“If you had asked me pre-COVID what student success would look like, I would have had a laundry list—here's our course objectives, here's our department objectives, here's the university objectives that we want to accomplish,” explained Dr. Karen Freberg, Associate Professor in Strategic Communication at the University of Louisville, during a recent webinar we hosted.
“But with COVID, what I've realized, and I'm very grateful for the report that you all have created and launched, because it is along the same lines of what my own students have been saying, is that it's not only about knowing the material and getting experience in understanding their field of study a little bit more. A lot of my students have been asking me how they can apply their learning and bring assignments to life.”
COVID-19 has certainly shifted the way students learn and the way educators teach, but the continuation of this shift has begged the question: How is student success defined?
Together with Kona Jones, Director of Online Learning at Richland Community College, Karen joined a roundtable discussion hosted by Ryan Lufkin, Sr. Director of Higher Education Product Marketing, to discuss the recent findings from our our global benchmark survey on the State of Student Success and Engagement. In the study, over 7,000 current students and administrators in 13 different countries were asked to define student success and identify the driving factors for student engagement.
The discussion was centered around the six leading trends in higher education, while also exploring a common theme in today’s higher education landscape: Students want to know that what they’re learning in the classroom is preparing them for the “real world”—with an emphasis on learning that contributes to both career readiness and holistic development. While technology has certainly enabled the continuation of learning this year, institutions are struggling to transfer real-world, hands-on learning experiences into an online format that’s rigorous enough to prepare students for the job market.
“Many of our career-readiness programs are hands-on programs. For example, health professions: Do you really want a nurse taking your blood that’s only practiced in an online simulation? Our biggest challenge right now is finding a safe way to provide the opportunities for students to have face-to-face interaction when it's needed most so they can go right into these fields they’re passionate about,” shared Kona.
The conversation also explored how these changes, although challenging, are presenting new opportunities for growth as we addressed these top-of-mind questions:
- How can educators support students throughout the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How do we solve the engagement problems that exist with students on both sides of the economic divide?
- What can educators do to ensure student achievement aligns with career readiness in a rapidly evolving economy and world?
Access the on-demand webinar to explore recommended actions for both educators and institutions as they evolve to support student success and continued engagement.