The Coronavirus outbreak has affected several aspects of our lives. Since the government has asked the schools, colleges and universities to keep their campuses closed until further notice, the education of millions of students in America faces a new kind of challenge. According to UNESCO, more than 90% of students worldwide are going to be affected due to this crisis.
However, a lot of academic institutes in the country have chosen different avenues to continue educating the students, even in this COVID-19 pandemic. While some of these measures are still in the process of trial and error, they are actually helping the teachers, instructors and other educators to facilitate a remote learning environment away from the campus.
It is true that the outbreak of Coronavirus has forced educators to reimagine the delivery of a holistic and engaging learning experience. However, it has also given them the opportunity to look for effective ways to facilitate impactful and relevant learning opportunities outside the traditional classroom. Shifting to online classes seems to be the best alternative at this moment.
It has not been easy for the academic institutes in the country to move to online-only lessons in this short period of time. In fact, those institutes which had online courses available well before the pandemic are still struggling to facilitate an engaging learning environment for the students. The good news is that things are moving on the right track.
Thanks to technological advancement, it is now possible to connect with the students and offer them individualized lessons through virtual classrooms online. The dynamic of these virtual classrooms are a lot different than traditional classrooms. And perhaps, that is what makes these online classrooms so special.
The admission process for the academic year 2020-21 has been delayed quite a lot due to the current circumstances. However, a lot of institutes are working towards shifting to online admission of students, as it is a more efficient and safer option given the current situation. Otherwise, students who were supposed to take admission in colleges and universities would have to take a gap year.
According to experts, due to this pandemic, higher education is likely to become more accessible as universities move most of their programming online. This might be a bit problematic for the academic institutes as conducting admission tests online and adjusting online classes will make the whole process a lot more complex.
While a lot of universities in the US have suspended the admission process for an indefinite period, there are several universities that are continuing to accept international students. California Institute of Technology is asking the students to stay in self-quarantine. However, the admission-related campus visits have been suspended for now.
Due to the pandemic, international students are facing the most number of challenges. Firstly, their visa requests are stuck in the processing, as the US embassies and consulates are unable to reopen right now. This is the reason why most international students are attending the fall semester classes remotely from their homes.
Most universities are thinking of shifting to online-only courses to get the semester started as the on-campus classes remain unavailable due to the Coronavirus outbreak. It would be helpful for both international students as well as domestic students. And perhaps, this can lead us to more impactful and engaging ways of learning, making quality education more accessible to the students across the world.
However, this is quite challenging for international students as the differences in time-zones can disrupt the regular routine for a lot of them. Moreover, not every student has a stable internet connection and high-performance computers to avail of the online lessons offered by American universities. So, educators need to think of a viable plan.
Quite evidently, a significant change in the approach towards education needs to be changed. And this is the perfect opportunity to try alternative modes of education and find the gaps in the system. It is certainly a difficult time for everyone in the world. But with proper planning and smart execution, these small initiatives can lead to bigger and better changes.
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