Education is expensive. Let me state this fact one more time — Education is expensive. Colleges and universities must do what they can to provide outstanding learning experiences for their student body. Teaching relevant content, empowering and guiding students, along with providing learning experiences that allow pupils to create and produce meaningful artifacts with the new media are absolute necessities in today’s landscape in higher education. I would argue that education should, as much as possible, be designed and developed with care and attention to ensure that students do get the experiences they need for future employment. Although there are so many ways one can achieve the former, there are three important components that colleges and universities should have to provide the very best experience for its students.
- Have a great attitude towards your students. It never ceases to amaze me how many professors simply don’t care about their students. All that they care about is just themselves — What are they going to publish, which conferences are they going to attend next year, or if they are going to be promoted to associate or full professor. The professor of the present must look at their students with positivity and always be ready to help. Let’s not forget that without students, there is no department. If there is no department, there is no revenue and consequently… there is no job for you. Smart university professors put their students first. Great administrators enforce this rule.
- No walls. You heard this right. Take the walls out and let students expand their knowledge outside the walls of a university. I am not saying that classrooms are not important. Of course they are critical for the development of an undergraduate. We should use classrooms for training, accordingly. However, classroom environment will rarely train students for the challenges they will face these days. The challenges are several and will occur quite frequently. Let me explain — It is literally impossible to teach event planning to Mass Communication students without actually going to an event. Students will never be as prepared for a crisis if they haven’t experienced one in school. It is okay for students to experience failure once in a while in a real world setting while in college. The classroom of the present should have no walls and no limits.
- Reasonable use of technology. By reasonable I mean using technology to design and develop new media artifacts, communicate with classmates via smartphone technology to ensure that classroom projects are being completed in a timely fashion, and using open source content to collaboratively produce summaries and reports about students’ progress for the teacher. There is no need for students to be on a computerized device non-stop chatting with friends in social media. Three to five hours a day of technology use is more than enough to accomplish such tasks.
Education is expensive but good teachers can reverse this trend. By focusing on students, teachers and professors can serve as catalysts and definitely help students develop themselves into more mature and functional members of society. By doing the former, professors not only help students but also help themselves, as well. I am not aware of any institution where the needs of the faculty take precedence over the needs of the students. Do yourself a favor to yourself and the academy — Defend the students so they can succeed. If they win, you win. In the end, it is about them not you. The secret, my friends, is to be student centered — hands down.