Generational Diversity and Student Support

With increased online enrollment, traditional generational barriers are being greatly reduced. A person whose job or family may have stopped them from pursuing a college degree can now more easily become a college student again or for the first time. Universities are certainly happy about this because increased enrollment is usually a good thing. But are there things that higher ed may not be considering?

Senior Student

Middle-Aged Online Student

An Ed Tech Magazine story about generational differences and how they may affect tech initiatives provides some interesting insight. The article talks about the challenges of choosing ed tech initiatives that work for multiple generations.



It would be easy to make oversimplifications about how different generations of students use ed tech services… and this article does that. They talk about baby boomers being comfortable handing their computers over to IT for repair and millennials being more likely to try to fix the issues themselves. Although there may be some truth to these they should be viewed as anecdotal when searching for multi-generational ed tech solutions.
The most important thing that higher ed can do to help serve this generational diversity is ramp up and centralize student support. There is no practical way to separate student support by age but support can be given that reflects a more diverse population. Universities should think about ways to support their student population and build an inclusive presence for student support. Give the students a place to go whether it be a physical or virtual space, or perhaps both and support them in multiple ways so regardless of their generation students have a great support system.

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