According to the US education website Education Dive, in 2018, university and college leaders should focus on the five following trends.

1. The blurring of the boundaries between non-profit and for-profit education, with the two sides cooperating to form a new commercial model

An important change in the amended Higher Education Act approved by the US Congress (the PROSPER Act) qualifies alternative programs to apply for tuition and other subsidies from the federal government. This will allow more cooperation between traditional institutes of higher education and for-profit organisations (training camps) to emerge in higher education. Purdue-Kaplan’s New U is an example.

2. The US is becoming the largest exporter in international higher education

In 2017, the number of the overseas students in the US fell substantially. To deal with this, some American universities have started to search for new international markets. For example, the University of Arizona has set up micro-campuses at cooperating universities in countries such as Mexico, the Philippines and Jordan, to provide degree programs to local students. In 2018 the number of such micro-campuses is expected to increase.

3. The physical classroom is being redefined

Changes in teaching models have led to corresponding changes in teaching spaces. With the traditional lecture-based class being abandoned for interactive learning, many universities are studying how to use teaching spaces to enhance these new methods.

4. Demand for micro-certification is emerging

With the increasing number of students in non-full-time degree education, the heads of traditional institutions of higher education are starting to consider providing courses leading to micro-certification and employment. With the launch of free community-college programs in various states in the US, the heads of traditional four-year universities, and especially those of private universities, need to find new ways to attract students not interested in gaining a degree. Meanwhile, institutions offering higher education should strengthen their cooperation with local enterprises to provide short-term courses that improve job skills.

5. The development and utilisation of mobile applications is accelerating

With the increasing number of non-traditional students entering two-year and four-year universities, all universities will be forced to leverage mobile technologies to provide more comprehensive learning experiences, arousing the attention and enhancing the sense of belonging of their students. Some universities have started to provide virtual campus tours via mobile applications, and even make use of enhanced and virtual-reality technologies as enrollment and teaching tools.

Compiled by Lai Pengfei, E-Learning