Preparing for the Future of Higher Education: Adapting in Challenging Times
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities worldwide have been forced to transition to all-online teaching, and while some researchers are reporting that this will decrease college students’ desire to continue programs in an online learning environment, a large majority are reporting the opposite (Lederman, 2020). Already universities today are seeing a declining enrollment across most programs. For the spring 2019 term, nearly 300,000 fewer college students enrolled in the US than in the spring 2018 term. Likewise, for the fall 2018 semester enrollments decreased by 1.7 percent (Johnson, 2019). Sutton (2020) also reports that community colleges across the US see a decline in enrollment. Could this be a result of today’s generation of students’ dire need for the online learning platform? If so, it is paramount that instructors of higher education know how to promote community in their online learning environments similar to what is provided in the traditional face-to-face model. Due to the evolution of technology today, instructors are easily able to promote instructor-to-student and peer-to-peer interactions in online courses (Lederman, 2020). This article will discuss how two university supervisors modified a traditional face-to-face senior seminar course to a virtual learning platform. In this course seniors are teaching full-time to complete their internship requirements and completing their Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA). Therefore, consistent communication and support were vital to overall student success in this course.