Coronavirus is causing major disruption and panic across the world. Most businesses are closed unless they are classed as essential and more people than ever before are working from home. Social distancing has become the new norm and it can be difficult to imagine when the effects of COVID-19 will end.
One element of normal life that has definitely changed is higher education. Colleges and universities have been forced to close their doors and learn to adapt to the virus in order to carry on with studies. Online education is one way that institutions are still helping students during this time.
The Switch to Online Education
Classes and lectures have been cancelled in most universities across the world during COVID-19. There would simply be too many people gathering in one place for them to be safe. Instead of teaching the curriculum in person, universities that have the funds are switching to online education in order to still continue with education.
Online classes, quizzes and materials are often already part of the curriculum for most modern universities. It has been a way to distribute material to students if they are distance learning, as well as supplement in-person learning. But smaller institutions will have to start thinking about introducing such services during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, they will need to teach their students to use them. This is particularly true if older generations are enrolled that are not used to using this technology.
For those just starting out on the online education journey, apps like Zoom and Google Hangout are serving as temporary classrooms. They are also helping generally in the business world and to keep up with friends and family. They can be effective at gathering a lecturer and students in the same place to in order to carry out classes together.
This is a good start for adapting to the situation when lecturers and students are not used to online classes. But more fixtures will need to be in place in order to sustain classes and exams through the pandemic and beyond. This includes universities starting to use their own learning management system in order to keep up with tracking, reporting and online progress of students.
Financial Worries for Some Institutions
Some institutions will be increasingly worried by COVID-19 when it comes to finances. Almost every country is suffering financially and a global recession is looking more likely every day. This means that universities are thinking about limiting their spending over the next couple of months and may have to cut their staff numbers. You can read more on the impacts of coronavirus savings here.
In particular, those institutions that rely on international students will be impacted the most. Their enrolment is depended on during the year for funds and without their businesses, institutions will suffer. While it is thought these institutions should be in a better standing to begin with, they will definitely suffer later down the line.
However, there are some experts that believe that higher education institutions can take advantage of the recession. With opportunity costs going down, this may rise to more people enrolling in education. If institutions are able to adapt to the coronavirus by providing online classes, they may be able to capitalize on the situation.
Indeed, more people are going to be at home with spare time. They might look to broaden their horizons and learn new skills to improve their desirability once the coronavirus pandemic ends. In particular, this will be the case if somebody has lost their job during COVID-19 and has to explore other avenues to make a living.
Again, institutions that have not adapted and started to offer classes online will suffer. In order for more students to enrol, degrees have to be more readily available. Administrators should concentrate on moving most education online in order to not suffer from financial restraints. Students will be encouraged with professional platforms and when effort has been made.
The Future is Unsure
One of the problems for every business during this time is the uncertainty. The next few months are unprecedented. Nobody knows when normal life will resume. This means that institutions have to adapt for the long term. Perhaps they will not struggle financially this year.
However, scientists are conflicted on whether coronavirus will disappear with the seasons. In addition, there is speculation whether there will be waves of the virus over the next two years. This is until sufficient numbers of the population have gained immunity.
Switching to online education now may seem a lot of hard work for some institutions. However, the fruits of their hard work will be realised in a few months and even in the next few years. This is an approach that can help to sustain their current students, as well as encourage a larger intake in the upcoming academic years.