Institutes of Higher Education deserve credit for their pivot to remote learning. Colleges hurdled over obstacles to offer quality instruction to students. Yet, these efforts are not appreciated by students. Besides that, new challenges take place when a school offers remote learning. Below are the five most common challenges colleges face.
Remote learning gets a bad rap. Universities battle the perception that online learning is dull. Yet, online learning works. Remote learning needs to be well-designed to succeed. Besides that, universities have offered online learning that works for years. Many examples of successful programs exist. Yet, schools cannot seem to shake the image of the bored student in front of the computer.
Besides that, students view remote learning as a potential risk. Students’ personal data is now at risk. Online learning classrooms can be hacked. IP address, location, and personal information is put in jeopardy. The chance for cyberbullying increases in virtual settings. Cyberbullies can grab screenshots of classmates to manipulate and misuse online. Also, schools now must plan for how to handle these situations both on-campus and online.
Likewise, colleges must protect the integrity of their programs as well. Students may find it easier to cheat in remote learning. Exams are not easy to proctor. A proctor may be monitoring a remote test site. Students may use an app designed as a study aid to cheat. Flashcard apps may be filled with exam questions. Online learning is designed to be mobile. As a result, instructors do not have line of sight to where, with who, and with what tools, their students are taking an exam.
Besides that, remote learning is not free. Successful online learning relies on delivery. Not all instructors shine in remote learning classrooms. Faculty need to be willing to learn new skills. Administration may face pushback from staff reluctant to change to remote learning. Instructors may cringe at the idea of recording classes. Besides that, colleges now have to think about legal implications. Schools now need to plan for what happens to recorded online learning sessions. Are there educational records? How will they be stored? Extra digital storage space costs money. Training staff and software can cost big bucks.
In addition, schools need to think about whether or not they can provide the same remote learning to all students. COVID has highlighted the educational gap. Rural and underprivileged students are at a disadvantage when it comes to remote learning. Rural students may lack connectivity in their area. Needy students may only be able to attend online learning during the library’s open hours. These students may fail a course due to these constraints. Universities need to be thinking of ways to bridge the gap with these students, ways which may involve more spending.
In sum, while the pains of remote learning are centered on the student, institutions face significant challenges. Faculty and administration may have little expertise in fighting this new array of obstacles. Also, the costs to overcome these remote learning challenges are substantial at a time when government funding is up in the air. Yet, universities are well-suited to overcome these challenges. After all, Institutions of Higher Education have been delivering online learning for years.