Colleges and schools around the world shut down overnight due to the Covid pandemic of 2020. No one was fully aware of the impending impact this would bring to students all around the nation and if educators would be up for the task.
Classrooms went from lined desks with chairs to sitting on your couch. Students who dorm were now forced to find alternate living arrangements, as campuses were forced to halt on-campus housing. Teachers had to familiarize themselves with Zoom or Microsoft Teams on a weekend notice.
However, there is light at the end of this tunnel. With Covid vaccinations on the rise, higher education as we know still remains significantly changed due to the pandemic, but rest assured institutions are doing their best to bring a sense of normalcy back to learning. Here are some ways COVID-19 has changed higher education within the past two years:
- Vaccination Requirements
- Continued Online Classroom Learning
- On and Off-Campus Housing
- Assessment and Engagement
While it is a common practice that Universities require all students to be vaccinated for diseases such as measles, rubella, and mumps, government agencies are suggesting that the same applies to the Covid vaccinations.
Colleges such as Harvard, Stanford, and New York University have already mandated COVID-19 vaccinations to all their current student body and faculty. For schools that have not required the shot, lawmakers and county officials are encouraging university heads to create incentives for students to get the vaccination.
Students who remain unvaccinated will be required to continue to wear masks at all times and are not eligible to try out for any sports, clubs, or learning abroad programs.
Continued Online Learning Classrooms
While most colleges have re-opened their lecture halls to students, there are still many classes being taught online or a hybrid of both campus/online learning. Students in programs that require practical’s, hands-on residency training, and internships depend on being in person for these experiences while lecture remains online.
The introduction of online classrooms has proven to be a valuable tool for those students who cannot get to campus due to transportation, family, job-related, or health issues. These students have been shown to excel and thrive during this time, as online has provided a consistent opportunity to continue their education despite bumps in the road.
On the flip-side, many students have stated that not having in-person face-to-face contact with instructors has negatively affected their ability to focus, retain information, and create stable relationships with peers and educators.
It has also affected how they learn and gather information. Students have turned to sites with the thought “where can i pay for essays” trying to find free online essay writing services to complete online assignments out of an inability to understand how to do the work thoroughly.
On and Off-Campus Housing
While it has yet to be determined how colleges will accommodate on-campus dorms for the upcoming Fall 2021 semester, students are certainly more aware than ever before of how living on campus isn’t what it used to be.
Cramming students into shoebox-sized double bedrooms is a thing of the past, and colleges are scrambling to make sufficient change to occupancy while doing their best to make sure everyone is safe.
Most students will opt for off-campus housing such as single apartments or rooming with close friends and classmates. Others will remain living at home with their parents, family, and friends or have already established permanent living arrangements since being forced out of housing due to Covid.
Assessment And Engagement
Pre-covid students were typically assessed by whether or not they showed up for class and participated in some way in classroom learning. Nowadays, attendance and engagement are no longer synonymous with gauging assessment of student learning.
While being present is no longer a requirement, educators now have to create alternate ways to assess whether or not a student is engaging and retaining the information provided. Writing papers, and creating presentations are no longer cohesive tools to fully measuring learning. Students have instead utilized Writing Universe to write essays, find answers, pay for papers, etc.
It is easy to stand up in front of a camera and lecture away, hoping everyone’s diligently writing notes and firing off rockets of thoughts. It’s a more significant challenge to incorporate ways to inspire students to speak up, ask questions, form ideas out loud, and participate in the discussion while sitting behind a computer screen.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so many facets of higher education and learning as a whole. While lawmakers, educators, and parents continue to work together to bring back normalcy or a re-defined sense of it, students are still struggling to cope with changes they were never prepared to experience.
Merissa Moore is a highly reviewed foreign language translator and interpreter. She spends her free time working in the public school system with ESL students and is currently working on her degree in behavioral health. Merissa loves to hike and spend her free time with her family.