As designers in the higher education space, we have seen online learning grow at a gradual pace over the past decade. Yet, since the COVID-19 outbreak, many institutions have had to abruptly move all their courses online. Our clients say they’ve talked more about online pedagogy in the past month than in the past ten years. We know clients are weighing the possibility that they’ll need to continue their online offerings into the Fall semester as a safe return of students to campus is carefully evaluated.
This prompts us to ask some key questions: What will the student experience be like in a primarily virtual world? How will these virtual students develop emotional intelligence and build rapport and collaborate with one another? What new pedagogy will facilitate this? And how will remote learning impact each institution’s technology infrastructure, physical campus, traditions and culture?
When campuses do reopen, the online learning model will inform the on-campus, distance and hybrid teaching and learning intersection now and into the future. And as institutions develop and expand pedagogy for a virtual learning environment, these are some areas they need to consider.