There is a rise in online college courses due to closed college campuses. Universities across the United States are reacting to the WHO classification of COVID-19 as a pandemic.
Colleges are trying to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Some have taken even more drastic measures. Therefore, many colleges have canceled campus courses.
Subsequently, the number of online college courses has risen significantly. No one knows how long these campus courses will remain closed.
Taking the Lead In Canceled College Campuses Was the University of Washington
The University of Washington canceled all classes scheduled to be held in-person as of March 6, 2020. Shortly thereafter, many other universities followed suit. They are of all sizes and in all regions of the country followed suit.
This is a partial list of those universities.
- Duke University, North Carolina
- East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee
- Lee University, Cleveland, Tennessee
- University of Arizona
- University of California, Berkeley,
- U.C., San Diego,
Here is a link for a more complete list of Colleges and Universities that have canceled campus classes. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19wJZekxpewDQmApULkvZRBpBwcnd5gZlZF2SEU2WQD8/htmlview?sle=true&pru=AAABcOo1-zM
First Steps for Colleges and Universities
What started for many schools as an extension of Spring Break quickly developed into a more drastic solution. Spring Break at some colleges started a week or more early.
Many colleges extended their Spring Break for an unspecified period. TBD, To Be Determined, is a term frequently seen on college schedules these days.
The Next Prevention Measures
Many colleges and universities first canceled any school associated travel, especially overseas. This means no study abroad or international conferences for an indefinite period.
Next was the decision to halt locally held, school-sponsored events. This includes dances, concerts, and sporting events.
Once WHO Announced a Pandemic
It was not much of a problem to start or extend a spring break for a couple of weeks. Therefore, many schools did so. In the meantime, COVID-19 was classified as a Pandemic.
Then, they predicted it would take longer to get it under control. So, colleges and universities realized they needed to take further, more drastic steps. Their primary goal was to protect the students and professors.
Shifting From Classroom-Based Study to Virtual Classrooms For Safety
This option is not available to every college or university in the country. However, many are able to offer it to their lucky students. It is an ideal way to help prevent COVID-19 from entering their student population.
However, cancellations are not just affecting current students only. They are affecting many potential and recently accepted students as well.
This is the time of year when campus tours, open houses, and other student events are often held. These are all being canceled to avoid further spread of infection.
All Is Not Rosy When No One Is Prepared For Online Learning
Students already enrolled in an online course are unlikely to notice any change in their academic lives. However, others are not so lucky.
If the school is set up for online classes and only extending the number of classes offered, there will be less disruption.
However, if the college or university has no experience with online classes, this will be a challenge. Not all of them will be able to do more than cancel classes for the rest of this term.
Hopefully, they will have something in place before the next term begins. The Pandemic will not be completely resolved by that time. Long-term plans for higher education will have to be offered.
Colleges and Universities face many challenges in making a quick shift to online classes
Making a fast change to online learning platforms is often disrupting, to say the least. Both professors and students need time to adjust to the new methods of teaching and learning.
Not all professors are prepared to manage microphones and cameras while lecturing. This can provoke anxiety in many people. And, anxiety makes minor technical challenges or WI-FI glitches seem like major problems.
IT departments must gear up to provide the technology needed. They must also be prepared to offer tech assistance and equipment maintenance. Budgets may need adjusting to hire more IT staff and equipment as well.
There will be competing needs and demands on the IT Department. They must focus their earliest efforts on the needs of professors. Preparing “How-To” seminars on how to use online teaching platforms will be required.
IT staff may be forced to delay student services. Hopefully, the students will be more tech-savvy and require less assistance. Most college students have more experience with being online.
Not All Is Negative. There Are Many Benefits to A Virtual Classroom Due to Canceled College Campuses
Chaos surrounded the acute and unplanned-for shift to online classes at most schools. It has taken time to work out the bugs. However, there are also many positive aspects of virtual classrooms.
- Most important is minimizing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. No exposure to public cafeterias, bathrooms, or to the many large auditorium-style classrooms means less risk. Eating at home is usually cost-effective as well.
- Avoiding the hassle and expense of travel to and from campus. This is true whether using public or private transport.
- Less travel time means more time for oneself. You can sleep in or spend more time studying.
- If you aren’t feeling well you can still participate in an online class. There is no exposing yourself to the germs of others or them to yours.
- You can save on your wardrobe as well. No one knows or cares if you are in your pajamas or sweat-suit.
- FYI, a number of studies have demonstrated that medical students do equally as well with recorded as with live lectures. This is reassuring to know during this time of canceled campus courses.
If you will be taking online courses you need to read this article. https://onlinecollegelife.info/know-what-to-expect-before-taking-online-classes/?fbclid=IwAR1qqSDKPQmqLeoIAH0YE_4grgGwPVYvxQIAi_54W17LFZAuRsKmVFezfFM
A Few Caveats Regarding the Rise In Online College Courses and Canceled College Campuses
Online Learning is a wonderful venue for most classes under most circumstances. However, it is not perfect for everyone in every situation. The reality is that some subjects are more challenging to teach some online than are others.
Basic business or introductory science classes are easier to transfer to online learning than are creative courses. Teaching subjects like music, dance, and acting online is challenging.
However, it can be done. Can you imagine trying to create a film or stage production solely online?
If you wish to know how one Repertory Theatre is dealing with this challenge, check out Barter Theater. Barter is the longest-running theater company in the nation.
Undergraduate versus Post-Graduate Learning
Online learning has been around for some time now. Another term for taking online college courses is “Virtual Learning.” It has been extensively studied for several decades.
MBA programs are rapidly growing and that is not surprising. These programs have a reputation for its use of virtual conferences and frequent need for remote collaboration.
If you want to know more about the degrees offered online, read this. https://onlinecollegelife.info/online-degrees-available/
Universities have been capitalizing on the need for online degrees to meet the need of full-time working students. Both students and schools benefit when students avoid long commutes and other known financial barriers to graduate programs,
Many schools from coast to coast offer online bachelors’ degrees. Several articles on this site deal with the pros and cons of online learning. There are also articles on how to locate a school that best fits your academic and personal needs.
In closing, the fear of COVID-19 will eventually wane
The fear caused by this pandemic pushed the transfer of many classroom dominated courses to the online venue. Eventually, this will become less of an issue. However, right now they are predicting at least another 2 years.
However, there will always be another virus waiting in the wings. So the need for online courses will not go away. We must prepare to manage our schools better next time.
Some students are already eager to get back to the campus, They want to socialize as well as to study with their friends. They want to “get back to normal”.
However, others have fallen in love with the freedom and autonomy that online classes gave them. It will be interesting to see how the forced online classes will impact the students’ learning venue choices in the future.
You might enjoy reading the articles linked here. https://onlinecollegelife.info/why-earn-a-degree-online/
Photos courtesy of Pixabay