Page 10 - Campus Technology, May/June 2020
P. 10

ONLINE LEARNING michael b. horn
COVID-19’s Ultimate Impact on Online Learning: The Good and the Bad
Higher education’s current move to online learning may be leaving a sour taste in the mouths of students and faculty across the country, but there is a silver lining.
AS COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES have shuttered their physical campuses in the face of the spread of COVID-19, they have moved their courses to remote and online formats in rapid fashion. And that’s prompted many to wonder what ultimate impact this period of time may have on online learning in higher education.
Based on the present situation, where individuals come to stand on online learning will depend on where they sit currently. That is, there will be both positive and negative impacts on the state of online learning in higher education.
The Bad
On the bad side, given that college and university faculty hastily moved courses online without much support, online learning is being done poorly in many quarters of the United States. It’s consequently getting a bad reputation at many campuses.
Students are voicing their disgruntlement in a variety of ways, including asking for refunds.
Some students have even gone as far as filing class action lawsuits seeking money back.
Faculty members who have struggled in the online environment and haven’t received enough support from their college or university are unlikely to have much enthusiasm for online learning in the future. Even in cases where teaching and learning centers on campuses intervene and help build the courses, they are likely overstretched at the moment, and so many courses have been poor substitutes for the originals (even if the originals weren’t terribly inspiring).
When colleges eventually resume physical instruction, many will breathe a collective sigh of relief and resume their studies as usual. It’s unlikely they will look back fondly on their online experiences and wonder why it is that they ever dragged themselves to a classroom in the first place.
Where Online Benefits
But that’s not the whole story.
If the closure of physical campuses
Photo: 88studio/Shutterstock

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