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Going Back To College During the Pandemic

College students have returned to their educational pursuits. The fall semester has begun in earnest.

The major difference between the 2019-20 academic year and the current one is both straightforward and transformational: Students, educators, administrators and staff must all contend with the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak as the epidemic continues to lead to outbreaks and closures of in-person learning across the U.S.

Understanding the different approaches taken by schools as they reopen and continue to operate is vital for edtech companies that include or focus on higher education. Let’s look at the current situation, and how careful recognition of various learning models can help your business more effectively raise awareness of its offerings among prospects and past customers.

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Colleges have used a wide variety of reopening approaches in response to COVID-19.

Models for reopening: Many approaches with no clear-cut leader

The Chronicle of Higher Education has maintained a detailed breakdown of the different learning approaches used by colleges and universities across the country as COVID-19 continues to impact how and where students learn and complete academic requirements. Overall, there are some clear takeaways to keep in mind. Primarily online learning is the dominant model overall. However, with 34% of colleges using this approach, it’s far from the only strategy employed by educators and administrators.

Close behind are primarily in-person learning, at 23%, and a more balanced hybrid model, at 21%. Fully in-person learning isn’t nearly as common, but is still prevalent enough to appear as a sliver in The Chronicle’s pie chart, and the fully online approach has been embraced by roughly 1 out of every 10 colleges and universities.

The most important takeaway from this information may be that there is no single, broadly agreed upon approach decided upon in the world of higher education. And with all of the variations between how schools operate — from community colleges that simply don’t have an on-campus student population to traditional universities situated in the middle of densely populated urban areas — it’s not particularly surprising. And that’s far from the only factor to consider. Everything the relative severity of COVID-19 infections in a given area to decision-makers’ research efforts and strategy for reaching a final choice can have an impact.

Edtech companies should understand that a variety of factors play into each school’s decisions about how to provide instruction. Developing collateral that recognizes the major education formats currently in use at colleges and universities is critical. Marketing and outreach efforts need to acknowledge each school’s individual position and strategy and tie in major benefits of the product or service to that scenario.

It should also be a priority to adapt as colleges and universities change their methods as time goes on. Time magazine detailed a variety of suggestions and realities of operation for institutes of higher learning based on lessons learned so far during the fall 2020 semester. These considerations could influence how schools choose to operate going into the next semester and second half of the standard academic year, so it behooves edtech marketers to stay up to date.

A partner for dependable higher education data

Agile understands that education marketing is a complex process even in normal circumstances. Our higher education market intelligence and course-level data options provide businesses just like yours with a valuable resource to plan, target and execute your marketing campaigns as well as identify prospects and understand the educational options they offer students. To learn more about how your company can leverage our data for a variety of positive effects, get in touch with us today.

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