Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, a large percentage of colleges and universities across the nation have halted in-person instruction in favor of “e-learning,” or virtual learning. Below, you can learn more about how educators are utilizing technology to ensure college students continue to receive the best possible education, even when they must learn remotely.

More Students Learning Remotely than Ever Before

Online learning is certainly nothing new. In fact, as of 2020, most colleges and universities offered one or more courses that were delivered at least partially online due to the convenience and flexibility. However, as of fall 2018, the National Center for Education Statistics reported nearly seven million American students were enrolled in distance learning programs at a variety of postsecondary schools. Though statistics for 2020 are not yet available, it can be safely assumed that there are more distance learners this year than ever before due to social distancing requirements.

How Colleges and Universities are Responding

Distance learning incorporates numerous technologies, and for the most part, professors are free to decide how to best use these technologies to deliver education to their students. Below are some of the tools that higher education facilities utilize.

  • Email correspondence. Email correspondence is a preferred way for delivering attachments such as lecture notes to students, and it’s also ideal for students to turn in papers or research projects. It’s instant and fast, and unlike traditional paper, there is an electronic record of all communications.
  • Online libraries. Many of today’s colleges and universities work with local public libraries to provide students with access to a variety of texts and reference materials they can use for their studies. In fact, some schools have even built their own online libraries that allow students with access to e-readers (or e-reader software) to access these learning materials.
  • Social media groups. Some professors have turned to social media to connect with their students. It’s not unusual to see Facebook groups titled “Professor Smith’s English 101” that provides the professor, his or her assistants, and all the students with an excellent discussion forum that can be accessed anytime from anywhere.
  • Forums via school websites.  Numerous schools host forums on their servers and these can serve as an alternative to (or perhaps even in addition to) social media for discussions among students and professors.
  • Live streaming services. Live streaming is arguably one of the most important tools colleges and universities have at their disposal for virtual gatherings. It’s possible to stream events such as campus tours, graduation ceremonies, and other similar events. It’s convenient, effective, and safe. 

With distance learning at an all-time high, it comes as no real surprise that colleges and universities are looking for newer, better, and more innovative ways to deliver education to their students. By combining email correspondence, social media, school websites, and even live streaming services, today’s college students can enjoy one of the best and most thorough online learning experiences in history.