As new technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and big data have propagated, there has been an understandable level of confusion over just what skills will be required to thrive in the future.
Whilst most education providers are run by people well into their careers, a team from the University of Nottingham have attempted a different approach. The team, which is facilitated entirely by students, has recently created an online course to help people navigate the future of work.
A Student’s Guide to the Future
The course, entitled ‘A Student’s Guide to the Future’, explores the various emerging technologies and their impact on areas such as education, politics and the workplace.
The course consists of modules on the ‘future of work’, the ‘future of knowledge’ and the ‘future of civil society’, whilst also examining the discourse around the future in each domain.
“This course started as a stab in the dark really, but it’s since taken on a life of its own”, says Oliver Bream McIntosh who designed the course. “In the midst of intense digitisation and marketisation, Abel and I are convinced that the student experience is changing in very important ways. At what point does big data start to look like surveillance? When does our use of social media take on an antisocial character? When does information overload start to undermine learning? Students are simply not invited to the table enough to seriously and openly discuss these challenges. Indeed, one of our own university’s senior management, referring to students as customers, said “the customer doesn’t know what they want”. This course is, in a sense, all about proving them wrong.”
The six week long course will help students understand topics such as marketization and consumerism in higher education, student activism and public participation on social media, and artificial intelligence and automation in the job market. The idea is to cover topics that are hugely important to young people, but largely absent from traditional university courses. The pair hope to launch the course on the FutureLearn MOOC platform in the coming academic year.