Over the years, higher education’s reliance on information technology has been steadily increasing, but it’s never been so profoundly noticeable as during COVID-19. What was historically viewed as a support position is now critical for business continuity. As schools are forced to make the shift to remote learning, their success hinges on the ability of their IT department to rise to the occasion and instructors’ willingness to embrace new technology.

Not all institutions are faring equally.

Institutions with existing online programs were able to leverage their internal experts to roll out best practices to the rest of the faculty. They knew what tools worked, what didn’t, and what to change.

Educators who refused to consider the viability of remote learning are now experiencing what many already knew:

Successful remote learning doesn’t look the same as the traditional classroom.

Instructors can’t jump on Zoom and lecture as they did in the past and expect students to feel as though they’re receiving the same level of education.

Auxiliary tools must be embraced to humanize online interactions. Online communities or groups should be established to support timely question and answer sessions–ideally supported with voice or video to eliminate potential for misinterpretation. Redlining papers isn’t enough. More robust feedback, including voice or video, should be employed to help students understand the basis for critique.

Students and professors would benefit from groups centered around their class, allowing students to collaborate on assignments or complicated material. Supporting material must be quickly surfaced and dynamically assigned according to student or faculty profiles. Content management is a must.

A pivot to online learning must include the adoption of robust online communities. Link farm “portals” are no longer sufficient to support students or faculty. Students are accustomed to socializing online and forming communities through shared interests. By leveraging a muscle students have already developed, campuses can increase a sense of community and decrease reports of loneliness with the right platform and online strategy.

In our latest guide, you’ll learn:

  • Strategic areas improved by modern portals
  • The key to student retention models
  • Pillars for evaluating the modern portal

We hope you enjoy the guide, and as always, please contact us with any questions.