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Horizon Report 2017 – Watching for what is coming next

Early each spring, the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) release their Horizon Report for Higher Education.  Listed in this report are key trends, significant challenges, and important developments related to the educational technologies used in higher education.

The report is compiled during the year on a public wiki by a 80-person panel of experts from around the world. If you are interested in watching the report develop, or want to learn more about the methodology used to build the report, you can find it all here: http://horizon.wiki.nmc.org/.

The 2017 Horizon Report is available as a downloadable PDF from the New Media Consortium web site, and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This license allows anyone to replicate, copy, distribute, transmit or adapt the report as long as proper citation is given. This means the report gets into the hands of a lot of leaders and staff across the field of instructional technology, and thus shapes a lot of the discussions on campuses about the future.

The release of the report is a good touchpoint during the year to look at what is going on and where we are headed. The predictions are not always on target, but even the wild ideas can lead to good conversations.

The Horizon Report itself addresses its history of “accuracy” in this edition with a section listing all of the items they have featured in the past six years. Some topics have been in nearly every report (blended learning, measuring learning, and new models of competition for higher education) while others seem to come and go quickly, either because they haven’t quite arrived yet (MOOCs, virtual assistants) or they arrived quickly and are now part of the here and now, not the horizon (3D printing, tablet computers).

Every year, I am glad to see that UMass Amherst is addressing nearly all of the key ideas in the report. The campus is even ahead of some peer institutions in some areas: such as the rapid growth in the number of (and demand for) innovative learning spaces on campus that can be used by instructors who want to incorporate active, team-based, and collaborative learning into their classes. Where some campuses have one showcase space, we have many spaces of many sizes with many different levels of built-in technologies.

Many of the Instructional Innovation events and initiatives over the next year touch on themes in the Horizon Report. If you find something in the report that interests you, or that you are already doing, we want to hear from you.

Cover of the 2017 Horizon Report - featuring active learning classroom