The Future of Liberal Education in the New Learning Ecosystem
Digital technologies have changed higher education in many ways, including through online and blended learning platforms to deliver courses and degrees, technology-enhanced pedagogies, and experiments in digital badging and stackable credentialing. Yet despite this activity, the impact of technology on higher education has somehow been less than the sum of its parts. It has been unevenly deployed, and too often thought of merely as a tool or solution, rather than integrated into a wider vision of education. This runs the risk of creating a divide between two kinds of digitally-enhanced education: one focused on access and scale and another focused on quality and high-impact learning. This panel seeks to move our thinking about higher education in the new digital environment beyond these simple binaries that pit integrative liberal education against a more granular, pragmatic education. Instead, we want to chart a third path, an approach to liberal education that is not merely advanced by digital tools but reshaped by the new learning ecosystem to enable student empowerment, fluidity between formal and informal learning, and collaborative curriculum design.