Like the Post-Pandemic Office, the Future of the College Classroom is Hybrid

Employees who transitioned from working in an office to working from home are not the only group questioning the value of returning to the way things were pre-pandemic. Like many office employees who would value the option to work from anywhere, college and university students want to continue to access campus computers, workstations, and software from home, dormitory room, and other “remote” locations, a recent Splashtop survey found.

Among five hundred North American and European students surveyed:

  • Nearly all (ninety-two percent) expect their colleges and universities to offer remote access to on-campus computers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
  • A wide majority (eighty-three percent) believe that a hybrid model—a mix of in-person and online learning—should be the future of learning in higher education.

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“It’s natural for students and workers—who are now accustomed to accessing computing tools from anywhere—to embrace the flexibility that remote access offers,” said Mark Lee, CEO of Splashtop, a next-generation remote access and remote support company. “As difficult as many aspects of COVID life have been, students told us they have appreciated not needing to be physically on campus to use college computer labs, and that they prefer to choose when and how they complete their work on their own schedules.”

Survey Maps to Market Trends

The Splashtop research results closely track to studies done on the post-pandemic office. For example, Gartner has found that eighty-two percent of the business managers it surveyed intend to implement a hybrid workplace. Although prior to COVID, telecommuting employees were a familiar aspect of working life, workers now expect even more flexibility than many companies offered pre-pandemic.

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While there certainly have been some well-publicized inroads into distance learning, the enormous change that COVID has brought to college study is seen by some as long overdue. According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, higher-education institutions historically have spent less than five percent of their operating budgets on IT.  New demands, such as accommodating hybrid learning, are now driving IT to reevaluate both spending and the tools needed to support this new environment.

Remote is Here to Stay

When the 2020 COVID quarantines forced institutions to close their doors, most colleges and universities were unprepared to provide students and faculty with remote access to campus-based computers and software. However, many schools pivoted, leveraging tools such as Splashtop, and provided online remote access to computer resources.

According to Lee, many places of higher learning are planning to continue to offer a remote alternative to in-person learning, even as COVID risks abate. “Not only are students demanding the flexibility offered by remote tools, but schools are finding that providing remote access can decrease the inequity that can happen if students are only able to work at certain hours or only on-site. Remote access gives students the choice to work during times that are convenient for them.”

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