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This book – which hinges on the idea of the translational design of learning environments – is the second in the series, with the first volume focussing on schools. Whilst the schools are transforming at a relatively glacial pace in most countries across the globe, universities are under extreme pressure to adapt to the rapid emergence of the virtual campus. Competition for students from online courses is increasing, although the certification and graduation rates from these modes is in its early stages. But there is clearly an emerging impact on what the nature of the traditional campus will look like in the 21st C.

In this context, technology enabled active blended learning environments are now integrating the face-to-face and online virtual experience synchronously and asynchronously. Local branch campuses are emerging in city and town centres, and international branch campuses are growing at a rapid rate:

International branch campuses (IBCs) continue to be a sought-after form of transnational education (TNE): at last count, there were 263 campuses open in 77 countries around the world. Around half (130) of these campuses are more than 10 years old. At least 15 new IBCs are under development. Year after year, waves of students choose to study at these campuses with the belief that the IBC will provide the same opportunities to succeed as the home campus. (Merola, 2018)

So, there is increasing pressure at the city level, the campus level, the formal and informal learning space level and the library and social or third-space level.

This book attempts to cover the city to the classroom and those elements in between. It uses an evidence-based approach which is based on doctoral dissertations to evaluate what drivers of change are emerging and how affective those changes are. It also seeks to fathom what the future might look like as judgements are made about what does work.

As this preface is being written, an academic colleague sent a little diagram about this evolution. Chapter 1 ended talking about Universities 2.0. This book could already be out of date as we move into the Universities 3.0 generation.

Nevertheless, we must document and evaluate current practice, so we can ‘place a peg in the ground’ and know on what basis we are moving forward from. As you read extracts in this book, please remember the majority of the material comes from significant scholarly pieces of work primarily, namely that of doctoral dissertations. I encourage you to seek out those original longitudinal research projects to develop a deeper understanding of the summaries which appear herein.

IMGF070001The characteristics of education 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 (from Salmon, 2018)


  • Merola, R. (2018). Tracking down student outcomes at international branch campuses. The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education.

  • Salmon, G. (2019). Higher education 1.0 to 3.0 and beyond [Blog]. Retrieved from

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