With some colleges and universities planning to continue online learning into the spring, students are now looking at over a year of learning from home. How will their well-being and academics be affected?
Winter break and the start of next term are fast approaching. At this point, most colleges that have announced their plans for the spring are intending to continue their modality and residence choices from the fall. Many have brought students back to campus but are continuing most instruction online. Others have encouraged students to stay home. For students at colleges that have gone remote, that means they will likely experience over a year of online learning.
Research has shown that remote learning can be as good or better than in-person learning for the students who choose it. But thousands of students will soon be entering their third semester of remote instruction despite having self-selected for an in-person college experience.
With remote learning moving into the long term, experts say the mental, emotional and academic impacts of that shift are likely to be challenging.
Amy Bintliff, a developmental psychologist and professor in the University of California, San Diego’s department of education studies, said that mismatch between expectation and reality can be difficult for students. Part of that is because important milestones, like graduation, can’t happen the way they were envisioned. Traditional-age students may struggle uniquely with the loss of certain coming-of-age experiences.