I think serving society can be extended to “serving more than society” because in some fields, universities serve not only people but also animals, nature (plants, sea, ect.), and environment with a certain extend. It is a broader term.

JONL - Jukka's Open Networked Learning blog

The three main functions of universities are often described to be education, research and serving society. These functions are intertwined, but here I’m focusing especially on the third one – serving the society – in relation to collaborative learning in education.

Teaching students to be academics and professionals in their fields can of course be seen as serving society. Curricula are designed to produce learning outcomes that are valuable for the academia and the working life. Methods of collaboration have probably a growing part in this, because social and emotional skills are predicted to be even more valued in the future (e.g. Future of Skills: Employment in 2030 by Pearson).

In the same time teaching in universities is not just about answering the demand of the working life and the society. It’s also about effecting them, transforming the society. Following Etienne Wenger (2010) this can be seen as something inevitable…

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