COVID -19 IMPACT : Is it advisable to take ONLINE Classes for Fall 2020 intake?
While our life has become unpredictable in the wake of the COVID 19 situation, and there are no clear-cut answers on how the pandemic will pan out over the coming weeks, the associated uncertainty is all set to change the course of the higher education system in Fall 2020.
Given the uncertainty associated with the pandemic, universities across the US are exploring a range of scenarios such as favoring in-person classes, hybrid teaching (in-person and online), moving online, and modular-based semester offering the flexibility of both online and in-person learning to ensure that the wheels of enrolment keep rolling.
If you are an incoming student gearing up for the fall semester, you will be relieved to know that most of the colleges have extended the decision deadline to June 1, 2020, for you to reconsider your enrolment. But what happens if the universities are unable to reopen their campuses for the fall semester?
Are you prepared for the change in the mode of instruction that you are likely to be subjected to in the upcoming year?
Given the prevailing situation, you may be required to commence your semester online than the customary campus-based learning, unless there is a vaccine in place to flatten the virus curve before the fall season begins.
What would it be like to start college in virtual mode? How will this impact your academic goals and career progression? Most importantly, are you open to remote learning given that most of the universities have already moved online- midway through the summer term?
We at Collegepond would like to share our thoughts on what you can expect from distance learning or remote teaching and the impact of this transitory mode of learning on your overall education.
Some of the intended benefits of online learning:
- Good teaching does not distinguish between online and classroom learning, so if you are able to cope up with online learning you can avail of reasonably good quality education and guidance.
- If your program duration is of two years then you will be able to complete your program as per the schedule and save on your valuable time. You will have sufficient time on-campus as well.
- Some Universities may provide a reduced fee for online classes
You may experience the following shortcomings while learning online:
- You may find the sudden switch from campus-based learning to online learning to be a bit disruptive at the beginning
- You will miss out on personal interactions with fellow students, instructors, and teachers, which is important for knowledge exchange. In essence, the quality of education will not be the same in the online mode especially if your program is more practical oriented requiring lab classes, extensive use of machines, and research.
- You may not be able to avail of essential student services such as guidance, mentoring, counselling, etc.
- Assuming you have enrolled for a one-year course and start the fall semester online with the hope of switching over to campus-based learning in the ensuing semester, you will be left with just one semester to look for suitable employment, which can prove to be quite challenging given the prevailing situation
- Being an international student you will have to factor in the considerable variation in time zones
- For the USA, due to the evolving nature of the pandemic crisis, there is still no clarity on CPT eligibility and engagement assuming CPT is an integral component of your program
When the option of online learning is not available:
- Some universities may not be in favor of online teaching, and as a result, may postpone the fall semester
- You may consider applying elsewhere
To get a realistic picture, we have managed to connect with students who were subjected to both models of learning. In keeping with their feedback, 80% of the students have categorically opined that they preferred campus-based education compared to remote learning. That being said in order to cope up with current challenges many universities are exploring new ways of making online ways of learning more engaging and value-adding. Given the prevailing uncertainty, commencing education in the online mode may appear like a viable option to keep your academic momentum going, until it is safe to switch over to campus-based learning.
You still have ample time to know if your university will resume in-person classes or deliver education online this coming fall. So, we would like you to weigh your options thoroughly after duly considering the emerging developments and the associated pros and cons of online learning.
Reach out to Collegepond for more information. We are here to help you out in these times – Be it online counselling for studying abroad or other abroad education related queries. Through online counselling for students, our education counsellors ensure that you make your study abroad journey smooth and memorable.