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Did you hear about the 'online now, on-campus later' model?
Roshna Mohan

Roshna Mohan is a Content Writer at Hotcourses India - an IDP company. A post-graduate in Biotechnology, she chose content writing as her career out of sheer interest. Reading and cooking are her stress-busters. Talk about these to take the introvert out of the ambivert. Her all-time favourite authors are Paulo Coelho, Yuval Noah Harari and Robin Cook.

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30 Jul 2020 Book icon 4 mins Share

Did you hear about the 'online now, on-campus later' model?

The new learning model offered by many institutions is giving hope to thousands of students with study abroad plans. It is a safer way to ensure uninterrupted learning.

30 Jul 2020 Book icon 4 mins Share
Did you hear about the 'online now, on-campus later' model?

The pandemic has disrupted the ways of the world, but we are slowly learning to work around it. It has affected all spheres of life and the higher education sector was not spared. However, they are coming up with new methods or improvising on already existing techniques and technology to ensure an uninterrupted academic experience for students. While some universities are determined to open their gates for on-campus learning by as early as next semester, some others have decided that the best way to go in the interim is online. There are a few other who are deliberating. One of the most common approaches chosen by the majority of the universities is the 'online now, on-campus later' model. Let’s find out the details.

What is the ‘online now, on-campus later’ model?

The prospect of studying abroad or even attending college at all in your own country might seem uncertain at the moment. But what if you are offered an opportunity to start your studies online and move to on-campus learning as soon as the situations are favourable? That way, your studies won’t be interrupted, and you still have the chance to study on campus.

 As per the recent survey by IDP, international students are hopeful about commencing their studies as planned. 77% of them are willing to quarantine if it means starting on-campus classes sooner. More and more students are warming up to the idea of starting their studies online and transitioning to the on-campus learning later.

 How is the new model different from online learning and hybrid learning?

 Hybrid learning combines a live classroom with remote learners and online activities. Some students attend the classes on campus, while others attend the class remotely. The ambience is different in that the lecturer is facing an actual class while conducting the sessions and is not facing a computer. This method greatly extends the reach of training.

The online learning model involves the delivery of the programme exclusively online. There is no physical presence on the campus. This should limit the interaction of students and their possible exposure to the virus. All lectures happen online, but some universities like the University of Cambridge might allow limited on-campus activities under strict conditions. It might feel like distance learning for many. There is a very limited possibility of universities promptly going back to traditional learning methods even if situations become favourable earlier than expected.

 So what is the ‘Online now, on-campus later’ model? This model imbibes a bit of both the traditional and online methods. It will begin as exclusive online learning with lectures happening online, supported by learning resources and materials made available online. Virtual events are also arranged to enhance the experience. Once the universities are ready to transition to face-to-face learning, you can join the class on campus. This would mean that the institution is ready either way; be it handling online classes or making a quick transition to on-campus learning later. 

Which are some of the institutions that have accepted the new model?

La Trobe University in Australia has decided to go by this model and begin their classes online. They will be covering the same course content as they would do on-campus. Students will be given access to online resources and the learning materials will be made available online. They also have a library website for students to access if they would like to refer to journals and research papers. 

 La Trobe believes that online learning will prepare students for on-campus learning and upskill them. They are also focusing on bonding activities like virtual movie nights so that students get to know their peers and build a network of friends by the time they transition to on-campus classes. Enough focus will be given to healthcare facilities too before the transition happens. Careful thought is given to the efficiency of online learning and hence the availability of some subjects will be adjusted accordingly. The opportunities for work-integrated learning might also be limited, however, La Trobe is sure that they can provide an excellent learning experience for students. Understandably, it is not clear as to when the transition to on-campus learning will take place.

 St George's, University of London urges students to stay at home and study online for now and join the campus once face to face learning resumes. The University of Westminster and the University of Exeter in the UK, Dublin City University in Ireland, Victoria University in Australia and University of Alberta in Canada are some of the universities that have one or more courses that starts online. Face to face lectures will follow later.

What are the benefits of this model?

The primary benefit would be that it ensures an uninterrupted academic experience for students and the opportunity to start their programmes in the 2020 academic year. 

It is also expected that the institutions will be able to make a quicker transition to face-to-face learning when it is safe to do so.

The model is of immense value to international students whose aim is not just to study their favourite course, but also to gain the experience of studying in a foreign land. ‘Online now, on-campus later’ would mean that there is a higher chance of experiencing the campus for real.

The course structure and such will be tweaked, keeping in mind the prospect of resuming on-campus learning down the line.

How can we help you?

Considering the opportunities that it offers, you might want to check whether your prospective university follows this model of learning. Why don’t you check out our university pages that give you explicit information on the university and the courses that follow this model? You can also try out our Course Matcher tool that will help you find the best matching university. 

Times are changing, and we are finding ways to catch up. This model might just be the right way to make the best out of it while also remaining hopeful for the future.

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