One of the most critical aspects of the college experience is building a creative network with peers. Undergrads, graduate students, and even professors have been collaborating and working alongside one another for hundreds of years. As a whole, they have been dependent on in-person interactions to solve problems and come up with hypotheses.
Some schools are finding ways to keep creativity alive during the Covid-19 crisis. The pandemic is forcing interactions to occur through computer screens rather than in person. Getting used to this new kind of communication is a struggle students and educators or working to solve. The issue hurts both the sciences and arts at the college level.
Students Are Participating in Virtual Clubs
It would be a grave error to rely on faculty to create all of the initiatives for students. Students should be involved and arguably lead the initiatives outside of the classroom. Clubs and recreational leagues on-campus are created by students. Online clubs should be no different.
Students are the lifeblood of educational institutions. They are full of ideas to enhance their learning experience and aren’t letting Covid-19 stop them from their clubs and organizations. Students at Dickinson College moved their clubs online just as seamlessly as they transitioned to their online classes. From a capella groups to student unions, students are finding ways to keep the college experiences they want.
Be Flexible and Open to Change
It’s more than understandable that students during Covid-19 won’t be the same as they were before. There is so much more going on in the world for students to worry about other than their coursework. Each student is affected differently by the pandemic, which will result in scenarios where they won’t turn in their best work or participate as they did before the pandemic. Many students enroll in coding bootcamps that can be found on BootcampRankings alongside with their comparison against each other.
The drastic change brought on by Covid-19 is negatively impacting students at all levels of schooling. Postgrad students might be more anxious because they have more responsibilities to tend to. Students at community colleges pursuing their associates degrees are more likely to be negatively affected by the Covid-19 crisis. These students are often holding down full-time jobs and contributing financially to their families.
Remaining flexible is the best way to create a sense of community and let students know you care about their success. Don’t wait until there is a conflict to change policies and work with students. Academic advisors should meet with their caseloads early and often to be ready when Covid-19 gets in the way of their education. If there is one thing to be certain of during 2020, it’s to expect the unexpected.
Explicitly Build Human Connections
The lack of in-person classes diminishes the ways students connect with their peers. The college experience is just as much about the journey and connecting with others as it is learning and understanding new concepts. In order to combat the lack of in-person connection, instructors and faculty need to go out of their way to foster kinship among students. This may mean taking some time away from instruction to use icebreakers or other team building activities for kindling relationships.
Online classes make it easier for shy students to hide in shadows while other students overshare. A picture on mute is a lot easier to ignore than a physical being who is quiet during the duration of the discussion class. It’s important for students to be vulnerable during their learning experience. Showing vulnerability over online classes can be difficult, especially when you can see the whole class’s reaction. The relationships students build will last long after they receive their bachelor’s degrees. It’s important to preserve that.
The Covid-19 Crisis Creates New Opportunities
The challenges of the current situation also open doors for students to engage in new activities. The diminished social scene on campuses gives students more time to participate in school activities outside of their academic courses. Students can participate in investing, movies, books, and e-sports clubs.
Using web conferencing software to engage in exciting topics can take away from the Zoom fatigue that students all too often feel in this new learning style. While these fun activities might seem like a distraction, they also help build networking, collaboration, and communication skills.
The top online universities are already adept at providing these extracurricular activities to create virtual connections between students.
Colleges Will Keep Enhancing the Online Learning Experience
The transition to online learning was incredibly rushed. Covid-19 snuck up on schools worldwide, leaving them to scramble to keep learning on track. The faculty and student bodies are working to bring back the fun aspects of attending college.