This article reflects on societal trends toward openness and what growth in this area may mean for higher education. Coupled with workforce innovations like dynamic specialization, the authors posit that higher education institutions must innovate radically or they will struggle to meet the demands and values outside of the university.
The authors recognize a blurring line between higher education and the everyday supersystem in which it is embedded. Where higher education traditionally locates its learning practices within analog, tethered, isolated, generic, closed, consumer-centric spaces, habits, and values, institutions outside of such environments have embraced the digital, mobile, connected, personal, open, and creative aspects that have increasingly taken hold of everyday life.
The researchers cite a few specific case studies and launch thought experiments about how the movements described might influence educational access, research, tutoring, socializing, and accomplishments. By the end, they introduce multiple frameworks from which further research could develop in assessing institutional responses to the described supersystem.