Highlights from Higher Ed: Who’s had COVID?, Data helps pump the brakes on college dropouts, U.S. statement on international education, Research guides the future of hybrid learning

David Art
Aug 6, 2021

Who’s had COVID?

A national survey from the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University found that nearly 7 percent of college students said they had been “sick with Covid” during or since spring 2020. The study, based on a fall 2020 survey of more than 100,000 students at 202 institutions in 42 states, is the first to examine how being infected with Covid-19 affected college students. Two highlights stand out. One is that the inequalities are playing out in terms of who’s had the virus. Self-reported infection rates were higher among racial and ethnic minorities than among white students. Those students are most at risk — African American, Latinx, Indigenous, Pell recipients, people with kids — are those who were already more likely to struggle in college. The survey also found that student-athletes were two percentage points more likely than nonathletes to have had a Covid-19 infection, though this might reflect higher rates of testing among athletes. Secondly, and really critically, the virus has done some bad things to people that would play out in the classroom that could have long-term implications for student success.

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Data helps pump the brakes on college dropouts

More than 40 percent of community college students neither complete college nor transfer to a different school. As one data point it’s not very helpful, which is why more institutions are using the power of data analytics. Institutions and staff found by understanding student data, they can intervene and provide necessary and personalized support for struggling students.

The power to predict leverages student data to not only identify students in need of assistance but also to identify the obstacles standing in the way of their success. Predictive analytics also helps advisors and success coaches be proactive with intervention, giving them insights on what support students may need in order to continue their higher education journey successfully. Success coaches can have automatic insights into which students need their support the most. Data solutions can help place students into risk categories, and their advisors can prioritize students in the medium- and high-risk ranges.

Source: eCampus News

U.S. statement on international education

The U.S. Departments of Education and State recently issued a joint statement of principles articulating “a renewed U.S. commitment to international education.” The international education sector has been badly battered by the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey last fall found that the total number of international students at U.S. colleges declined by 16 percent, and the number of new international students by 43 percent, from fall 2019 to fall 2020. Study abroad participation also fell dramatically, with many institutions suspending or sharply curtailing their offerings in the 2020-21 academic year following what was an unprecedented effort by colleges and study abroad providers to recall students who were abroad when the pandemic began in spring 2020. Experts on international education say it’s been more than 20 years since the federal government issued a similar statement. Former president Bill Clinton issued a policy memorandum in April 2000, his last year in office, directing the vice president to coordinate the U.S. government’s international education strategy.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Research guides the future of hybrid learning

Existing research suggests cautious optimism about synchronous hybrid learning, which creates a more flexible, engaging learning environment compared to fully online or fully on-site instruction (Raes et al. 2020). According to a Digital Learning Pulse survey, most students want to keep the option of studying online to some extent, confirming a need for hybrid solutions in higher education. Not surprisingly, first-year students prefer a full return to on-campus learning. On the other hand, as students progress toward their final year, they have more reasons to find flexible hybrid models helpful. A hybrid model allows them to combine study and work more efficiently. And a hybrid model is preparation for future employment as the new work environment shaped by the global pandemic becomes increasingly significant. One of the major traits of the “new normal” working environment is the wider adoption of remote working and the concept of a hybrid office. Some studies suggest recommendations and guidelines related to hybrid learning, including the following:

  • Training and support to teaching staff.

  • Create student engagement where all students feel included and have equal opportunities to participate.

  • Transitioning from instructor-centred to student-centred learning, where the focus is less on instructor delivery of content and more on student application of content.

Source: Campus Technology

David Art

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