Campuses and Universities are places where students live and study close to each other. Recently, the foundations of this system have been impacted by the rapid spread of the Covid-19 outbreak, creating uncertainty around the future of higher education.
Education officials have had to cancel classes and close campuses across the world. In the US, these institutions have switched to online learning and canceled spring breaks, and students who are studying abroad in Italy, China, and South Korea have been encouraged to go back home. While all this may be temporary, it’s hard to tell if the new coronavirus will cause long-term disruption to the higher education system.
The majority of colleges around the world integrate some form of online learning into their studies. However, moving all courses online may prove challenging, since smaller universities may not have strong online systems. Course creators and teachers should work closely with their IT departments to make sure that their programs can be supported online.
School administrators should also undertake simple measures to prevent the spread of the virus on their campuses, such as teaching students the appropriate protocols for hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with their elbows, and self-isolating if they are experiencing any symptoms. Educators must also be aware of students who have recently traveled and remind them to be careful about returning to campus.
School admissions and testing are being delayed across the country. Some states have decided to cancel standardized testing, while some are thinking of extending the school year.
Classes are also being delayed as teachers adapt to the new internet platforms. This means learning how to use digital tools, figuring out how to convert conventional learning materials or class discussions to the new platforms, and even changing the whole learning program based on the inability to adapt it to an online format. As teachers learn how to convert their lessons to digital platforms, both staff and students are learning how to deal with remote communication.
Though technology has already played a big role in most schools, the new dependence on the internet was forced to happen overnight, leaving many teachers struggling with technological difficulties, as well as the challenges of studying at home for students.
Challenges for Low-Income Families
Although many schools are continuing online teaching, many students do not have access to quality computers and the internet in their homes. Without the proper technology, many of them will have to miss out on education until new solutions can be found.
Despite the challenges, the change in education also means that more opportunities are starting to arise, as an emphasis on online education makes more programs affordable and relevant.
It may be too early to predict how students and school staff will cope with online learning as they figure out the challenges, but the impact of the virus on education has to be seriously considered.
It’s been proven that remote learning comes with many issues, but the switch to digital platforms also gives new opportunities to students and staff to try out different methods of teaching and learning.