characteristics. Thus, there will be wide consensus that “flipping the classroom” is actually flipping the textual artifact: the video (filmic text) is assigned as preparation (much the way that reading books currently serves this role and will continue to serve as preparation), and classroom time will be reserved for interaction, both between students and faculty and among students. There will also be wide consensus that online educational entities like MOOCs are not encroaching on the university causing faculty to become obsolete but just the opposite: time with faculty will be the valuable commodity. Lastly, the university of 2025 will not continue to denigrate teaching but understand that epistemology and pedagogy cannot be separated—our ways of knowing are inextricably linked with our ways of transmitting that knowledge, whether in the classroom or via publication. The growth of SoTL (the science of teaching and learning) indicates this trend, which is good news to someone like me, whose research and scholarship has always been about and informed by pedagogy.

  3. I see the Internet transforming education and research. On line and on campus education will be integrated by having virtual students on campus. Many traditional courses will be open sourced and students will be able to take patch together courses from different universities and gather expertise without formal degrees. Research will involve international collaborations using the Internet to share common data. Epidemiological studies will be done with Facebook, Twitter and other mass media to get information on millions of individuals. USC must be a leader in all these endeavors to maintain its reputation and to survive in this digital age.

  4. Much of the discussion about technology focuses on the DELIVERY – which is one of the things places like USC does – but the discussion does not focus on the other function of a university – the CREATION of knowledge. Research intensive universities are and will continue to be well placed to create knowledge – teaching universities might be disadvantaged in this regard. If the standard tenure track division of responsibility (research, teaching, service) holds true, technology may impact the teaching delivery but universities will have a niche in the other two domains.
    The other aspect of technology may be to change how we define “student.” The current model is intense engagement for a limited period for a specific official recognition – normally a degree or certificate. This may change such that contact with the university is a lifelong affair for varying periods of time and purposes – meeting a specific need in a way that is rapid, technologically enhanced, and individually purposed. It will broaden the notion of the University in many ways.

  5. The most important thing that USC has done by 2025 is find the balance between new cutting-edge technology and the tenets of tried-and-true classical learning. This is not an easy balance to find. By 2025, using smart classrooms and utilizing technology to bridge instruction across boundaries of space and time, the quality of our connections will not simply be the end but the means to conveying both deep thinking and feeling. Screens and other virtual ways of reading will live alongside books and manuscripts in a harmony that we only dream about today. As much as we will have learned to use technology, we will never give up the trusted methods of in-the-flesh classroom instruction through top-notch lectures and seminars, studios and labs. This holism will be our trademark, the reason why students choose us over other great schools in 2025.

  6. The relative importance of ways of thinking will take precedence over cotent as an outcome and we will see students build customized learning pathways and outcomes. The instructor will increasingly be cast in the role of facilitator and coach and many more modalities will be used in all aspects of the learning environment. The traditional campus and online environments will both prosper so long as universities can build and nuture collaborations linking faculty, staff and students.

  7. USC Provost’s Retreat

    The University matters because it inspires and facilitates learning in 2025. The knowledge repositories and dissemination, however, will differ from today’s model. Cross-discipline, cross-undergraduate and graduate communities, and local professional partnerships will enrich applied learning. Decision-making will include more stakeholders.

    Primary research will expand to undergraduates who will partner with graduate students and faculty who may be in other countries. The use of technology will encourage this input diffusion and data collection.

    More graduate and undergraduate students will engage in community-based learning, Increased experiential learning will take place in simulations and in collaborating workplaces through the advances in technology.

    USC and businesses will foster online learning programs with community colleges in order to better prepare the academically talented to transition to the university.

    Business, science, and public policy schools will form online communities that inform USC and instigate and assess change in the Southern California area.

  8. Undergraduate: USC will provide a rich, apolitical opportunity to learn and digest principles about the physical world, social and spiritual interactions. Rather than mimicking other universities, USC will have retained a commitment to the breadth with depth principle. Technology has been utilized, but has not replace personal contact between faculty and students.
    Graduate: Integrative studies really are accepted, including traditionally integrative studies. The pursuit of excellence has not been defined solely by recognition within narrow fields or past funding. Masters degrees have not become merely a source of tuition from a second round of undergraduate studies, but have remained high content platforms for further research and practice. (Practice has not become a dirty word.)
    Doctoral programs are fostered in all fields that need them, in order to compete successfully in a changing world.

    Yes, this is not exactly what was discussed in the “readings.” But the readings foster (or preclude) a particular direction precisely by not addressing a certain range and scale of topics.

  9. We find ourselves at the juxtaposition of wanting to stay current or, even better, be innovative in our approach to higher education, while at the same time, as faculty, being handcuffed by the financial barrier inherent to creating an engaging online approach to education. An overwhelmingly common statement by attendees at the “Cybertools for STEM Education (CyTSE)” conference sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Berkeley last year was that the development and maintenance of innovative online tools was only as good as your last NSF grant dollar. What were once promising multimedia approaches to science education became stuck in a kind of cyber-limbo referred to as “cyber-shelving” once the source of outside funding ran out. This reality has forced some educators to partner with private industry in the hope of hitching their wagons to an endeavor with greater resources and hopefully, business based longevity. However, this marriage between higher education and private industry is an uneasy one fraught with ethical issues, including the educator ceding control of the process, and there is always the possibility the company may decide to take on different directions that do not include the interest of the faculty. Nonetheless, this outside partnership coupled with faculty application for funds from the federal government or private foundations seems like the only reasonable solution, since USC provides at best seed funds coupled with advice or direction offered by departments like USC’s CST. In an ideal world, USC would provide support through programming and related resources to develop and maintain online educational products and tools.

  10. Adapterd from:
    Staley, D. & Malenfant, K. (2010) Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Higher Education 2025, Association of College and Research Libraries.

    Bridging the scholar/practitioner divide USC community teams consolidate around one knowledge problem, with diverse members – academics, community, politicians, social workers, and other practitioners – bringing expertise from their diverse disciplines and worldviews.

    Everyone is a “non-traditional” student
    The interwoven nature of work/life/school is accepted in higher education as life spans increases. Knowing what the workforce wants, students are active in designing their own learning outcomes, and the personalized curricula becomes the norm. Faculty evaluate students on demonstrations of learning – such as policy documents, marketing plans, or online tutorials – rather than old measures based on “seat time” and “credit hours.” Life-long information literacy is primary in the educational experience, thus students will become critical consumers of information.

    Longevity is the new wealth
    Taking care of our brains through mental exercise is as important as physical exercise. Seniors pursue passions they previously put off – learning meditation, foreign languages, advances in nutrition, and new technology to stay connected with family and friends. Nomadic in their midlife years, Boomers return “home” to USC to reside in specially designed communities, complete degrees, find new spouses, and, ultimately, to be buried. Faculty deliver continuing education in assisted living settings as satellite campuses and specially designed distance education for seniors, generating new revenue streams.

    Community over consumerism
    USC adopts triple bottom-line accounting to consider financial, human, and environmental costs of their operations as well as contributions to society in these three areas. Students embrace distance education as a way to reduce carbon footprint.

  11. Adapted from:
    Staley, D. & Malenfant, K. (2010) Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians: Higher Education 2025, Association of College and Research Libraries.

    Bridging the scholar/practitioner divide USC community teams consolidate around one knowledge problem, with diverse members – academics, community, politicians, social workers, and other practitioners – bringing expertise from their diverse disciplines and worldviews.

    Everyone is a “non-traditional” student
    The interwoven nature of work/life/school is accepted in higher education as life spans increases. Knowing what the workforce wants, students are active in designing their own learning outcomes, and the personalized curricula becomes the norm. Faculty evaluate students on demonstrations of learning – such as policy documents, marketing plans, or online tutorials – rather than old measures based on “seat time” and “credit hours.” Life-long information literacy is primary in the educational experience, thus students will become critical consumers of information.

    Longevity is the new wealth
    Taking care of our brains through mental exercise is as important as physical exercise. Seniors pursue passions they previously put off – learning meditation, foreign languages, advances in nutrition, and new technology to stay connected with family and friends. Nomadic in their midlife years, Boomers return “home” to USC to reside in specially designed communities, complete degrees, find new spouses, and, ultimately, to be buried. Faculty deliver continuing education in assisted living settings as satellite campuses and specially designed distance education for seniors, generating new revenue streams.

    Community over consumerism
    USC adopts triple bottom-line accounting to consider financial, human, and environmental costs of their operations as well as contributions to society in these three areas. Students embrace distance education as a way to reduce carbon footprint.

  12. We know that the world, and the world of education, will continue to change in ways that we can and can not anticipate. With that said, it is clear from our resources and commitment that USC will remain relevant and a leader in whatever futures arrive. To realize that relevance and leadership fully, USC must be willing to make curricular innovations as the need arises (in other words, we must be a pedagogically agile institution). In addition, it would be wise for USC to encourage its undergraduate and graduate students to establish a scholarly and professional presence on the Internet, perhaps in the form of an e-portfolio that showcases their aptitudes and aspirations.

  13. In 2025, USC will be the hub for all faculty and students to connect to global resources that enrich their education and research experiences right on the campus. For example, a USC student will walk in a classroom on campus at 9:00am and greeted live, on a large video wall, by her German classmates in Berlin at 6:00pm their local time. At 5:00pm, she attends another USC class together with her Chinese classmates in Beijing (9:00am the next day) and Korean peers in Seoul (10:00am the next day). Guided by class instructors, she engages in live discussions, synchronized QAs, and participates in collaborative teamwork with her global classmates in all USC courses throughout the semester. The USC campus becomes a “Hub-to-the-World” for many students (and researchers) like her who can learn and work together with global peers across physical, institutional, and cultural boundaries.

    As an urban university located in a crowded city, our future lies on how we use modern technologies smartly to break the physical confinement. In addition to using technologies to enlarge the delivery distance between teachers and students (e.g., the current distance education programs), we should also use technologies to eliminate the collaboration distance between all learners and researchers (e.g., the no-distance education model). In this way, all USC faculty and students can become active global players right from our local campus. Our globalization efforts in the 20th century has brought USC to the world; now it is the right time to use technologies to bring the world to USC in the 21st century.

  14. The university of the 21st century will have a vastly different shape and form than it does today. In the past, students paid tuition to receive classroom instruction and academic certification. The recent MOOC movement, however, has made high-quality courseware available to everyone free of charge, and the current economic recession has rendered well-paid employment unattainable for many college graduates. Now that classroom lectures are free and many university degrees are underwater, is it still possible for higher education to continue attracting students to pay for campus education in the future?

    Elite universities in the developed world have been a key driver of globalization. As the world has become flatter, these institutions have begun experimenting with different strategies to retain and enhance global influence. Some promote the value of indigenous tradition, and continue to recruit international students to study on their main campuses. Others seek more direct means to expand their overseas reach, and thus build new campuses in foreign countries. In today’s highly connected world, is there a more effective strategy for leading universities to leverage global presence with local virtue?

    Global education should lead to a mutually deepened understanding of global culture. International students who pursue degrees on foreign campuses are often overwhelmed by the local culture, and can therefore be ineffective in engaging in balanced cultural exchanges that benefit their local classmates. It is difficult to develop meaningful cultural insights through short-term overseas studies, and time away presents challenges for returning students reentering their regular curriculum. In light of the widely held belief that global travel is necessary for globalization, is there a better model for future students to enjoy global education without leaving home?

    These are the key questions that all leading universities in the 21st century must address: what is the new value proposition for on-campus learning, how do we overcome the paradox posed by the tension between global presence and local virtue, and can we deliver quality global education right from our local campus?

    • A possible answer is iPodia, where the “i” stands for “inverted”, “interactive”, and “international,” a new pedagogy for 21st century global education. The iPodia pedagogy is based on three hypotheses, that (1) contextual understanding is essential for effective education – hence the inverted learning, (2) what you learn depends on with whom you learn – hence the interactive learning, and (3) diversity increases learning opportunity – hence the international learning.

      In regards to the first hypothesis, context is what one uses to make sense of subject content while learning and practicing. Unlike content, which can be taught by teachers with lectures, contextual understanding can only be co-constructed when learners engage with each other. In the conventional learning process, students are first being lectured on using subject content in school, and are then asked to exercise problem solving at home to develop contextual knowledge by themselves. iPodia inverts the traditional schoolwork and homework process by having students first watch online lectures at home to learn subject content before attending class to engage in various collaborative activities with their classmates to develop contextual understanding. iPodia employs this inverted learning process to support the first hypothesis, thereby creating a new value proposition for campus education, turning away from content-based lectures and towards nurturing context for more effective education.

      The second hypothesis is a corollary of the first one, and states that subject content can be learned “from” teachers (or textbooks) but contextual understanding is best developed “with” peers. Thus, the kind of context students can learn from depends on, to a large degree, the peers with whom they are studying. The inverted process explained above transforms the learning paradigm from passive (i.e., be lectured on) to active (i.e., to participate in.) By turning the “learning-from” pedagogy into a “learning-with” pedagogy, iPodia takes the active learning approach one step further, emphasizing interactive learning. Unlike traditional distance education that uses IT to expand the delivery distance between teachers and students, iPodia is a “no-distance” learning approach in which IT is used to eliminate the physical distance that hinders interaction between remote learners. iPodia enables interactive learning across geographical, institutional, and cultural boundaries to substantiate our second hypothesis, thereby overcoming the strategic irony of global presence versus local virtue for elite universities.

      The third hypothesis is built upon the second one, because if what we learn depends on the people with whom we learn, then our learning opportunity is increased when we study with a diverse group of learners from different social and cultural backgrounds. Beyond the traditional inter-disciplinary focus, iPodia focuses on inter-cultural learning, by linking together classrooms on multiple campuses in different countries and culture regions around the world. This international dimension expands learning opportunities for all iPodia students, enabling them to interact with, and learn from, global classmates right on their own campuses. Students are more comfortable interacting openly and freely with their foreign peers in iPodia classes because they all feel (and in fact are) at home! This proves that, in the age of IT, global education can be effectively delivered at home. The enormous social and cultural diversity of iPodia students confirms our third hypothesis, as students’ learning outcomes include transcultural insights of global contexts and mutual understanding of each others.

      The iPodia Alliance is an independent global consortium among leading universities, based on the iPodia pedagogy to promote a “classrooms-without-borders” paradigm for 21st century higher education. The Alliance was initiated by the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, USA. Other founding members include: Peking University (PKU) in Beijing, China; National Taiwan University (NTU) in Taipei, Taiwan; Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon, South Korea; Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) in Haifa, Israel; RWTH Aachen University (AACHEN) in Aachen, Germany; and India Institute of Technology – Bombay (IITB) in Mumbai, India. Additional members from South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Russia are being invited to represent other major world cultures. All collaborating iPodia institutions retain their independent identities, and work together strategically in course development and classroom delivery via the iPodia platform, to address important socio-technical subjects and significant global challenges.

      There are three principles that govern the operations of the iPodia Alliance. First, the “equal-reciprocity” principle encourages members to strive for balance between iPodia courses offered to and received from the Alliance within a certain period. This ensures that the benefits of equal contribution can be shared among all participating members. Second, the “revenue-neutral” principle holds that members are responsible for the costs incurred by their participation in all activities, and no money (e.g., tuitions, etc.) will change hands between any Alliance members. This promotes a not-for-profit culture, which will allow Alliance members to focus on collaborative win-win contributions. Finally, the “not-joint-degree” principle states that the Alliance’s main goal is to share courseware development and collaborate on course delivery, rather than to create joint degrees among its member universities. This enables all Alliance members to maintain the independence and uniqueness of their curricula, which form the basis for their valuable contributions to the Alliance.

  15. Undergraduate & Graduate
    BY 2025, we will be so used to accessing each other via video online, that 1) education will be of better quality in this format, and, 2) higher value will be placed on in-person analogue educational experiences that are required for specific skills. Some students will be willing to pay more for in-person experiential learning – and will understand the value of it.
    Didactic lessons appropriate for very large numbers of students will grow via distance learning, however other types of learning that require smaller groups of students will be offered for a premium.
    Some courses could have multiple instructors in multiple locations – there could be sharing of professors amongst universities. Discipline-specific and multi-disciplinary cohorts of instructors interested in similar topics will be much more interconnected.

    Training in best-practices for telehealth for healthcare professional education will be standard and required.

  16. The University is still a place for residential undergraduate and research doctoral work but is no longer constrained by Jefferson, Vermont, Figueroa or Exposition. Committed to the notion of a world of life-long learners, classes are shared both domestically and internationally. Some are just video-taped and streamed. Others are created as distance learning courses for degree programs but available to anyone interested in new knowledge. Executive education has become an on-line activity and the University develops fee-based customized programs for corporations around the world. All professional degree programs other than medicine and dentistry are taught on-line. Even medicine and dentistry use technology to address patient issues, learn from renowned non-USC faculty experts, and collaborate with students at other schools. New ICTs enable students in all programs — both distance and residential — to collaborate both synchronously and asynchronously. Faculty- student interaction is engaging, extensive and elegant in its simplicity.

  17. In 2025, USC will fully leverage telepresence to augment existing learning platforms. Specifically, we will engage students in a geography independent fashion that will improve access to USC faculty for students abroad. It will also incorporate a “social” component which engages future students in a way that will take advantage of how they are already interacting with their friends and family. Essentially socializing the whole experience with an online “study hall” that allows students to engage the USC content in a dynamic manner with each other. The online curriculum can dynamically tailor itself based on the student’s performance and then direct them to the appropriate USC faculty member or assistant for further help / mentoring.

  18. I would like to comment on the future of medical education at Keck SOM. In 2025, medical education would have a curriculum that would be competency based and training would be tailored to individual needs of the particular learner. Those that enter medical school with prior career experience in health care may not need the same education as those without this experience. People learn at different speads and may be able to acquire some knowledge more quickly but need to spend greater time learning certain other skills. Assessment of competencies can be continual with ability to progress to next level based on demonstration of appropriate mastery. Much of the training could be achieved from a distance with use of technology to teach and assess progress. Simulation hubs and clinical training sites could be established regionally. USC’s role would be as a pioneer in this technology and in the ability to offer this innovative curriculum design.

  19. I think we’ll see an expanded role for online teaching and a shift to a greater proportion of class and teaching time devoted to engaged applied thinking rather than info transmission. What I’d also like to see is a much wider array of means of following and communicating,student progress on specific abilities—hopefully aided by increased use of technology to analyze data on student performance. For example, clicker technology allows analysis of response times and patterns of answers for individual students–allowing more tailored teaching. Freed up from spending as much time in lecture prep, lecturing and grading, perhaps we can have faculty who are more available for small group and one-on-one individual feedback and teaching–on the tutorial model of the old English universities

  20. In 2025, USC will be an international education hub. The University will have students from all over the globe participating in classes via online media. The campus will still be the center of Trojan life and culture, but the level of classroom vs. online instruction will have largely shifted towards interactive online media. This in turn will extend the “global reach” of the university, and provide accessibility to students for whom a USC education both in the undergraduate and graduate arena has remained largely unattainable.

  21. Undergraduate students who will enter USC in 2025 will have undergone a K-12 education that was enhanced by technologies such as games and other computer-based learning. Technologies that foster creativity and knowledge development have been part of their sandbox. Increasingly, K-12 also involves children in online-learning. These students most likely will seek highly individualized curricula and, at the same time, interest-driven small and large learning communities, which connect in non-traditional ‘classrooms.’ This might change core programs that a geared towards one particular profession, because traditional professions, or one-track careers are increasingly obsolete. Professionals of the present and future must be critical and creative thinkers who will be able to easily adapt to or develop new career paths. Technologies are a vehicle and one of many means to foster knowledge acquisition and creation.

    Another colleague below described the faculty of tomorrow as a valuable “commodity,” a person who will engage with students to “make sense of it all” maybe on a more personal level than the current norm. For example, teaching might become a more personalized experience where small groups of faculty from different disciplines connect, guide and interact with small and similarly diverse groups of students (possibly continuously over a four-year period, or beyond). What is now a core program might become a core academic group. They will use and collaborate via various available technologies with a purpose of academic and professional pursuit. In other words, that a faculty teaches one course over a number of years might not be applicable anymore. Rather they, too, might teach and learn beyond their discipline and develop a new kind of continuity with their students.

    Like others on this blog have pointed out, MOOCs will develop further, undergraduates might be involved sooner in academic research, and/or learn experientially and in connection to community organizations, both locally and internationally.

    Graduate students have an even higher demand for specialization, and online programs will become the norm. These students desire programs, courses and learning community circles “a la carte” to advance their careers. Education is uniquely positioned to take advantage of virtual opportunities and its endless choices of specialized courses and programs. But many fields outside of education utilize technologies primarily to streamline their operations, etc., to enhance and improve services and information access; i.e., here technologies and software programs are “conveniences.” But since they ultimately cannot replace the need for human actions and interactions, the university has to ensure that in the “graduate virtual world” the people-to-people aspect does not get lost.

  22. The readings and other materials provided in preparation for this event bring up a number of issues. One additional issue that I think is important, however, is the need for both interdisciplinary research and education–both at the graduate and undergraduate levels. As a major research university and one of the largest campuses in the nation in terms of total student enrollment, we have expertise in a large number of areas that can be deployed. We must continue efforts to encourage interdisciplinary perspectives, continuing and expanding our current programs such as the Renaissance Scholars. Although we must encourage our existing research faculty to pursue interdisciplinary work, reducing currently real and perceived risks associated with this type of work. Ultimately, however, we must contribute to a new generation of scholars who will be comfortable with this approach.

    A lot has been said about technology. As I see it, technology is a tool that can help improve the quality of education. However, we must be careful to avoid pursuing technology for its own sake. A lot has been said in the reading and videos on large scale online classes. With the large numbers of people potentially taking classes online, there would clearly be limited opportunity for student-faculty interaction and course discussions. Some sources have talked about peer driven interactions. I am somewhat of a skeptic here. I am not sure that the results found in studies of small groups of full time students in elite universities can be replicated with a large and more diverse set of online students. Ironically, such techniques may have potential in improving the experience for our resident students, but I am not sure that these are a viable approach to providing high quality of education for massive numbers of online students.

  23. My comments are directed at the health sciences, which are inevitably shaped by strong external forces, such as the health care delivery system and the rapid evolution of technology for research and patient care. There will be much change by 2025, likely happening at a pace that cannot be anticipated today. Biomedical research will increasingly move in the “big science” direction and for research, teams of scientists across USC will be linked and possibly brought together into entities that do not reflect traditional schools and departments but the problem under investigation. USC’s scientists will be members of larger teams that may have global interconnections and that will likely involve substantial data sharing and interactive analysis. Research training will reflect this new paradigm and give increasing emphasis to quantitative methods suitable for extensive data sets. Medical education, particularly in the pre-clinical years, still relies far too heavily on conventional classroom teaching. There will be a move towards distance approaches for “lecture” complemented by in-person problem-based learning. Greater emphasis will be given to preparing students for a career in a quickly changing health care environment.

  24. In 2025, USC will embrace an educational style that is multidisciplinary, multicultural, experiential, and interactive, utilizing a hybrid approach that incorporates on-the-ground classroom learning with video/online technology. In effect, the style is the educational equivalent of what geographers call a deep map, viewing the many layers of specific subject matter, focusing on the interconnectedness of all topics, balancing the personal with the global. In 2025, the university attracts students who want to have a non-passive learning experience that allows them a certain amount of control in terms of pacing, depth of inquiry, and creativity; these students deliberately choose to study in the city of Los Angeles, a center for new models of thought, cultural diversity, and invention. In 2025, the university attracts professors who want to provide more one-on-one mentoring and who are adept at demonstrating synthesis rather than emphasizing compartmentalization; these educators deliberately choose to teach and do research in the city of Los Angeles, a center for new models of thought, cultural diversity, and invention. In 2025, the arts are recognized as necessary for the health of the nation, promoting innovation, creative problem-solving, self-examination, and awareness of the unknowable–and USC is a leader in the arts.

  25. In 2025, USC retired faculty will be participating in and contributing to the intellectual life of the university community in significant ways via the Internet and widely used social media. From their homes, they will routinely serve as guest speakers in classes and presentations as well as mentor students and junior faculty. On campus, they will offer webinars and other streaming presentations and meet face-to-face with students and junior faculty whom they are mentoring. Retired faculty, no longer embedded in departmental and university power structures, will offer perspective and independence in service on university committees. In 2025, the University Archives and the Faculty Career Records Management System will have up-to-date digital files on all retired faculty, including CVs and copies of papers and publications, so that the contributions of retirees can be easily identified and meaningful biographies written.

  26. By 2025USC will spear head the drive towards a balanced yet pragmatic approach to teaching learners and increasingly teachers whose entire life has been spent in the digital era.
    The internet of things will become the internet of education where educational activities will have their virtual representations in an Internet like structure. Collaboration will be borderless and not based on a clock or calendar. Augmented reality in education will mean students and teachers will collaborate and learn in real time while sitting on the campus lawns or in front of computer screens at home. The nature of collaboration will exponentially expand as “wiki classes” will foster learning and creation of new knowledge. This is the pragmatic approach as the issue is not should we do this or even how can we do this but who will drive it, teachers or students.

    The balanced side will reinforce the human side of education. Virtual reality aside, the most virtual piece of education still involves face to face contact. But USC faculty will be providing this face to face contact to improve the ways our students think and create knowledge rather than digesting facts. They will mentor collaboration, inquisitiveness and creativity. There will be value in meeting face to face and students will view it as a necessity not a requirement.

  27. We must never lose sight of a our goal of knowledge generation, student mentorship/guidance and contemporary research in uses of technology. Delivery is only one component of this. Technology can (and perhaps should) mediate most if not all other important purposes of research active universities

  28. I believe much of the core content of many of our courses especially in STEM disciplines will be available, openly on the Internet. What the open-source courses serve to do is curate and pedagogically structure the current body of knowledge, they do not expand it. Thus, producers of new knowledge will always be in high demand. This is where a university like USC can still have value. Some kind of hybrid curriculum must be created. One possible vision of this is:
    • Students may take some number of these online courses before attending USC and garner subject and unit credit (similar to our current AP system in high schools).
    • USC then offers a 2-3 year practicum/project-based/research-based experience. To do this, USC places students into small cohorts of 15-20 students led by (likely, non-tenure track) “practitioners” who stay with the cohort for multiple years as a kind of expert/mentor and integrator of knowledge as they perform projects and research experiments, all while using best-in-class online sources for gaining knowledge.
    • At the same time, research and TT faculty, rather than teaching course A,B, or C instead interact with cohorts to expand, enlighten, and cast vision for the cohorts learning (similar to their current mentorship of their research groups) by conducting projects and/or research experiments all while the practitioner helps the cohort integrate that knowledge.
    • Cohorts can interact across disciplines, reform for specific projects, etc. but each student has a “practitioner” and home cohort that help them navigate their learning experience and provide cohesion, context, and community.
    • Cohorts can engage with similar cohorts globally (which will become much easier as remote technology and network bandwidth improves).
    • This kind of environment likely cannot be duplicated by online experiences (or at least be degraded somewhat) and this approach will likely turn out higher quality students with greater probability of innovating or better serving employer needs.

  29. Two scenarios:

    The least likely scenario, albeit far from impossible: The integration of technology into teaching as USC could follow the path of some of its professors who have made the mistake of thinking that by merely using technology, learning will improve. This has led to the use of power point slides for the sake of using technology, without a clear pedagogical purpose and often, as a result, undermining the quality of the educational experience for students. If we are not careful, the quality of a USC education could suffer from the poor integration of this new suite of tools for educating.

    For brick and mortar universities that make this mistake, the best designed of the MOOCs will become real competitors.

    A more likely scenario: USC will work closely with its faculty to encourage the effective use of technology in the classroom. As a result, we will see a dramatic increase the use of technology in the classroom to reinforce, not replace, classical methods of teaching and learning. Students will increasingly rely on technology in multiple ways to prepare for the classroom experience, that will focus more and more on discussions of assigned materials, on student presentations of these materials, and other exercises through which students interact with the materials.

    While MOOCs will have become ubiquitous, they will be unable to compete with a university such as USC that continues to focus on teaching the kinds of skills that require close interaction with instructors – critical thinking, core writing and oral presentation skills, etc. And technology will find its place in improving our ability to teach these skills .

    Finally, USC will reinforce the international character of the university by using technology to integrate foreign on-line students into USC campus courses through agreements with foreign universities and there by significantly enhance the learning experience of students in the USC campus classroom.

  30. I would like to comment on what I believe USC will look like from the perspective of my school, the Thornton School of Music. In 2025, we still need to engage students one on one in person while implementing modern technologies. Contact will be even more important as a facet of education given the evolution of technology and it simply cannot be replaced. Current and future technologies will allow for students to engage with other faculty, students and resources worldwide as an addition to the personalized experience they receive the USC campus. There are exciting possibilities for collaborations musically through use of the internet when bandwidth and latency issues are resolved. The campus itself should remain an integral hub for all of these collaborations to take place.

  31. The USC education experience of the intermediate future should address the need to effectively personalize learning across all USC stakeholder populations. This involves mining informal and non-formal learning spaces in addition to formal learning spaces where the USC brand may be felt not only geographically but also temporally. In some circles this has been characterized as lifelong, life-wide, and life-deep learning. The result will be very different forms of credentials in addition to degrees, certificates, and other text-based symbols of experience and achievement. Multimedia (text, image, video, audio, and animation) will be central to any efforts to transform each student into a credential as herself or himself. We must also be concerned that any hybrid online and onsite learning experiences directly impact the health, housing, employment, education, and safety of all students to the level needed by that learner.

  32. 2025 is 12 years from now. That is about 6 technology cycles (computer speed, storage size, and network communication bandwidth doubles every 18-24 months.) So we can expect the capabilities of IT (in general) to be 50-100 times as powerful as they are today. Many things that are just now becoming possible (massive computation and data driven research; high-definition video sharing and video-conferencing; sophisticated AI, simulation, and game-based learning will be commonplace by then. Access to high quality education environments (developing from today’s MOOC’s and similar experiments) will be easily available (cheaply but probably not free).

    The quality of our teaching will improve to take advantage of these materials and (hopefully) student outcomes will improve. The educational part of Universities will have to rethink their business models as competition (especially from non-traditional rivals) will increase. The outcomes here will vary enormously depending on the type of institution. The research and scholarship part of Universities will continue to be more collaborative and inter-disciplinary with inter-institutional collaborations becoming the norm as the costs to provide high-end research infrastructure continue to rise.

    In order to continue to be a leading University, USC must aggressively engage the faculty in exploration of, experimentation with, and deployment of these newly emerging developments and opportunities.

  33. USC 2025

    What’s missing in this conversation about the future of the country, the future of higher education and the future of USC is the research/prognostications/discourse about WHO the next generation of learners will be. Certainly, the economic, global and political contexts are important. But we cannot discount the impact of the people who will be moving within those contexts, driving those changes and perhaps surprising us with what they do. By 2025, Gen Xers will be getting close to retirement age, the Millennials will make up a significant portion of the workforce and the next generation of students – Generation Z? – will be the ones occupying our buildings and online learning spaces. True digital natives, these young people may have been the first to live their entire lives out on social media – from the first Tweets about their birth to childhood photo albums & Timelines on Facebook.

    While the lagging world economy, decline of America’s international influence, and poor investment in K-12 education could certainly make a negative impact on the potential of this generation, my hope is that we find the means to invest in these kids, and that we (as educators, as higher education administrators) find a way to make the university flexible and responsive … and that we are able to leave our fears about losing relevance behind. Instead, we must stay close to our mission, our vision — to create knowledge and foster learning.

    I’m intentionally leaving out the issue of platform – whether we learn online or on campus, here or elsewhere in the world, may not be relevant. What will distinguish us from other universities is whether our graduates are prepared to lead in their respective fields. That is my hope for the next generation of student and USC for 2025.

  34. In 2025, USC will be recognized around the globe because of it’s emphasis on global learning and technology… as an institution where a single class, research project, service or program will be comprised of and enriched by students, faculty, professionals and community members from all over the world… not in the same physical space, but in a common virtual space they all share thanks to distance learning and collaboration technologies. Further, USC will be known as the institution that “really gets” diversity and as the university that trains students to be both creative and critical thinkers, able to adapt and apply their knowledge and skills to a wide range of populations and settings. “Intercultural competence” will be a hallmark of the USC graduate. USC will be known as the premier source of quality and relevant post graduate training of professionals, again using distance learning and developing technologies. Finally, in 2025, USC will be most known for their applied approach to education and training… as the university that aims always to enhance human well-being and to end social isolation, inequity, and injustice.

  35. Highly effective, personalized online education for many STEM subjects is widely available. In particular these online systems are used almost universally in school systems around the world to teach math from arithmetic through differential equations and basic high school and college sciences. Some modules are available for some graduate school level topics. Adult learners also use these systems as needed.

    Over the past 15 years a few large universities have taken the lead in creating broad interdisciplinary research, engineering, and creative media production teams that have built the complex computing infrastructure, analytical techniques, personalization algorithms, testable learning theories, instructional design models, massive numbers of engaging learning modules, and business models that have made these systems possible and so successful. These few universities are getting huge financial and reputational rewards from their pervasive presence in everyone’s education from the minute they start learning.

    Universities will be forced to change their undergraduate and graduate curricula to accommodate the fact students will learn online most of the things currently taught in large class sections. Universities will have to provide students with something they can’t get better, quicker and cheaper online – such as guided and refereed projects in which they creatively apply what they’ve learned, opportunities to work with others in person to accomplish a goal, guided explorations of the intersections of divergent subject areas, real world problems, messy data, and conflicting ideas and agendas. Different kinds and lengths of degree programs will emerge.

  36. Clearly, by 2025 and beyond there will be an immense need to further connect students from their individual classrooms and research environments on USC’s various campuses to intellectual and cultural activities off-campus (on a global scale). By 2025, it is highly likely that USC will maintain its status as one of the major research universities with a large number of international students. This important intellectual resource – both to the international students themselves and to the domestic students with whom they interact – will be further enhanced in all fields of study at the university. Growth of USC’s Residential Colleges for undergraduate and graduate students will certainly enhance these interactions on campus. Internationally, I believe we will have to move beyond the Internet (“beyond the computer screen”) for students, faculty, advisers, and alumni to have meaningful and sustained interactions. Perhaps focus on enhancing on-site international travel and education; increasing language skills among students; developing cultural competence (to name a few). USC has the potential to be a world leader in this regard.

  37. My vision of USC has two key elements: learning community and ensuring key competencies for all graduates. I see USC taking the lead in continuing to develop on-site learning communities and in develop true national and international online learning communities. I also see USC using initiatives like the updating of the General Education requirements to move toward ensuring that all graduates have mastered key competencies needed for success in any future endeavor. I see USC in 2025 as moving closer to becoming “the” University of this century through continuous innovation while holding true to our core values.

  38. Today’s five-year olds will enter USC’s freshmen class in 2025, today’s 22-year old graduating seniors will be 35 and established in their first or second career, and today’s 35-year old faculty member will be 48 and have helped lead USC to our next level of academic excellence. Although we can speculate on the many advances in technology and communication tools that will have taken place by 2025, USC will continue to prepare students to lead by understanding principles of change and constancy. Technology will change what is possible or how to achieve a goal, but what remains constant is the need to understand human nature and motivation, desire for community and connection, and to evaluate information to make informed choices. Learning will take place through scenarios, projects, games, and interactions with faculty and fellow students.

  39. All students will do yearly service in the community or national/ world wide via technology.
    Answering the questions on Guaguin’s painting will be primary:
    Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?
    No classes for information, only for converging and socialization.
    A return to theology in the sense that the University will provide spiritual awakening as well as professional trainings.

  40. In a perfect world: USC education, research, and medicine will go entirely mobile in the near future – way before 2025. Mobile games will be a natural part of teaching. New teaching technologies will make testing our students obsolete. The word ‘place’ will have an entirely different meaning. We will be able to merge with universities across the globe, the roles of teachers and students will become less hierarchical. We will finally incorporate ethics as part of our curriculum across the board. We will put research first, and the deep need to communicate our findings to students and the community in near-time will inform our education practices. We will re-envision the peer review process and be world leaders in wearable information technologies that transmit, capture, and analyze data on the go. We will have a forward thinking leadership that protects our genius faculty, junior as well as senior, protects some of our time to promote innovation, provides the technological support infrastructure that we need to be leaders, dares to take risks, and makes sure that USC is even “better” neighbors to a broad global community.

  41. In the Year 2025, the physical university has dispensed with lecture halls and has given way to production labs, studios,interdisciplinary and flexible, technology enhanced meeting spaces for testing new concepts locally and globally. Digital and Analog fabrication labs are available for proof of concept prototypes. Data analyzation centers provide feedback in understanding experiments set in motion. Faculty have on campus labs, studios or ‘theaters’ of practice with days of scheduled interaction. Students Interactively engage in experiments in learning in order to discover principles necessary to their study, and in order to learn how to process theories of their own that might result from their engagement. Faculty are available on a scheduled basis for face to face or online feedback.
    Required university foundation courses focus on direct individual experiential observation that use hands on systems for recording observations…drawing, writing, time-based documentation, creating simple formulas to explain phenomena. Required courses in understanding information it’s implications and critically thinking about them and then re-interpreting that information through a different discipline leading to the application of learned information into another discipline’s language, becomes proof of knowledge gained and opens levels of communication between disciplines.
    Territorial imperative gives way to class scheduling that is synchronous between disciplines that will allow students and faculty to structure meetings together to solve a single problem, each from their own discipline.

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