Scanning Retrospective, No. 34

‘From the pages of prospect’ – No. 9

[Originally published] Issue 8, June 2002

  • Virtual schools
  • The radical restructuring of higher education
  • A choice of transformations for the 21st-Century university
  • Foresight Snippets, No. 23


Welcome to the June 2002 issue of prospect — the Foresight Bulletin, from Foresight, Planning & Review.

In this issue, I’ve chosen articles which deal, respectively, with: the source of most of the main cohort of students of post-secondary education; the pressures impacting upon the structure of post-secondary education leading to a radical restructuring of higher education; and a number of possible alternative forms for the transformed university of the 21st Century.

And, a reminder that the Foresight Snippets contain “live” web links to the articles cited in them, so if you are reading prospect using the Adobe Acrobat reader, just click on the link.

As ever, I hope you find these articles (and the Snippets) interesting and thought-provoking.

Virtual Schools

Post-secondary institutions must expand the nature and composition of their student/learner/client/customer base. In the shorter term a significant fraction of students will still come from secondary education. The appearance of virtual schools clearly will have an impact on the style of and expectations about learning which students will possess as they enter post-secondary education. Virtual Schools examines the appearance in the education landscape of virtual schools, and the factors which promote or slow their spread. Technological change, economic rationalism, and the suitability of conventional schools for the “information age” are identified as reasons for their growth. Conversely, the identification of an appropriate pedagogy, the lack of required teaching skills, the need for student supervision, socialisation, and concerns for the reshaping of human values are seen as reasons why virtual schools will not rapidly overtake conventional ones.

Russell, Glenn, and Bernard Holkner. 2000. ‘Virtual Schools’. Futures 32(9–10):887–97. doi:10.1016/S0016-3287(00)00037-9.

The radical restructuring of higher education

The Radical Restructuring of Higher Education was one of the documents used in developing the context and narratives of the Swinburne Scenarios (see prospect No. 6, December 2001), and which forms part of the collection of strategic intelligence we’ve been scanning for in the FPR for about two years now. The author argues that the generating conditions which made institutions of higher education part and parcel of the modern state and modern capitalism have evaporated. The new conditions are forcing a radical restructuring.

Manicas, Peter T. 1998. ‘The Radical Restructuring of Higher Education’. Futures 30(7):651–56. doi:10.1016/S0016-3287(98)00072-X.

A choice of transformations for the 21st-Century university

In A Choice of Transformations for 21st-Century Universities, a former President of the University of Michigan outlines a number of key possibilities for how universities might reconceptualise their form and operations. He offers nine basic models for higher education, ranging from the more usual “cyberspace university” to other less common models. He also says: “although we can never predict the future with absolute certainty, we … are not relieved of the responsibility of vision”. This is the very essence of why we do foresight work!

Duderstadt, James J. 2000. ‘A Choice of Transformations for the 21st-Century University’. The Chronicle of Higher Education 46(22):B6–7. This essay is adapted from A University for the 21st Century, published in March 2000 by the University. Copyright © 2000 University of Michigan Press. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Foresight Snippets, No. 23

[published in Retrospective No.23]


prospect is a quarterly publication of the department of Foresight, Planning & Review, Swinburne University of Technology.

Futura tenaciter in prospectu tenemus

This publication is intended to serve the broader Swinburne community, by highlighting areas of interest and concern to Swinburne stakeholders, by helping us take a long-term foresight view, and to expand our perceptions of our strategic options as we move forward together into our common future.

This collection is © 2002 FPR and Swinburne University of Technology. Copyright for the individual articles resides with the original authors and/or the original sources as listed. All articles have been used either with express permission or, where express permission is not required, following stipulated re-use guidelines.


NOTE: In all the posts in this series, the original source URLs are left exactly as they were when published 20-odd years ago. This means they will almost certainly be dead links (or good ol’ 404 errors). I do not have the patience or inclination to follow-up or find any archived or re-located versions of those web pages (because, well, life is too short). But, if it really bugs you, I invite you to see if you can find archived or relocated versions of those dead-link pages. And if you do, let me know, and I’ll update these posts with due credit to your detective work.

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