As we are all fully aware, the global COVID pandemic has had a profound impact on the education landscape. And while colleges and universities worldwide were forced to make sweeping changes quickly last spring, the time has now come to establish more long-term solutions.
So, the question on everyone’s minds is – what will that look like?
It depends on who you ask.
Here’s what recent data on 2,967 U.S. post-secondary institutions shows regarding Fall 2020 classes:
4% Fully Online
24% Primarily Online
21% Primarily in Person
3% Fully in Person
Data Source: 8/2/2020 The College Crisis Initiative @ Davidson College and Project PRONTO++ (in collaboration with The Chronicle for Higher Education and funded by ECMC Foundation), provides regularly updated insight into how nearly 3,000 post-secondary institutions in the U.S. plan to educate students in the upcoming Fall semester.
As these statistics show, it is clear that at least 44% of post secondary institutions will incorporate some degree of online instructional this academic year. In addition, many have begun to ditch their original plans for in-person instruction and pivot to fully virtual courses within the past several weeks in response to transmission concerns (Inside Higher Ed, 08/12/20).
While plans vary widely for institutions across the country, it is certain that online and hybrid learning are going to be a regular part of college life for the foreseeable future – even for traditionally campus-based institutions.
What does this mean for the estimated 15% of college students without adequate Internet access at home?
For these students, this “Digital Divide” will continue to widen, causing them to fall behind their classmates and struggle to participate in their online classes.
A recent study by WhistleOut found that one-third of adult respondents who transitioned to working or studying from home had been prevented from doing so by a weak Internet connection, while two-thirds experienced frozen or disconnected video calls or Zoom lectures (WhistleOut, April 2020).
It is clear that this shift to virtual instruction, while necessary in the present moment, exacerbates the existing issue of Internet access – overwhelmingly among students in low-income households and rural communities. Technology, engagement, and equitable access will be more important to address than ever before.
That’s where we can help.
Kajeet’s Distance Learning Bundles, which were unveiled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, combine Internet connectivity with a WiFi hotspot or an LTE-enabled Chromebook to keep your students connected and engaged.
Every Kajeet device comes fully kitted and ready for student use, and is equipped with our Sentinel® dashboard to allow administrators to manage data usage and site accessibility. In addition, our solutions run on all major wireless carriers, guaranteeing you the strongest high-speed connection possible in any area of the country.