Students have endured temporary disruptions to their learning routine with the expectation things would return to normal eventually. While some states have resumed in person classes, virtual learning remains in demand as students continue to face quarantine periods. Most universities already offered limited online classes to their students prior to the pandemic. Moving forward, now that most professors have already adapted their curriculum for online learning, the diversity of classes available online throughout the school year is likely to remain the same or grow as people’s expectations for higher learning have evolved.

The cost of a degree is prohibitive for many families with room and board consuming a substantial amount of money. While there are scholarship opportunities available for kids in need, they are competitive and only apply to tuition costs. If a student can obtain the same quality of education remotely, he or she can attend from anywhere in the world and save on the cost of room and board by living at home.

Even for students that attend class in person, video recordings are available to review later. (What a relief to the student who falls asleep in class)! The recording is a valuable resource for review prior to an exam and will enhance any notes the student took in class.

Professors, too, will want the option to work from home whether for health reasons or convenience as they have proven over the last year that they can educate their students with the remote classroom platform.

There is speculation that there will be less emphasis by employees to complete a four-year degree. But this comes at a time when businesses across the nation are facing labor shortages and are desperate to fill vacant positions. Should that dynamic change, we should expect to see the requirements for positions become more competitive, as well.

In sync with the flexibility of remote instruction, academic calendars have evolved to offer more flexibility. Since instruction can occur for the student at his or her convenience, the calendar need not cater to any schedule – flexibility is infinite.

We could expect to see greater competition now that consumers have become keener about what to expect from a secondary education. If you take away the prestige of brick, ivy and buildings named after wealthy people, how does the quality of education stack up to a similar school? That’s what future applicants will be thinking about, especially those planning to attend online.

The schools to rise in popularity will embrace the changes we’ve experienced this past year and work to perfect their online platforms to provide enriching learning experiences. For some students, simply reading an assignment is not enough; they need engagement to review and grasp the content. Professors must tailor their programs for the best outcomes and the universities should invest in growing their online resources to bring the virtual education experience in line with an in-person learning experience. Hopefully, education will be more affordable as a result, and we will see more students go on to earn higher degrees.

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