Paul Ramsden (2008 ), in his paper The Future of Higher Education Teaching and Student Experience, looks at higher education in the UK over the next 10-15 years to inform policy. He contends that they need to enable students to contribute to the world through education. Yet, student populations are becoming diverse with the large influx in enrolment. Students are part-time, have varied backgrounds and skills, less prepared academically, work at paid jobs, study off-campus and learn in flexible ways with technology. They are considered non-traditional. They also have certain needs such as quality support and better infrastructures. They are becoming demanding customers. Universities are paying more attention to student experience and the quality of teaching.
UK universities see these students are non-traditional are answering to their needs by improving services, available resources and upgrading instructor’s skills through training. However, with the increase in enrolment it is uncertain if current resources and budget can meet the demands. As well, part-time students have difficulties establishing funding. Ramsden insists to “embed the student perspective in all aspects of teaching, quality enhancement and quality assurance” (p. 16), and to include students as representatives in the academic community to enhance quality, teaching and maintain standards.
It is also uncertain how to meet the needs of such a diverse student population. Some solutions are student support to adapt to higher education, better information before entering HE, career advising, develop lifelong learning opportunities, teacher support and reward, student feedback, learning communities, and modular versus program structures. As well more teacher support to manage diverse needs of students, and flexible employment contracts that allows academics to focus on teaching and research independently. More so, professionalize teaching as a role.