New Open Access Resource: Speculative Futures for Higher Education

Over the past six months or so, I’ve been working with my great colleagues Siân Bayne and Michael Gallagher on a new set of resources for working with higher education futures.

Speculative Futures for Higher Education includes 8 scenarios, 8 tarot cards and 8 short stories builds on the 2017–19 Near Future Teaching project, which used design-based methodologies to co-create
a vision for the future of digital education at the University of Edinburgh. Two short trend-mapping reviews were done as part of that project, and we returned to these reviews in 2022 to update them, identifying the 8 scenarios presented in this new resource.

Speculative Futures for Higher Education #3: the universal university.
Example of the higher education futures ‘tarot cards’ – “the universal university”

In addition to the 8 scenarios, the resource also includes 8 very short stories, written to evoke one form of the future proposed in each scenario.

The eight scenarios are:

  1. Extinction-era universities 
  2. AI academy
  3. The universal university
  4. Extreme unbundling
  5. Justice-driven innovation
  6. Return to the ivory tower
  7. The university of ennui
  8. Enhanced enhancement

All the materials and the scenario and story texts are available on the Centre web site, free to download and reuse with attribution.

Cover of the Higher Education Futures booklet
Bayne, Ross & Gallagher, 2022