Education is changing radically. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant shift in the way students, faculty, and staff interacted, and exacerbated trends that were already gaining momentum. With the transition to remote work and distance learning, and rising expectations for streamlined processes, institutions have had to find new ways to engage students, and reach them where they are, in the moments that matter most.
While the pandemic prompted the need for a rapid switch to remote learning, it also required faculty and students to adapt to new ways of teaching and consuming information. Beyond the classroom, the pandemic also ushered in the need for student system modernization, bringing opportunities for tighter integration between the HR and finance systems and more self-service functionality for students.
Creating a student experience that engages students while they are off campus is a challenge for many institutions that typically relied on the on-campus experience. Students spend a lot of time on their mobile devices, and many are juggling competing obligations that make going to school more challenging. Legacy systems make it harder to share information, bottleneck processes, and contribute to a poor student experience.
Flexibility for students, faculty and staff is another element of the new student experience after COVID-19. Students have an increased ability to enjoy flexible learning, including access to lectures and course material, which further supports learning, inside and outside the classroom. By encouraging flexible learning, students have a more tailored learning experience.
This flexibility extends beyond the classroom, especially as faculty and staff look to move away from paper-based processes and toward cloud-based solutions. A modern student system can make it easier for students to communicate whether they are on or off campus, register for classes or make changes, access or pay tuition bills, and navigate their education journey. Eliminating paper-based processes that created barriers and inefficiencies for students, faculty and staff can improve satisfaction and engagement.
Student systems can also help in making easier transitions as students move from remote learning back to campus. The transition to COVID-19 learning protocols moved students and faculty to become more familiar with technology, leveraging it for every aspect of the student experience. Students and faculty have the opportunity to maintain or improve interactivity and engagement by leveraging technology to create a memorable student experience.
As institutions face the upcoming school year and reimagine the student experience, institutions should consider how to reach students, faculty, and staff as they establish the next normal.