Technology has significantly changed the higher education landscape, especially for grad students.
But what about it has changed? Let us break it down for you.
Technology has made graduate school accessible to a much wider audience. With online learning, you can enroll in graduate programs from almost anywhere in the world—as long as you have access to a computer and the Internet.
For many students, technology has afforded them the chance to stay put in their home and pursue a graduate degree (most often at the master’s degree level) remotely rather than moving across the country or globe. Online and hybrid courses also make it easier for working adults, both near and far, to pursue a graduate degree.
Online grad school has also changed the way we learn. You don’t have to be sitting right next to your classmates to receive an education. Instead, technology makes it possible to collaborate with your grad school colleagues and professors through video conferencing, email, and online forums.
Collaboration, both inside and outside of the classroom, is easier than ever today—and collaboration is critical for grad school students who engage with other students and professors at universities and institutions across the country and around the world.
Before email and the ability to share enormous files electronically, it wasn’t easy to collaborate with a professor in Peoria, a chemist in Canada, or a linguist in Luxembourg. In the past, these kinds of partnerships required a lot more traveling (and a lot more money!) to really work. While scholars still travel for research and conferences, advances in technology are providing more alternatives and enhancing our scholarly collaborations.
Volume of Information Available
Perhaps the most noticeable difference that technology gives grad students today is the wealth of knowledge and information available at their fingertips—and the sheer volume of information that one can access online. Of course, access to more information, more sources, and more scholarship means needing more time to make sense of it all. When you get overwhelmed, it’s time to lean on your professors and ask for help. They can help you tune out the noise and guide you to the information you need.
In some cases, you may need your advisor to lead you to other sources, like census data, because you need someone to sponsor your access. They can also help ensure that you’re focused on the highest quality data. Ultimately, becoming a successful graduate student today means learning how to navigate a world of information and hone in on what you really need.
With the newest technology and latest information at your fingertips through your university, the pace of research and publishing can be a lot faster—though you still need time to process and understand it all. You will still need to balance your reliance on technology with the other, more traditional graduate school experiences and expectations.
Gone are the days of digging through the stacks in the library to find that one source—now, it’s easily retrievable with some select keywords in a search box for an online database (unless it’s not yet in a database). Gone are the days of completing your dissertation on a typewriter. Instead, grad students are using dozens of tricks in Microsoft Word to help format their bibliographies, theses, and dissertations.
Technology and the graduate school experience are forever intertwined. But with that new wealth of information available at the fingertips of every student comes endless possibilities, new ways to work and, more importantly, an incredibly effective way to conduct great research. If you’ve been considering graduate school, there’s no better time than now to start. Contact us today to learn more.