Times have changed. Have colleges and universities kept up with those changes?
These four recommendations will ensure that public education is on the right path for future success.
Require data science studies
Our lives have become inundated by data. Consider all the texts sent, Google searches conducted, and social media items posted every minute of every day. Data can become overwhelming, particularly if you do not fully understand what it is all about.
Even if a student is not majoring in a data-related field such as mathematics or computer programming, everyone needs to have an increased data literacy level. For example, data science studies will factor in Business Administration Curriculum Planning, allowing the BA majors to interact with their data-focused classmates and future co-workers effectively.
Conversely, our highly technological society must not overlook ethics. Since much new technology development strives to improve people’s lives, ethical considerations are a must. Colleges and universities are encouraging graduate liberal arts majors to assist with computer studies and add a human touch missing from data science studies.
Social scientists work in numerous fields that research and examine human beings. They are best suited to consult on the issues of ethics and logic often missing from technology.
They also are instrumental in bridging the gap between technology and the general public. People ignore many studies because they do not understand what they mean and, more importantly, what the information has to do with them or their families.
Ensure data is open and interoperable
Open data is used or re-used freely, possibly only requiring attribution or sharing of any modifications. With all the information generated now and in the future, data must be open and available to ensure interoperability among numerous systems and components.
Colleges and universities are active participants in the creation of research data. Therefore, they should be involved in determining how this data can be shared wisely and widely.
Useless knowledge is useful
Just because a bit of information is not a means to an end does not make it useless. On the contrary, colleges and universities must instill in students the ability to be curious and broaden their knowledge scope without immediately applying it to solve a problem.
By doing so, they are developing compassionate and empathetic graduates who will work on computer data ethics and the human side.
However, research projects with limited funding do not have the luxury of learning for learning’s sake and must insist that it be associated with a specific application. It is the responsibility of higher education to champion the benefits of useless knowledge.
With the world becoming more data-driven by the day, and automation taking over so many of our age-old jobs, reskilling is necessary and daunting.
“Reskilling” is when an employee must learn an entirely new occupation, whereas “upskilling” teaches an employee new skills to perform better in their current field.
Colleges and universities must be prepared to handle the formal education part of both reskilling and upskilling, while on-the-job training can cover the information needs.
These are just a sampling of ways to future-proof our colleges and universities. It is essential to stay current with the needs of our culture. Our future depends on it.