Consider this. I’m a gen x dude and went to a big state flagship school. My great grandfather went there as well. Zillions of people have attended this school over the years. Not a big deal.
I suggest that the difference between my experience and my great grandfather’s college experience will be very small between my experience and my great grand kid’s experience.
I would say that the changes have been linear since the early parts of the 1900s (or earlier). More people in college, more women, more minorities, more colleges, more fields of study, higher costs, bigger facilities, more expenses, etc. it’s kind of the same theme gradually trending in the same direction.
I would say that in 50 years the changes are going to be fundamental. The whole thing is going to be reworked from a fundamental perspective. Freshman, sophomore, junior senior, geography, physical structures, set time tables (psych 101 in Grossman hall Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00), live in a dorm and pay $50k per year, etc. it’s not going to be the same. The stuff that needs to be on a campus will remain. You need equipment, instruments, labs and all of that for certain fields of study and research. But for a big chunk of everything else I believe it’s going to be very different. Streamlined and efficient and cost effective compared to the current model. I also believe a lot of these worthless s#it fields of study are not going to withstand the weight of the marketplace. Leaving college with a gender studies degree and a hundred plus grand in debt cannot be sustained. I also thing the change could very well come very fast when it comes. It won’t happen tomorrow, but it could be kind of like a tipping point kind of thing spurred by some technology or idea or accreditation system or business that does not exist right now. Nobody knows the future, but this is my guess.