The year 2020 made the world stop because of COVID-19. The fear of widespread infections and the alarming number of deaths of people contracting the virus caused many governments to enforce lockdowns and implement strict health protocols to mitigate death and infections.
For a time, the streets were devoid of people, shops closed, flights were canceled, and everything turned to a halt. This is the first time since a century ago when the Spanish flu caused devastation that the world felt bleak and distressed. One of the most affected areas of everyone’s life is education.
Improving Student Experience During A Pandemic
Students stopped going to school, and a new learning model was introduced. Now, more than a year after the spread of the coronavirus, things are slowly going back to normal; the streets are crowded again, stadiums are noisy and filled, the malls are busy, tourism is flourishing in most areas, and the economy is booming.
Vaccination and strict implementation of health protocols made all of these possible. Students can now go back to school and attend face-to-face classes. But don’t mistake this as normal. Many experts have said that there’s no going back to the world pre-COVID. Everyone needs to embrace that this pandemic will be here to stay until it becomes endemic.
And since it has been established that the true normal isn’t on the horizon, you have to take measures in the same strict way when you haven’t had your vaccination. Many studies went underway to ensure student experience was addressed during this challenging time.
Here are some of the ways to improve student experience during a pandemic:
1. Ensure 100% Student Vaccination Is Implemented
Students attending hybrid classes must be fully vaccinated, excluding those with medical exemptions and religious exceptions. Hybrid classes are a combination of traditional face-to-face classroom learning with online learning that students must accomplish outside of the classroom. When students are vaccinated, there’s little chance they’ll contract the virus from an infected person. No vaccine is 100% effective. Thus, following strict health measures is still paramount.
2. Get An Apartment Near The University
According to Sunrisevillageapts.com, having a place near the university will be safe for students, minimizing their exposure to the virus. Commuting is hazardous for them at this time. And attending hybrid classes as opposed to 100% virtual classes is a much better arrangement since they still get to socialize with other students, engage with their instructors personally, and be out of the four corners of their bedroom. It’ll be much better for their mental health as well.
3. Amp Up Literacy Drive About Coronavirus
The world has been under the strain of COVID-19 for two years now, but many people remain to be clueless about the virus. With the proliferation of fake news, even the most educated person gets confused. To enhance the student experience, everyone needs to be made aware of what needs to be done to minimize and eliminate the presence of COVID-19 in the university.
After using each facility, everyone needs to follow the sanitation guidelines to ensure no virus thrives on surfaces for other students to catch. The importance of wearing masks must also be reiterated as many students and instructors became lenient in proper mask-wearing.
Last year saw some students and even instructors with their masks down their chin and at times dangling on their ears. Masks work, and they’re your first line of defense against the virus, but to have it and not correctly wear it makes no sense.
4. Ensure Reliable Internet Connection
Virtual learning gets disrupted when you’re dealing with intermittent internet connections. A slow and erratic internet connection disrupts and demotivates a learner. So, even if it’s synchronous or asynchronous learning, a student needs to be connected to the World Wide Web to listen to discussions in virtual classrooms and conduct research for written works and performance tasks. A study also shows that students who suffer from slow internet connections are left behind online learning.
5. Build A Sense Of Belongingness Virtually
Instructors of online learning are constantly reminded to check on students’ connection with each other and their instructors. The effects of COVID-19 are difficult on everyone, particularly kids and teens. They’re not equipped to deal with this, especially the isolation and lack of social interaction. It may take some time for them to adjust and get used to the new normal.
The high degree of psychological distress teens is suffering isn’t something to be dismissed casually. The student experience is improved with a personal connection. Many instructors are utilizing the ‘check-in message’ approach wherein they send emails to the student asking how they are and how the instructor could help them with their learning.
Many students who participated in the activity greatly appreciated the effort coming from the instructors and made a massive difference in how they approached virtual learning from thereon.
6. Make Virtual Classes Engaging
The average attention span of a teenager is 40 minutes. Attention span is when a person can maintain focus on a given task. If classes are monotonous and drowning, chances are the student would keep busy fidgeting with their cellphones or opening a new tab on their laptops. Instructors must find new and exciting ways to keep their students active and engaged during a virtual class.
7. Make Synchronous Lectures Available Offline
Often, a student would miss an essential portion of a lecture, probably due to a bad internet connection. And if they’d like to go back to it, it’d be helpful if the class would be made available offline.
The children are the future. Their development and growth are vital for the future of a country. The students you have now are the lawyers, doctors, engineers, accountants of the next generation. And the next president of this country is somewhere out there. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world, but everything is temporary. Things will change for the better, and this too shall pass. Consider the ideas mentioned here as you improve the student experience.