The rapid shift to remote learning last spring forced institutions of higher education to adapt on the fly. Professors, students, administrators and staff had to reimagine nearly every aspect of the college experience. Now, with a year of hindsight and some idea of what’s to come, we can take stock of the changes we’ve witnessed and make some educated guesses about the future of higher ed in a time of remote learning.
Learning Management Systems
As COVID closed classrooms, instructors and students alike had to quickly familiarize themselves with the learning management systems (LMS) with which they would deliver and receive instruction. Teachers had to reorganize pedagogical approaches and reshape lesson plans, while students had to navigate unfamiliar interfaces and learn in a whole new way. In the early days, everyone involved had to simply make it work. It’s clear now that remote learning will be with us for a while. Institutions of higher learning should expect their employees and students to do more than simply get by. As such, LMS training becomes a high priority, so that users can get the most out of these sophisticated systems. Remote learning has the potential to be more than a temporary substitute for in-person learning, but it will never truly revolutionize learning if teachers and students aren’t properly trained to use the tools available to them.
Enhanced Video Conferencing Systems
A robust LMS keeps students and teachers on the same page when it comes to logistics like assignments, class materials, discussion posts, and homework submission. Think of a LMS as a bureaucratic necessity, a map to the semester. A class can only really come to life, however, with a proper videoconferencing and collaboration solution. Discussion threads in a LMS are all well and good, but the generative give and take that happens in a classroom cannot be replicated in this format. Which is why colleges and universities can better engage teachers and students with a conferencing and collaboration platform that goes beyond simple lecture delivery. To create a more effective educational space, institutions of higher learning will deploy solutions that allow students to break out into small groups, brainstorm on shared documents, and get to know each other better. This means that schools will need to go beyond “good enough” video solutions and invest in accessible and intuitive solutions that remove barriers to meaningful connection.
One of the challenges of remote teaching is generating accurate performance assessments via testing. It’s easy to root out academic dishonesty during an in-class exam. It’s not so straightforward in a virtual setting. Therefore, the future of remote learning in higher education will likely see a shake-up in test design, as professors create assessments that address the unique conditions of remote learning.
Remote learning might be the name of the game right now, but campus life continues. As such, universities and colleges need to make every possible effort to encourage social distancing. This requires more than a remote learning plan. Institutions will benefit from providing Wi-Fi everywhere on campus, including outdoor spaces and parking lots. With comprehensive Wi-Fi coverage, students and staff alike need not remain indoors while they work and study, thereby creating the space necessary to maintain social distancing. This is not to mention the benefits to physical, mental, and emotional health that might follow from an outdoor study session.
Learn more about collaboration and video conferencing solutions for educators here. Contact us if you have any questions and one of our experts will reach out to provide more information. If you’re looking for some other technology, please use our Advanced Search tool to find it. As always, keep an eye on our blog for weekly updates and video conferencing tips, as well as timely advice for organizations looking to maximize their collaboration investments.