Synthesis Essay

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Changing College for Millennials:
A Brief Look at the 21st Century Higher Education System
University of Maryland University College

Changing College for Millennials:
A Brief Look at the 21st Century Higher Education System Campus life has surely changed in the United States. Gone are images of large groups of sweater-vested coeds pouring through books in an open quad, or individuals in a library, hunched over a microfiche machine looking for a key article to support their research. Laptops and iPads have replaced notebooks, three-ringed binders, and miniature tape recorders as the preferred instrument for taking notes in the classroom. Even the very way lectures are delivered has changed; distance education and web-based courses have taken the place of traditional brick and mortar classrooms. The student body has changed too; millennials now represent the largest generational group on campuses, and this number will continue to rise for the next few years. This presents new challenges to educators as this generation is fundamentally different in many ways from its predecessor: they have lived highly structured lives; are comfortable working in social groups; have high expectations; and are savvy in the realm of technology (Stapleton, Wen, Starrett, & Kilburn, 2007, p. 101). The dilemma faced by university faculty and administrators around the country is who should change, the students or the entire adult education system? Many may resist change on the institutional level; this is understandable in some ways: academia has been their life’s work, so why should they change just because of a new breed of student or a fancy new gadget? Still, many agree change is needed, but they argue what is driving this change: the new generation of students; or all the technological improvements coming out of Silicon Valley? Whether driven by generational mindset…...

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