ONLINE PROGRAM PARTNERSHIPS
campus, there’s no way you’re
going to be able to go online and
charge the same prices
ISSUE #26 | THE PIE REVIEW | 45
“If you’re a residential
Hunter says that responses from students to the shift on-line
have been mixed in the US and the impact could be very
different depending on whether campus lockdowns continue
into the next academic year. Students may begin searching
for other options rather than pay high university fees for
education-by-Zoom and take advantage of switching to
programs that already have well-developed online courses.
“The concern for next fall is, if you’re a residential cam-pus,
there’s no way you’re going to be able to go online and
charge the same prices. That’s what I think they’re really
going to have to wrestle with,” he says.
“Otherwise, these students can go to an institution that of-fers
fully online programs at a much-reduced rate and know
that they can transfer those back into the institution that
they were attending.”
This is likely to become a more viable option too for stu-dents
subject to travel restrictions, with the ability to transfer
credits leaving open the possibility of joining or rejoining
their preferred institution at a later date.
The lockdown may also be lessened gradually, which will
require the adoption of a hybrid model of education. This
could involve students attending lectures on alternate days,
for example, a model that is being considered at secondary
level in some countries and has been used in parts of China.
How courses requiring practical, hands-on experience
could adapt to such restrictions – particularly where
students are not living close to the university – is also
something universities may need to consider. It’s an issue
OPMs have been adapting to for years.
“One example of that would be if you’re running a
graduate program where there is some kind of in-person
practicum like a nursing program like our midwifery program
at Georgetown University. We find a local clinical placement
for the school. And this is done literally all over the place,”
says Chip Paucek, co-founder and CEO of 2U, although due
to restrictions created by accreditation requirements, some
courses such as nursing can’t be offered internationally.
Paucek started the company 2U 12 years ago. With the
catchy company strapline #NoBackRow, today 2U offers
over 400 different types of digital and in-person programs,
including graduate and undergraduate degrees, professional
certificates, short courses and boot camps. It’s had over
200,000 students and recently passed 700,000 live classes.
OPM courses can involve face-to-face workshops or
require students to get hands-on experience or conduct field
research. In many cases, this is something universities could
adapt to for courses requiring practical experience if local
conditions and measures to combat the pandemic allow.
OPM providers say there is more to
online learning than Zoom lectures
expecting to study
on-campus feel they
aren’t getting their
money’s worth with
the switch to online
PHOTO: JULIA M CAMERON / PEXELS