The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise and forced colleges to change their approach to education. In-person classes would put both teachers and students at risk of catching the virus, so a lot of colleges had to switch to remote teaching. It seems that we will have to stick to remote learning for the coming year as pharmaceuticals still race to create a vaccine for the virus. You can expect colleges to adapt to different ways of holding classes, add new tasks for educators, and introduce new rules as they navigate growing challenges brought on by the pandemic.
Many colleges have announced that they will continue to conduct classes virtually, especially as the number of cases continues to grow. However, once the vaccine for COVID-19 hits the market, you can expect them to adopt a hybrid model of learning. This model is a mix of in-person and virtual classes.
It will be a challenge at first for colleges to return back to only in-person classes. They will most likely have to ensure that all students on campus have been vaccinated – a reason why many institutions might not go back to the usual ways of teaching immediately. Some of the colleges and universities have already started using the hybrid model of learning in the fall of 2020, and the number of them will only grow next year, since experts predict the COVID-19 vaccine should be available mid-2021.
More one-on-one time with educators
Lecturers will likely be expected to put in extra time with virtual office hours to make up for the lack of in-person classes. Switching to remote learning has not been easy for students. There are many distractions online that can get in the way of learning during a virtual class, which means lecturers will have to put in more effort to keep students engaged and, at times, even dedicate more of their own time to one-on-one sessions with students, to gauge how much they have learned and if they need any additional help.
This of course will not be easy for lecturers to do, so it will be interesting to see the role of the college administration to hold them accountable and motivate them to invest even more time in their students.
Precautions like never before
In the scenario that a vaccine is made public and colleges go back to in-person classes only, there will probably have to be extreme precautions, some of which we have seen being applied throughout 2020. You can expect the number of students per class to stay trimmed down, so they can be socially distanced inside the classrooms. Everyone will be asked to wear a mask and limit physical contact. Colleges will also need to improve their medical centers to ensure they can respond to any major outbreaks that may arise.
Precautions will not only be limited to the classrooms. Libraries, dorms, and other spaces on campus will adopt precautions to ensure students, faculty, and other employees on campus are safe.
Like most industries, colleges continue to adapt to the changing circumstances of the pandemic. Until COVID-19 is controlled, you can expect colleges to stick to remote learning with limited, if at all, face to face interaction between faculty and students. 2021 hopes to bring some light with many hopeful that a vaccine will be introduced soon. But only time will tell.
BIO: With years of experience as a content strategist and creator, Anita Sambol has a ‘super-power’ of being a clear human voice for brands when talking to their audience. One of the projects she currently enjoys the most is being a content associate to EU Business School, where she’s also including her own experience from student and business life.