If there’s one flaw that the onset of COVID-19 has exposed in traditional educational institutions, it’s their inability to adapt fast enough to survive and thrive during a global emergency. With most campuses across the nation shut down due to the virus, future-proofing your institution’s systems and processes are now more important than ever.
How has COVID-19 impacted schools and campuses?
Schools worldwide have shuttered in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, displacing over 1.5 billion students who would normally get their education in the classroom and/or on campus.
Schools and campuses that don’t have a proper contingency plan can impede student growth and leave them feeling disenfranchised and helpless. Such massive disruptions to an outdated educational system mean that the next generation of students will be lagging behind older generations for years to come. And while online learning has existed since the dawn of the internet, not all schools and campuses have adapted fast enough to withstand the effects of a global pandemic.
What are the benefits of switching to online education?
Improves decision-making based on data
Online learning platforms (sometimes called student information systems, or SIS) excel at collecting vital student data and performance metrics—both real-time and historical records—and outputting them into easy-to-understand reports. Schools and organizations can use this information to pinpoint the effectiveness of instructional strategies, as well as identify what operational tactics they should shift.
If a majority of students at your institution scored below average on a particular test or assignment, for example, an SIS would help you be prepared to provide supplemental learning resources relevant to that assignment to improve future student performance.
Provides targeted student support and instruction
A powerful SIS doesn’t just improve general student performance by optimizing assignments, it can also help you identify specific students who are falling behind their peers and prioritize additional support to them. In this way, an SIS improves individual (as well as general) student performance.
In some schools, resources can be so scarce that unfortunately, it is very difficult to have such a tailored approach to each student. This puts added pressure on hardworking administrators, requiring them to make difficult decisions about the distribution of time and materials to ensure a level playing field for already-disadvantaged students. An SIS would provide the data to let those administrators be confident that they were allocating resources in the best possible way.
For example, if the SIS shows that a group of students who speak English as a second language is struggling in English class, then it makes sense for your school to devote additional personnel to those students to help improve their speaking abilities and graded assignments. School management and student information systems can provide the data to determine which students need your extra support.
Improves communication between students and teachers
As students stuck in their houses learn to balance their home lives and their academics all in one environment, some students may fall behind on their work and become distracted by other pressing matters. As the pressure of online schooling mounts, learning retention drops, and students simply may not be able to keep up.
Engaging in frequent communication with students via texting or phone calls dramatically increases the chances of retaining students. Platforms like Maestro SIS can help alert teachers to check in on students when their last point of contact is overdue or when an assignment has been missed. In addition, the system can automatically send a notification to the student when no login to a learning management system has been detected. Automating some of these communication processes can help prevent students from being left behind or falling between the gaps, as well as take the pressure off of teachers (who, of course, are also making a significant adjustment themselves).
While we’ve covered some of the potential difficulties of online school, it’s clear that there are many benefits of switching to digital education. Decreased overhead, easier accessibility for students and teachers, engaging kids with tools they prefer, and the ability to modernize antiquated systems over time are just some of the perks. With a robust SIS, you can make sure that your institution can keep all the advantages of remote learning, while effectively managing the challenges.
As businesses open back up, schools across the country are weighing the possibility of bringing students back to classrooms. Whether your institution opens this Fall or a little later, the way we educate will never be the same. Even if the present pandemic passes quickly into history, the next one might not be far away. Other unpredictable circumstances could come up that prevent students from attending school in-person. Even if we aren’t immediately faced with another disaster like COVID-19, we will have experienced the benefits of remote instruction. No matter what the future brings, online learning is bound to be a part of it.
What steps will you take to ensure that your institution is prepared for that future?
- Issues within the education system are made worse by COVID-19 and the closure of school campuses.
- Online education with SIS provides an opportunity for more data-based efficiency in instruction.
- Especially for schools with limited resources, that data can help administrators and teachers tactically allocate their resources for need-based remediation.
- Communication between teachers and students can be done through multiple SIS features, and automated messages can make that process easier for both parties.