Page 11 - Campus Technology, October/November 2020
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dards should move away from the physical classroom as a baseline for the standard. Dis- cussions are already taking place around the definition of a credit hour. Expect virtual degree and certification programs to become a standard offering for many more colleges — even those that have maintained a traditional format in recent years.
College students expect an experience, not just a Zoom class. The schools that will suc- ceed in the face of this crisis are the ones that not only utilize online learning, but embrace and invest in it. With reduction in ancillary experiences for undergraduate students, uni- versities must take this time to focus on a cohesive educational experience, which means going beyond Zoom classes.
Recent reports show that some students are more sensitive to tuition price when it comes to online education. Some universities are facing requests for spring-semester tuition refunds because campus-based students feel like their tuition covers more than classroom instruction, like extracurricular activities and social experiences. This fall semester and beyond, the bar will be raised for more sophis- ticated online education requiring invest-
ments in instructional design, student and fac- ulty training, technology and learning platforms.
Minding the Education Equity Gap
COVID-19 has also lifted the veil on existing educational inequities, making them impossi- ble to ignore.
Students working night shifts to cover tuition payments suddenly find themselves furloughed, laid off or forced to put paychecks toward healthcare and other living expenses. Students who act as primary caregivers for loved ones must now balance those responsi- bilities with coursework in cramped living spaces. Students are struggling to acquire the technology and reliable internet needed to handle advanced livestream instruction.
The result has been an outpouring of empa- thy — one that must persist past the height of this epidemic. Educators are making myriad adjustments to ease the burden on students in this chaotic time. For instance, many instructors are employing asynchronous mod- els, making lectures available on-demand and holding discussions in text-based forums instead of live video. Building that sort of flex-
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