Coronavirus has forced many aspects of our lives online. Schools and unis having to adapt to distanced learning with the prospect of continued teaching via online platforms and the increase in students enrolling onto online courses. School closure has been in place since March now and it’s looking increasingly likely to persist through summer and potentially into the autumn term. Preparing for distance learning is important for both teachers and students.
Of course, we must remain optimistic and currently, schools and universities are indeed confident that by September and October, it’ll be largely business as usual. However, planning is crucial here and universities and schools are adapting fast to new learning landscapes whilst preparing for longer-term distance learning options.
What Have Universities Done Already?
Universities and schools have been in the process of moving their learning and resources online. This has been a huge infrastructural task for universities in particular that have had to adapt to online teaching even on courses that are heavily reliant on in-person learning.
Assessments and exams have changed, some will be scrapped completely whereas others will be rescheduled or taken online. Lectures and seminars are going ahead using DIY methods ranging from Zoom conference calls to Google Classrooms. Some methods are working better than others – it’s pretty tricky for all when the tutor is crackling and freezing up as you’re trying to take notes from your bed whilst eating crisps and playing PS4 at the same time.
Jokes aside, distance learning is becoming a serious path forward through the madness. It’s enabling life to go in in the world of education and if coronavirus persists or resurges, it’s going to become increasingly useful and necessary. It’s best to try and get used to it now, just in case.
Will Uni Start in Autumn?
Given that summer will be a crucial time for coronavirus as restrictions are slackened and people are allowed out more, there’s no telling what could happen. It’s currently impossible to say whether or not uni will go ahead as normal, whether courses will be taught initially via distance learning or whether the entire year will be restructured. We all hope so and as it stands, universities and schools are increasingly confident that life will be resuming to a degree of normality by the start of the autumn term. However, provisions are being made in case lockdowns persist and delays to course start dates become necessary.
A major part of this for students is their exam results. A-Levels are cancelled and this means students will be receiving grades calculated by their teachers based on performance in coursework, homework and mock exams. Grades will be published in August and then students will have a relatively small amount of time to work out whether they’ll need to appeal grades or resit to get their first-choice options. Resits will occur in autumn or summer 2021. Resits taken in autumn should enable students to get into uni courses for late entry in January and unis are being encouraged to offer this as much as possible – but always check first.
Will My Education be Affected?
No. No one is going to lose out on their education because of coronavirus. Exams can be resit in the worst-case scenario and universities are being encouraged to be generous and flexible. It’s in their best interests to attract students anyway, so it’s likely that tolerance will be extended to those who missed out on grade targets by slim margins.
Whilst you study, if your course is disrupted by coronavirus and you have to self-isolate or government restrictions come into force once more, universities have the responsibility of adapting and helping you overcome adversity without compromising your education.
Can I Switch to Distance Learning?
Some might be wondering whether distance learning is a better option. You might be worried or anxious about university whilst coronavirus is still a threat and that’s fair enough. Those in high-risk categories may also be sceptical about whether or not uni is safe enough for them at the current time.
Distance learning is growing in popularity and if you feel this way, you’re one of thousands. Unis are increasing their capacity to take on greater numbers of students for distance learning courses. You can study courses with unis up and down the country, with the Open University or on any number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and short causes offered by distance learning specialists and any number of international businesses and organisations.