Education expert looks ahead in white paper

Dr. Pam Quinn, who has led distance learning and online higher education efforts at the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD )for more than 30 years, believes that the knowledge industry “is changing rapidly with innovative approaches and players.”

“With online and digital education as a key component, we will be seeing a variety of pathways for learners to earn credentials,” in a new white paper issued recently by Blackboard Inc., Quinn wrote.

Blackboard Inc. is a leading education technology company for teaching, learning and student engagement, and its new white paper explores the future of higher education.

Based on in-depth interviews with Quinn and 12 other higher education thought leaders, the white paper titled “Future Forward: The Next 20 Years of Higher Education” was released on Aug. 28 in conjunction with Blackboard’s 20th anniversary.

As the company compiled this new resource, Blackboard asked higher education leaders in the U.S. to share their insights and discuss what higher education institutions of the future will look like; how other industries will influence post-secondary education; how technology will enable change to occur in the way learning is delivered and assessed; and interviewees’ opinions about a variety of other topics.

Several key themes emerged from interviews with Quinn and her colleagues, which were published in the white paper:

America’s current higher education system is unsustainable and ill-suited for a globally-connected world which is constantly changing.

Colleges and universities must change their current business model so they can continue to thrive, boost revenue and drive enrollment.

New technologies will allow faculty members to shift their focus to applied learning rather than acquiring knowledge.

Data and the ability to transform that date into action will be the new lifeblood of those institutions.

The people who work at any institution of higher education are its heart and soul. Adopting new technologies is only a small piece of the puzzle; colleges and universities also must work with faculty and staff to institutional culture.

One of Quinn’s comments in the paper reflects some of those thoughts.

“Education is becoming more personal and engaging, and artificial intelligence and virtual reality will help make that change a reality,” Quinn wrote. “Adaptive, competency-based education will let students move through content more quickly and at a level meeting their personal learning needs. This approach will improve student learning outcomes.”

Quinn was honored that Blackboard sought her perspective for its national white paper on the future of education.

“In my career at DCCCD’s LeCroy Center, I’ve shepherded many changes to reach students through various technologies,” she said. “I’ve also been extremely fortunate to work with so many of our creative and innovative faculty and staff who were eager to try new teaching approaches.”

Quinn, serves as provost for the LeCroy Center, said her work in multiple technologies has contributed to the growth of online learning at DCCCD – areas she discussed in the white paper.

“It’s been highly rewarding and exciting to lead and support teams using technologies like television, satellite and the Internet, which all have allowed our district to serve literally millions of students locally, nationally and even globally. These efforts have helped us build a reputation of innovation for the Dallas County Community College District,” Quinn said.

To read the white paper, including Quinn’s interview, visit

SOURCE Dallas County Community College District