By DeVry University
3 min read
Movies and TV shows often portray college life as parties punctuated by spurts of studying. But today’s reality looks very different for many students. In fact, more than half of all college students are working students.
Meeting responsibilities at work, attending classes, studying and completing projects can put students in a serious time crunch. So, how are colleges helping students balance work and school?
1. Technology and Flexibility for the Win
Adopting new, innovative technologies not only helps students manage their time; it also changes the way they learn and what they may be looking for in a school. A 2017 study conducted by Ellucian, a software and digital service provider, reveals that today’s students are drawn to schools that offer the technology students want. The results also reveal that most students believe technology is crucial for their success in and out of the classroom. That’s even more true for working students trying to balance demands on their time while using key innovations ranging from online learning to connected classrooms and stackable credentials.
2. Online Learning
Experts estimate that 5 million U.S. students will enroll in online higher education by 2020. Many schools are adopting a rotation of online and hybrid courses. Stanford University is a prime example. The school, along with its online partner Khan Academy, debuted blended-learning biochemistry courses that allowed students to watch lectures online and spend their time in class solving problems and interacting with professors.
Whether they sign up for a completely online or blended course, the flexibility of this learning model lets students juggle responsibilities by fitting education into their free time. Students can watch lectures, attend online discussions, and submit homework while they’re commuting, taking a lunch break or relaxing on the couch.
3. Connected Classrooms
In addition to offering online classes, many schools are creating connected classrooms that allow students to take their learning experiences to new levels. This technology enables live collaborations, group project participation and virtual interactions from anywhere across the country in real time. These classrooms allow students to:
- Take part in more courses in a variety of locations
- Hear and participate in discussions and activities in other connected classrooms
- Share data on interactive whiteboards that bring information to life
- Review information using wireless content sharing, which lets students and professors send images and documents from their own devices to display screens
- Access recordings of classes
4. Stackable Credentials
When it comes to flexibility, the trend of stackable credentials reigns supreme. Whereas a 4-year degree used to be enough to carry many workers to retirement, today’s professionals are engaged in lifelong learning to keep up with the newest, most in-demand skills in their fields. These less-traditional educational experiences allow students to build a competency-based education instead of the traditional model based on credit hours completed.
Much like video streaming changed the television and movie industries, or the way e-books changed the landscape for publishing, technology is disrupting higher education, with colleges and universities increasingly adopting new technologies that make it easier for working students to juggle responsibilities.