How universities can bolster infrastructure to better support student outcomes—and help their budgets.
GUEST COLUMN | by Nicolo Bates
Student learning loss is at an all-time high, especially for students who rely on on-campus academic support and tutoring. With the Delta variant already causing an uncertain year ahead, universities are only continuing to widen the gap in economic and racial disparities within the educational system by not providing students with the necessary tools to combat learning loss.
University technologies used to facilitate hybrid learning during the pandemic sidestepped key upgrades, doing an extreme disservice to those without reliable internet access and with learning disabilities.
A year and a half in, students are still struggling to adapt to the ‘new normal of education,’ and need a stream of continuous innovation to combat learning loss at the hands of outdated educational systems.
‘…students are still struggling to adapt to the ‘new normal of education,’ and need a stream of continuous innovation to combat learning loss…’
Technology Coinciding with Curriculum
While prioritizing learning and studying is at the discretion of the student, universities must adopt technology that coincides with curriculum and better facilitates student learning outside of the classroom. These outdated, costly, and inefficient academic support infrastructures are only causing delays within administrations, leading to repetitive mistakes and student frustration.
Edtech is aimed to facilitate student learning, but when it cannot accommodate those with disabilities, has a lack of administrative and IT support, and major shortcomings around different course material, it becomes more disruptive than helpful.
A Critical Moment
It is a critical moment for universities to improve academic assistance outside the classroom that can also accommodate expanding online degree programs to ensure students receive the help they need to perform at the best possible level.
Teaching methodologies only have room to grow, supported by Supplemental Instruction (SI), a structured, centralized academic support methodology that’s based on campus and proven to boost student performance and retention.
Data has shown that students who participate in SI increase their grades an average of half to a full letter grade. Universities are rapidly developing their SI programs on campus. This is most likely due to the shift in academic funding by the government towards performance-based funding.
Processes, Partners for Teaching and Technology
By combining both SI and technology, edtech solution providers can amplify many processes of the SI facilitation model, so universities can use software to dramatically cut down on the expenses and create a program making these programs more accessible to lower funded universities.
While major strides have been made in the edtech space within the past year, such as NearPod and 2U, universities must continue to think outside the box with new ways to support student learning in the context of the physical classroom. Teaching methodologies can no longer remain independent of technology and must call for universities to adopt innovative software solutions that deliver impactful data back to academics that can be used to increase student performance.
On the Horizon
With countless edtech SPACs and mergers on the horizon, we are likely to see a boom in technology as companies combine their strengths. There has never been a better or more necessary time for universities to begin adopting innovative strategies to improve accessibility and effectiveness within academia.
I look forward to seeing the new strategic alliances established by public and private organizations in the edtech sector to help elevate the accessibility and effectiveness of education for both students and administrators over the upcoming years.
Nicolo Bates is the CEO and founder of TEDU, an edtech company working with universities to improve student grades, retention rates, graduation rates, internship, and job placement opportunities while providing valuable real-time data analytics to improve curriculum and teaching methodology. Connect through LinkedIn.