Education

What will the university look like in September this year?

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Let us stop doing this.

Ask any college student, professor or manager: No one wants to relive the past school year.

But going a little deeper, the content they don’t want to repeat differs in subtle but important ways. This means that the challenge for higher education managers will be to formulate a fall campus plan that is student-centered while taking into account the concerns of the entire community of the institution.

A topic of intense debate in the higher education community is: Should teachers be invited or even required to conduct face-to-face and online courses in the fall?

How teachers and students answer this question largely depends on their experience in the past year.

For example, at Laredo College in Texas, Provost Marisela Rodriguez Tijerina described how traditional “academic” courses were fully online, even though some of the college’s professional courses continued in person throughout the COVID pandemic. get on. These courses include healthcare science and law enforcement courses-all courses require students to demonstrate proficiency in order to earn a certificate.

This brings two different experiences for faculty, staff and students: those who continue to teach the course must work with Laredo’s administration to create a Agreement established by the Centers for Disease ControlThey set up temperature checks, contact questionnaires, and staffed health and safety operations centers to manage any virus incidents and other measures.

“Teachers become creative,” Rodriguez Tijerina said, transforming what was once a paper process into a digital process.

In the past year, Laredo has indeed seen some COVID cases. But the agreement shut the virus out. “No classmate was infected with COVID,” Rodriguez Tijerina said. Therefore, the tutors who have been doing some teaching personally are very satisfied with the idea of ​​returning to campus in full.

In contrast, Laredo educators who stay at home and teach only online are more cautious about returning home. To give them a better understanding of how to work under these new conditions, Laredo’s health science lecturers are opening up their classrooms and inviting their academic colleagues to observe and actually practice how to manage a three-foot or six-foot social distance classroom.

Rodriguez Tijerina added that it is still difficult to say where the students want to go in the fall.

Managers in every institution are asking similar questions, weighing what they have learned from online teaching, and their sincere desire to reconnect with students and faculty.

In the past year, Arizona State University has broken the boundaries of its support for distance learning: every classroom is equipped with technology that allows teachers to broadcast lessons. Faculty and staff have been sharing stories about which teaching practices are most effective online.Provost Office created Extensive collection of resources Come to help the instructor. Students, whether in class or online, seem to welcome one study: divide the lecture into 15-minute parts, followed by 15-minute classroom conversations.

Direct attention to mental health—the mental health of students and teachers—may be another long-term positive factor that has emerged in the past year. Similarly, the pandemic has forced administrators and educators to realize that students are more difficult to become students than others—because they lack the tools needed to teach (from Internet access to transportation), or because they bring students for the rest of their lives. Additional pressure and requirements. they.

The administrator hopes that some students will choose to continue distance learning even if the course is open. This increases the burden on educators to connect with students and teach well—no matter where they are.

Administrators themselves may also find themselves working in a mixed and face-to-face environment. Kim Wilcox, president of the University of California, Riverside, said: “I think we will have a different view of the fusion between face-to-face and distance.” Podcast interview with Bridget Burns, Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance“We have the opportunity to think about this face-to-face and remote things more comprehensively, not only in the classroom environment, but also in other parts of the university itself, as well as our interactions with others in the community.”

The core of Arizona State University’s free online conference next month is to discuss the lessons learned – both positive and negative – Remote summit(Full disclosure: I am a member of the advisory committee that helped create the event.)

The simple answer? Do not. But through rich dialogue, educators, administrators, and students are making plans for the next semester.

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