Dina Swearngin Discusses the Questionable Future of Higher Education Due to COVID-19

Dina Swearngin

November 4, 2020

Universities are undoubtedly changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. These are institutions in which students study and live within close proximity to one another. The culture is one in which social interaction is typically encouraged. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way universities operate for the meantime, and many believe they may be changed forever. Dina Swearngin recently discussed the impacts of the pandemic on higher education.

“Education officials have probably had their most difficult year yet,” Dina Swearngin said. “Universities have been forced to close their doors at times and adopt entirely new practices.”

Dina Swearngin explained that classes have been canceled, enrollment has dropped, and students are now studying from computers in their dorm rooms. She added that all of these short-term actions could result in long-term changes for universities. 

“Many students are realizing that they can study online from the comfort of home,” Dina Swearngin said. “They don’t necessarily need to be on campus to achieve the education their seeking.”

Dina Swearngin explained that this could bring about a mixture of positives and negatives for the higher education sector. Students may find more convenience and affordability in studying from home, but they may also miss out on the mentorship and peer-to-peer interactions that drive much of the college experience. 

“Many colleges already integrate some kind of online learning, but moving all courses online could take away from the overall experience,” Dina Swearngin said. “Many of the benefits of attending a university come from person-to-person interactions.”

Dina Swearngin added that, for now, many universities may choose to operate partially or entirely online. However, she expects colleges will return to in-person or partially in-person lectures when the pandemic fades. Dina Swearngin added that students currently residing at universities will have to understand and practice coronavirus safety measures to ensure a positive college experience.

Dina Swearngin stated that there is a fear in the higher education sector that in-person lectures will not return after the coronavirus pandemic. They may be pushed aside for the convenience of online learning. However, Dina Swearngin remains confident that the importance of peer-to-peer and professor-to-peer interactions are so integral to the college experience that they will return after the pandemic has passed.

“A lot of people are speculating that colleges will now go entirely online,” Dina Swearngin said. “But those of us in the industry understand the importance of person-to-person interactions in the college environment, and while we may see more students opt for online learning, we don’t see the university setting as we know it dying anytime soon.”