With the current COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the United States and the world there has been some astonishing changes in the ways that higher education is taught at the university and college levels. Many, if not all universities have switched many of their in-person classes to an online format. This shift is not comparable to anything higher education has seen before and comes with problems that could not have been foreseen in the few weeks that higher education had to prepare for this unprecedented shift. After doing some research and reading up on the amount of students, teachers, GTAs, and faculty affected by the new reality of online teaching and learning I came across a infographic that I find shows the impact of the pandemic on a global level:
This infographic shows the growth in online learning in just a month of time. Although after the initial influx of colleges and universities changing over to an online format the curve will remain a constant, this graphic and graphics similar show the need for technology in today’s world. As I have spoken about in other blog posts, students come from all over the world to attend a higher education institution in the United States and unforeseen happenings may occur where online (technological) learning and teaching is the only answer.
As with many technological innovations there will be downside to the switch. For example, students may become less disciplined or motivated without a change to engage one-on-one with fellow students or professors. I think that professors have to find a way to not only teach and instruct with this new online format, but also to motivate and encourage learning at the higher education level. It is a new beginning and a hard ask for some, if not most professors that have been in place and may be set in their ways. But according to the graphic above this shift is happening and will be here for the rest of this school year, at least. Perhaps this shift to an online learning medium will change the way higher education proceeds into the future. Allowing for less class time and more online engagement, less lectures and more smaller group interaction, and a different experience over all in higher education.