Pandemic of Covid-19 influences many aspects of education. One of the aspects is the descent of students who register in university and diploma. According to Molly Ott, Associate Professor from Arizona State University, the descent is 1.4 % for state universities and 2% for private (non-profit) universities. While the descent of new students number in diploma is 9.4% for this academic year. However, it’s startling that the number of new students register in for-profit universities in US increased up to 3%.
For-profit university is a university which is built with profit orientation. Usually, the course design in this kind of university is made more flexible and online. Hence, it can reach learners from various places including remote area. This flexibility is the main reason from students to choose for-profit university. In this pandemic even the number of students register in for-profit university increased. It is because taking full face-to-face course in this pandemic era has much risk. So, choosing online course is the most appropriate decision to be done.
Choosing online course in for-profit university is also reasonable. It is because this kind of universities have been accustomed to do online course and reaching students in various places including remote area. So for-profit university is considered more ready with the program and all system. Besides, it can reach students in various places so they can stay at home and learn flexibly. Therefore, the risk of Covid-19 will be smaller and they need smaller cost without housing cost. They do not need to pay for Covid-19 prevention program. It caused the increasing of the number of students register in for-profit universities in US during pandemic of Covid-19.
Basically, in this pandemic era, the number of students register is also increased in public and private non-profit universities that have online course program in US. Since the beginning of 2000, some universities in US conducted online course to fulfil the need of some people circle. It runs well together with face to face course program.
Online course program will always have good prospect with or without the pandemic. It is because nowadays “online” is such a trend for near all people in the world. Many of them do everything online, such as going shopping, financial transaction, and even studying online. University can take this opportunity to facilitate those who are more interested in and need online courses since the benefit will be for the university as well. One of the benefit is the increasing of institution income.
Why is Online Learning Attractive?
Basically online learning is attractive because of its superiority as being discussed in Illinois education website. It gives more chance to the students to be more flexible in learning and develop their skill, hobby, and career.
Hobby and Career Advancement
Hobby is something that someone likes. Sometimes people cannot leave their hobby. However, many of university students stop their hobby because of being busy with their courses. In other hand, sometimes, people decide not to continue their study because they need to work and do not want to lost their career. By having courses in universities they will be difficult to work. Well, for these cases, online course will be the most recommended solution as it gives more flexibility to the students. It enables students to take course without stopping their career advancement. It also means that the students do not need to leave their hobby. A survey conducted by The Learning House showed that 44% of online courses students can advance their career and they can have jobs easier during 12 months after the graduation. Besides, 45% of them get salary improvement.
Flexible Learning Environment
By having online lecturing, it means that students choose a learning environment which suitable with their need. They can learn in bed room, café, and even in the gym without spending time to move from one class to the other classes. They do not need to drive or having public transportation from their house to the campus.
Online classes needs lower cost than the full face to face class. This is because students do not need to use many campus facilities, housing and transportation cost.
Develop Students’ Self Discipline and Responsibility
In doing online courses, students must have internal motivation and time management because no one will focus to remind them about the deadline. By having internal motivation and good time management skill they will be accustomed to be responsible and discipline to accomplish all assignments, assessment, and another deadline. It indicates that students will not only get academic learning in online classes, but also train themselves to have self discipline and responsibility. Both are very valuable for their career.
Management of Online Learning in Universities
Back to the fact that universities in US which conduct online courses get higher number of students register, so, how does US universities manage the online learning program? Well, at least there are 3 prominent things they do in managing this program such as:
- Leaders and learning designer make firm regulation and conprehensive presentation of learning program that they conduct. Everyone who are involved in this program should feel own it to make them work properly. Besides, the leader and learning designer must give assistance and supervising to make sure that everything runs on track.
- Some universities or institutions devide their institution which each focuses on conducting face to face courses and online courses. It makes the institution be able to give optimal services to the students. Beside all about learning activities, another students’ services such as registration, choosing material of courses, etc. are done online by using artificial intelligence system. Therefore, data collecting and administration be easier and efficient.
- Campuses in US also do collaborative approach in managing online courses. In this approach, there is special institution that focus on conducting online learning in campus. However, the institutions that basically work on face to face learning also help to conduct the online learning program by preparing lecturing materials and another stuffs needed in online learning program. Institution income from online learning in some universities in US is found higher than the face to face learning because the students more interesred in online learning program. According to Indiana University, the income of online learning increases up to 40%-60%. The income can be also given to the face to face learning institution that have helped the process of online learning program. Hence, there is no more anxiety of lectures to loose their jobs although online learning has been implemented by using sophisticated technology.
For some universities that are preparing online learning program, it would be better to considers some key takeaway such as:
All leaders, lectures, and students should have equal comprehension about “why” the online learning program should be conducted. Hence, the agreement will be reached. The lectures should also possess sense of belonging and belief that online learning will improve the quality of teaching and learning process and not in vise versa. It will motivate them to contribute their role and capability optimally. Besides, the leaders and lerning designer should also do continuous assistance to make sure all aspects of the program run well and the technical or non-technical problems can be solved well.
The infrastructure which functions to support online learning program are wireless networking, hardware and software which will ease lecturers to prepare learning materials. Besides, the most important thing to prepare is the aplication or platform of online learning to conduct all process of online learning and functions as the classroom as well. There are so many online learning platforms. However, the institutions should make sure that they choose a platform which meets their needs and easy to be used by all users.
Up to date learning methods
Online learning activities should be designed based on present students interest. The method can be in form of live event where students and lecturer learn in a live virtual class, self-paced learning by giving opportunities for students to do self-learning flexibly using various learning material and resources such as videos, animations, images, audio, etc., and students collaboration which is designed to construct students cognitive and skill through social interaction by using problem-solved, project-based learning, etc.
Besides, the concept of assessment should also designed well to measure students’ achievement. It can be in form of test or non-test or authentic test such as portfolio. The assessment should give students flexibility to accomplish it.
Profit and non-profit universities that conduct online learning program get higher numbers of students register during Covid-19 pandemic. Infact, online learning is the thing which be something attractive for the students. This kind of method is the most appropriate program to be choosen in this pandemic situation. Besides, online learning also has some superiority such as giving students opportunity to advance their career and hobby, having flexible learning environment, lower tuition fee, and a facility to practice self-discipline and responsibilities for their preparation in work life.
High interest toward online learning program for college students is also caused by the management of the program it self. In managing the onlines courses, at least there are three prominent things which are done by the campuses in US, they are leaders and learning designer assistance, having different institutions where each focuses on face to face and online learning program, and implementing collaborative approach where the face to face institutions involve in online courses process so they get the profit as well. Therefore, there are 3 things as key takeaway for the institutions that will conduct online learning program, they are agreement and equal comprehension toward online learning, infrastructure especially online learning platform, and up to date learning method or design.