Page 10 - Campus Technology, October/November 2020
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EDUCATION TRENDS michael horowitz
COVID-19’s Lasting Effects on the Higher Education Landscape
Higher ed’s response to the novel coronavirus has exposed issues of pedagogy, equity and more — but also offers opportunities to reshape the future.
coronavirus began spreading as rapidly as the virus itself, colleges across the country had to quickly decide the most effective and, more importantly, safest course of action for their students and faculty. This fall, while some colleges pivoted to e-learning, others sought to create a hybrid model as a handful of stu- dents returned to campus. While we hope these uncertain times are not long-lasting, our response is sure to alter the landscape of higher education moving forward.
In 2009, in the shadow of the Great Reces- sion, I founded TCS Education System (TCS), a nonprofit system of colleges dedicated to advancing student success and community impact. At the time, many small- and medium- sized higher education institutions were becoming insular due to a lack of a sense of community. In turn, those colleges were strug- gling to maintain effective back-office man- agement and efficient delivery models. Our vision was a community model — the potential for stability and growth through collaboration, or what we at TCS call radical cooperation. Just a decade later, there is no sugarcoating
the crisis we now face. The novel coronavirus has pulled back the curtain on pre-existing weaknesses in education and has also exposed vulnerabilities we never saw coming.
Beyond the Zoom Classroom
It’s become obvious that no matter when stu- dents return to campus, whether this fall or in 2021, it will be a long way to a sense of normalcy. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one- size-fits-all solution for either the impact or the recovery for universities, whether they pursue a traditional residential model or hybrid/online learning model. Regardless, most plans laid out by experts envision reopening the country with periods of social distancing to smother infection flare-ups — fluctuations in restrictions that would severe- ly disrupt institutions that are banking on business as usual.
To prepare for the possibility of recurrence, higher education institutions need to invest more in online programs, as well as sharpen their ability to quickly and easily pivot face- to-face courses into web-based instruction. To reflect these changes, accreditation stan-

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