College education laid bare during the coronavirus crisis

College education disruption in the US is exposing the inner workings of the universities. The universities are now being asked to explain how they justify their fees as they transition to virtual learning.

Education has been disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic in the majority of the countries that have recorded cases. Many schools are still struggling to respond to this crisis with the majority moving their classes online. This has been more evident in the US College education system.

Universities such as Harvard have already closed their doors and advised their students to leave campus residence. This was followed by directives to continue with their education online and many universities have indicated that they will use online learning to grade students. How this will be done still remains an open issue, but universities have mobilized their resources and are now transitioning to virtual learning.

College education dilemma

The move has opened a pandora box on the business models these universities operate. The questions lingering on a lot of students mind was if the education would be subsidized, how the quality of online learning would differ from in-person learning, how to track the grading and avoid cheating during grading among other issues.

As the crisis deepens, it is now becoming evident what the university’s plans are. One major issue is student fees. The majority of universities who have moved to virtual learning during this crisis have indicated that they will not be reducing their fees. While some have moved to reduce the residency fees, others have remained adamant there won’t be any structural changes to fees.

This is now exposing how these universities are able to come up with the fee structures and how they justify them. The reality is, virtual college education during this crisis will require fewer resources than otherwise, what it would cost during on-campus studies.

Complaints on universities policies

This has led to some students complaining and speaking against the move to move classes online. Students took to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the model with one Barnard student quoted as saying in a tweet “watching the entire ivy league slowly turn into the university of phoenix”

Transitioning to virtual learning

There were also questions about whether virtual education could replace the lecture halls. If this is true, then why even bother going to universities when you can study in the comfort of your living room. The universities may not have anticipated the backlash nor how it would expose the inner workings of the universities.

However, during this crisis, virtual learning remains the only viable option for students to continue their education. There are pros and cons of this system and as the schools and students adapt, a compromised solution on tuition fees, grading, and quality of education will be reached.


Featured image by Pexel.