Once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides — as we cross our fingers and toes, hoping a vaccine comes out later this evening — we anticipate that some parts of the college experience will return to normal. We believe students will go back to learning in classrooms. We believe students will go back to living in dorms. And we believe students will go back to competing in swim meets and playing trumpets in the marching band. But, in many ways, it will be a new normal.
A Shift to the New Normal in College Education
In an eloquent piece for Barron’s, two university administrators, Stephen K. Klasko and Mark L. Tykocinski, write, “We believe that in a very compressed time span, we have begun to define the higher education of the 21st century. What we’ve seen is a future marked by virtual tools, hybrid delivery of curriculum, and most importantly, the need to be nimble, creative, and imaginative in meeting the challenge of an increasingly digital world.”
They go on, “We see the future of higher education characterized by new tools and driven by new goals. The shift to digital tools is clear, both for education and for society at large. Even museums are offering inspiring virtual tours and social-media content. The shift to new goals is even more powerful: We now know that we have to help learners be confident, resilient, and creative.”
Our Crystal Ball Predicts the New Normal in College Education
So what will be the new normal in college education? As our loyal readers know all too well, Ivy Coach’s famously accurate crystal ball is rarely shy to make a prediction or two — as it will in this case. We believe college athletics will ultimately return to normal, a normal that includes fans in packed stadiums. We believe students will learn the vast majority of material in classrooms and lecture halls, though there will be more virtual learning than in the years before the pandemic. We do believe, however, that there will be a shift to smaller class sizes — with fewer lecture halls fit for hundreds of students.
We also believe that fewer students will be able to forge friendships with college roommates because schools are going to start redesigning the dorm room experience so more students live in singles, singles that even boast their very own bathrooms. And we believe that more and more of America’s elite universities are going to move away from requiring applicants to submit test scores like the SAT, ACT, and Subject Tests. Some of these schools will first announce that the move is only for the Class of 2025 due to all the testing cancelations — but we suspect that once they move away from tests, they’ll never go back.
Do our readers echo our crystal ball’s forecasts? Do our readers surmise that the Fourth Industrial Revolution has arrived, a revolution that as Klasko and Tykocinski predict, will inspire universities to rethink how they educate their students? Let us know your thoughts by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!
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