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Students and senior executives disagree on priorities after COVID

Students and senior executives disagree on priorities after COVID

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Short dive:

  • College students and faculty do not agree with each other on how higher ed should proceed if COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency. new survey data covers 10 countries around the world from Anthology, an educational technology company from Florida.
  • In North America, approximately one in four college leaders said their institutions do not plan to offer distance or virtual learning options until 2025. But 63% of students said they prefer entirely online classes or classes that combine personal and distance learning – and 23% said they prefer a combination of personal and online courses.
  • Respondents agreed on the impact on the economy. Worldwide, approximately three in four students and campus executives said that outside of the pandemic, economics has the greatest impact on students. The economy is easily outpaced by other factors, such as lack of access to technology, cited by about a third of students and executives.

Diving Insight:

COVID-19 forced college leaders to adapt quickly when they first disrupted full-time education. Virtual learning quickly became a necessity and distance learning programs has become much more commonin 2020, 44.7% of students studied entirely online, compared to 17% in 2019.

Traditional personal colleges are now facing decisions to return to the pandemic status quo or to incorporate more digital techniques in the future.

“A completely online model doesn’t make sense for a regular university,” said Mirko Wiedenhorn, senior director of engagement strategy at Anthology. “But there is an opportunity to take a step back and ask, ‘Are there any courses we can offer online that will be of the same or better quality?’

In March and April, Wiedenhorn led a group that surveyed 2,572 university leaders and 2,725 students from 10 countries. The report provides a global overview of the findings, as well as responses from the regions of North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America.

Globally, the number of colleges offering only purely personal courses is expected to decline from 30% to 18% by 2025, according to surveyed university leaders. This means that 24% of leaders in North America who stated that learning will be completely personal in 2025 do not match their counterparts in the other world as well as their students.

The reluctance of North American colleges to move to transitions occurs despite the fact that most students have access to a strong technological infrastructure. Only 26% of American college students said that lack of access to technology affects their education. This is similar to the proportion of those who said the same in Europe, but well below the proportion recorded in the Middle East and Africa, where more than half of students said lack of access to technology affected them in their home countries.

Leaders need to consider student feedback to help students and colleges succeed, Widenhorn believes.

“What will benefit the student in their experience will help the university in return,” Widenhorn said. “Students are more likely to delay and graduate on time. They are more likely to gain a better experience, so they are more likely to participate and potentially give back if they graduate or recommend the university to prospective students. It’s all interconnected.”

Almost all executives who responded to the survey said their institutions actively sought to use student data in decision-making. Despite this, 54% of top leaders in North America currently do not consider additional investment in management learning or information systems for students.

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