The classroom used to be seen as the only stage for a teacher to share their knowledge and promote student learning. We have witnessed a tremendous evolution in this view over the past decade with the growth of online learning. This change has allowed new higher education models to be adopted some of which are coming from business (along with new challenges as I commented on previously)
Faculty took advantage of the internet to start moving classroom learning online more than a decade ago. Now decision makers, in government or high ed administration, seem to be increasingly attracted to online learning as its effectiveness as a teaching strategy increases, not to mention the cost savings that can be achieved through the lower demand for building space.
Student affairs now has an opportunity to be integrated into this new environment by moving community development online. Web 2.0 provides the tools for this change to happen, but a new paradigm must be adopted. One where the internet is not used solely to market face-to-face activities to students, but to develop community online as end in and of itself.
Online communities are now a regular part of our lives and student affairs must do more than simply join these communities. Student affairs must actively participate online, train students how to interact effectively in these communities and find innovative ways in this new medium to enhance the student experience. To remain relevant in a new post-secondary world, where students will interact face-to-face less often in a classroom, student affairs must translate its community development expertise to the online environment.
My school has been developing some strategies aimed at making the shift I am describing above - a shift to Student Affairs 2.0. This change will impact many aspects of students affairs and I see great value in generating discussion with student affairs professionals from across North America and around the world. Because of my interest in trying to understand this future I intend to share more of my thoughts on my blog in the coming weeks and I would welcome any questions or comments.