How the COVID-19 pandemic has developed higher education – Community News
Covid-19

How the COVID-19 pandemic has developed higher education

PHOENIX, AZ — For many students, distance learning has been and continues to be a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in K-12 schools.

Students may feel disconnected from their teachers and peers, but new research from education technology company Instructure has found that college-level online learning may have the opposite effect.

Instructure is the creator of Canvas, an online platform that many schools, such as Arizona State University, use for students to connect with their professors, access assignments, and even take tests.

Entering its second year, the company’s survey is a global survey in 18 countries with nearly 7,000 respondents. It found that demand from universities and colleges for help with online courses and hybrid courses skyrocketed even as face-to-face learning resumed.

“They integrate very exciting tools. They really measure student engagement and student-teacher interactions that are so important to actually helping students achieve their academic goals,” said Canvas Senior Director of Education Product Marketing Ryan Lufkin. “We’ve had 10 years of evolution to, you know, about a year.”

The days of the 300-person lecture hall, Lufkin said, may be over. Those larger courses may find greater benefit and engagement in switching to online or hybrid modeling.

“I think before COVID, online learning was somehow considered less. It was not considered to be on par with personal education,” Lufkin said. “Students have realized that we can be productive and that we can really achieve our academic goals with online learning.”

Lufkin said there are still many benefits to that in-person experience, but moving forward, even in person, needs to be supported by better technology to provide students with the most engaging experience possible.

For example, Canvas has added new templates to allow for more dynamic classroom discussions online, different user interfaces for different age groups, and better mobile access.

“Colleges, universities have done really great things in the past two years,” he said. “We want to understand how they evolve.”