Covid-19 threw a wrench into the plans of students and teachers worldwide. Parents scrambled to find proper care for their students while juggling their own switch to remote work. The changes caused by Covid-19 were outside of the scope of educators and parents. No one was prepared for the rapid shift out of physical classrooms and into virtual classrooms.
Classroom routines are changing as some students return to the classroom. In-class learning will look similar to remote learning, as students won’t be able to congregate in groups or work on projects without social distancing. The changes require massive amounts of planning for teachers and school administrators to keep schools safe.
Covid-19 Increases Operation Costs
To operate in-person learning, colleges need to increase the hours and supplies of janitorial staff to keep campuses safe. Transitioning instruction from in-person to online requires schools to increase their subscriptions to online services. Students already enrolled in the best online colleges aren’t seeing any changes or increased costs to their education.
New Classroom Models
Instructors are experimenting with new ways to structure their classrooms. They are changing discussion rubrics and other grading standards because of new safety protocols or video conferencing software limitations. Lectures are recorded or streamed to practice social distancing and keep students and faculty safe. A hybrid model allows half of the students to attend classes in person while to other half attend remotely. Some hybrid models even switch who is remote and who can participate in person.
These changes are altering the reliability of classroom instruction. Learning happens best in a comfortable and supportive environment, but consistency is also important. The constant changes to school policy and learning setting create a volatile learning environment which diminishes success.
Changing Testing Procedures
No matter what college degree level you are applying for, standardized testing plays a role. College admissions will look very different over the next few years as not all students will have had the opportunity to take college admissions tests like the SAT and ACT. Colleges won’t be able to fault applicants for not taking the test during a pandemic, so they will have to find other criteria. For students in college, testing will look different too. College admission officers were starting to look at criteria other than standardized test scores before the pandemic.
For students already on campus, many schools offer special browsers that block external sites or monitor the room, but they aren’t perfect at catching all forms of cheating. Creative teachers will find unique ways to give exams and determine whether their students know the material.
Remote Learning Isn’t Easy to Adapt to
Today’s students are more technically sound than any other generation. Their familiarity with technology allowed them to adapt to their new setting quickly. Dedicated students find a way to get the most out of their lessons regardless of what setbacks they face. Remote learning requires all parties to be up-to-speed on the software programs they use. Even the most tech-savvy people will run into hardships when their devices aren’t functioning normally. Classes can easily waste half an hour on impromptu tech support.
Covid-19 has reduced the capacity to fill science labs or limited the technology campuses can safely offer. These restrictions reduce the number of students in courses who need access to learning environments other than a standard classroom. These restrictions diminish the breadth of learning accessible to students.
Technology is helping to create virtual labs. It is allowing students to recreate real-life scenarios in compter simulations to complete lab experiments. These virtual recreations can save universities large sums of money because they require less equipment in science labs. You can even earn a biology degree online. While nothing can replace the real-life skills of building and executing a biology experiment, virtual recreations allow students to build their science and experiment skills.
Faith In Online Learning
Despite perceived limitations, online learning is receiving a boost from Covid-19. Earning a degree from the comfort of your home is a great way to earn a promotion or start a new career. Misgivings about online school and work are fading as people who have been forced to work remotely realize the work is just as hard. People are putting more stock in online learning after experiencing remote work and learning for themselves. The impacts of Covid-19 on education will be felt for many years. Many memories will feel like missed opportunities, but optimistic viewers will see the positive changes the pandemic brought to the education industry.
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