A New Era of Learning? What 2021 Academic Year Has in Store for College Students

We were all taken by surprise by the year 2020. The scope of detrimental changes and challenges that have been waiting and are yet to come is immense. The effect on various industries and the world’s economy as a whole is still to be assessed.

However, many people see these major shifts in education logical. They seem to be the next step in the evolution of the industry. In fact, the last decade has prepared us for digitization and computerization of the learning process. The events of 2020 only contributed to the quick transition.

Companies that operate online such as essay writing service online and others, were prepared for such a move. They say that traditional classroom instruction was slowly giving it up to online lectures and presentations. Questions that students had could be asked during seminars and discussions. Yet, they were more often heard online on a forum or a classroom discussion board.

The major problem that seems to bother governments is that there are still households with poor access to the Internet or lack of computers per child. Unless it is solved, the full transition to distance learning and online education is not possible.

Nevertheless, the 2021 academic year will be a lot more different than those we used to have. Here is why.

Impersonalization of Collective Learning

Many people would say that they’ve met their best friends or future spouses at school. This experience may be gone since the pandemic, and a quick spread of disease may force students to learn from home.

A good chance is that many students will not get an opportunity to meet their classmates in person. They will cooperate through various apps and programs and communicate via video conferences. Yet, kind of communication can never substitute a real conversation. There’s always a certain team spirit present in a classroom.

Visualization Over Speaking

Teachers used to assess students’ knowledge and skills based on their activity and participation in the discussion. The new era of education makes presentations and other visual content dominant.

That being said, students will invest more time in preparing infographics, graphs, charts, and tables than they used to. Also, they will work more on analyses and statistics since visualization values numerical data more than words.

Academic Writing

Writing will reach a new level since it will only solidify its status as the main instrument for student success assessment. The number of writing assignments is likely to go up. Students have to prepare for an increased academic burden. Ideally, they should be looking for a partner that can provide external help when needed.

Also, the instructions for academic writing assignments may change. For example, instructors will give more precise rubrics so that students know exactly what they are expected to submit. That will enable the latter to write better papers that meet all academic criteria and live up to professors’ expectations.

Indirect Communication

The year 2021 will be different for students who are used to working in teams. They already tried collaborating through Zoom, Trello, and other tools, but that was a forced measure. Now, if distance learning becomes the new reality for high school and college students, they will learn to cooperate through social media, tools, and apps even better.

Of course, such indirect communication and collaboration have lots of cons. Face-to-face talks are always more appreciated and productive. However, good Internet connectivity can help to turn video sessions into something similar to real conversations. It is better than nothing.

User-Friendliness

This aspect has never been important in a classroom setting. Students used their speaking skills, body language, intonation, and other means to express their ideas and opinions. Today, given the fact that they have to care more about the content they submit, user-friendliness is one of the top concerns.

Similar to confusing and wordy essays, clumsy and vague presentations and school projects will not receive good marks. Thus, the informativeness and appeal of the materials submitted to the instructor will play a fundamental role in getting a good grade. This aspect is new for students, but it should definitely be recognized.

Limited University Experience and Visa Issues

In the U.S., foreign students whose universities decide to study online may lose their legal right to stay in the country. This news came as a shock to students from MIT and Harvard, whose plans were to keep their attendees safe and shift to online learning.

To prevent students from having visa issues, universities decided to introduce a hybrid model. According to them, they will have a limited university experience. That means certain classes will be attended in person. It is hard to predict whether this model will be successful. Time will tell.

Gap Year

Those who oppose such confusing learning models tend to turn 2021 into a gap year. Of course, such years are usually planned ahead so that students have the best experience they can afford. However, since countries are slowly opening their borders, it can really become a nice opportunity to wait until coronavirus is taken under control.

The question is when it will happen and whether its containment will make things come around. It is possible that the changes we are going through right now are irreversible. Education will never be the same as it was. The hope is that it will evolve into something more efficient than we have now.

Final Words

It is hard to predict what the future of education will be and how such major shifts in a short time can affect the learning outcomes of students. However, what was done is correct in terms of crisis management and risk mitigation. What’s more, students managed to finish the 2020 academic year with no delay.

Educational institutions all over the world have done everything to keep students occupied with their studies. Moreover, they continue planning lesson plans having in mind the threat of the disease. Of course, distance education and online learning will require some transition period. Yet, this is the only way to keep going while staying healthy and safe.

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