Wondering how a number of University of Pennsylvania students are spending their summer during the age of COVID-19? They’re taking online courses through the university. In fact, Summer Session II courses at UPenn are up about 30% from last summer or by 850-900 course units. And why is demand for these online courses up so much this summer? That’s an easy one. What else are UPenn students to do this summer while they’re stuck at home? Even if they happen to be doing remote internships, maybe they can take online courses during the time they’d otherwise spend commuting. Or if they’re not doing internships at all because of the current state of our economy, it makes sense to fill that time with online coursework.
UPenn Students Are Taking Online Courses
As Isabella Schlact reports for The Daily Pennsylvanian in a piece entitled “Penn summer courses enroll students in 30% more course units than 2019,” “‘There’s a lot more demand for summer session courses than we have seen in the last couple of summers, and I think that makes sense.’ [Vice Dean for Liberal and Professional Education Nora] Lewis said. ‘Many students had their other plans change and they suddenly had time and interest in taking a summer course that they might not have had we not had COVID-19.’ Lewis previously told The Daily Pennsylvanian that students had already registered for over 3,700 course units as of May 1, a 70% increase from May 2019. Many students, however, dropped these courses before the summer deadline to drop a class, Lewis said.”
Students Wish to Stay Engaged
When press outlets, school counselors, admissions officers, and the local handyman were all fretting about how the number of students taking gap years this coming year was going to skyrocket, we countered this thinking by asserting that students aren’t going to want to sit home and finish Netflix this fall. Rather, they’re going to take online courses. They’re going to start — or continue — their college educations so they can remain productive. Early indications at many highly selective colleges are that the number of students taking gap years is up, but not to the extent many anticipated. The increased enrollment in UPenn’s online summer courses speaks to the fact that students want to stay engaged. We don’t anticipate that changing much this fall.
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