Students have good cause to be wary of returning to college in the fall – especially as over 6,600 COVID-19 cases have been linked to about 270 US colleges over the course of the pandemic.
Now college students and professors are weighing up how and whether to reopen campuses to ensure normal learning. But what will normal learnng look like for back-to-school college students?
Los Angeles, CA-based social content company Fullscreen surveyed a panel of more than 500 18 to 36-year-olds to determine their behaviors, habits and emotions when it comes to coping with the "new normal" of COVID-19 and going back to school in the fall.
The data revealed that the majority of college students (63%) are not considering taking a year off due to the pandemic.
The 37% of college students who have considered taking a year off, cite the social experience (15%), safety (15%) and the learning experience (12%) as their top concerns about returning to college campuses
Online learning will form some part of classes this year, and this way of learning seems to be completely acceptable to returning students.
According to the report, very few students (3%) are unwilling to enroll in online-only classes if it is unsafe for colleges and universities to open.
Gen Z is the generation most likely to embrace online learning. The Observatory of Educational Innovation asked Gen Z students about online classes compared to face-to-face.
It asked how much they agreed about online education's difficulty and disadvantages, 39% agreed that online content is less challenging.
In comparison, 34% felt the opposite, that online classes are more complicated. Only 20% affirmed that the degree of difficulty is the same.
And while 44% of college students are completely open to online learning, almost all of them (43%) of students expect a discount in tuition from their college or university.
Gen Z – those born after 1996 - seems to be coping well during the pandemic and are making their minds up how they approach the back to school season. They learn in front of a screen, and collaboration has the centre stage in the classroom.
According to spaces4learning, the coronavirus pandemic has underscored the value of digital tools and platforms for connecting students with anytime, anywhere learning opportunities — allowing students to research topics, share work and complete projects together from wherever they are.This way of learning will continue to grow as lecturers adopt this medium.
This pandemic has certainly impacted Gen Z's immediate future, and has forced them to reconsider their plans.
Whether continuing at college, or the uncertain jobs market, their original career goals may have considerably changed, perhaps forcing them to pursue a completely different career path.