Changes in Student Demographics, Behaviour, and Expectations in Higher Education

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Busch, Andrew
Schwerin, Belinda
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Gratchev, Ivan
Espinosa, Hugo G
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2022
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Abstract

Since the founding of the first university around 1,000 years ago, the styles of education, along with the demographics of students, have changed considerably. With the advent of online learning, and particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, these changes have significantly accelerated. The past three decades have also seen a considerable shift in what the “typical” higher education student looks like, with more competing demands on students’ time, different financial backgrounds, and a far wider range of career aspirations. These changes, along with the high availability and ease of access to course materials and the development of high-quality online learning tools, have led to a substantial change in the expectations of students in higher education. To better serve these students, it is essential that these expectations are fully understood, in order to provide an engaging and accessible experience. This chapter will provide a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the major changes in student demographics and expectations, as well as a summary of how higher education has changed in response to these demands. Analysis of this evidence shows that the decisions made by higher education institutions often rely on assumptions that are not necessarily evidence-based, and that there is a need for further research in the area of online education in particular, to assess the full impact of the COVID-induced transition to online learning of 2020–2021.

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Advancing Engineering Education Beyond COVID: A Guide for Educators
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Higher education
Political economy and social change
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Busch, A; Schwerin, B, Changes in Student Demographics, Behaviour, and Expectations in Higher Education,Advancing Engineering Education Beyond COVID: A Guide for Educators, 2022, pp. 3-27
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