A recent survey conducted by NSHSS found that a third of current and prospective college students said they were not interested in attending classes this fall if they were to remain online only.
For most universities and institutions across the globe, college amid coronavirus is heading in that direction. While many colleges have yet to determine the future learning dynamics for the fall semester, the trend toward virtual education has become a popular alternative to in-person classes.
NSHSS set out to learn more about the overarching perspective among students toward e-learning as a substitute for in-person classes. Based on over 2,000 high school and college students who participated in the survey, 32 percent claimed they were not interested in attending online-only courses.
In a conversation with Newsweek, NSHSS President James Lewis shared his perspective of how students will embrace their pursuit of higher learning.
"I think that students will adapt and institutions will get better at delivering the college experience in a virtual way," Lewis told Newsweek. "There are stories of some college-bound students deferring for a semester or gap year, but my sense is that most students will plow ahead."
Additional survey findings discovered that 53 percent of students who said they preferred in-person classes also said they were willing to adjust to online learning. Lewis acknowledged the value of in-person classrooms, as well as the challenges that virtual classes can have, but he also had an optimistic view on the long-term outlook of higher education.
By using a combination of in-person and virtual learning strategies, the rise in virtual education presents colleges and universities with a long-term opportunity to reach more prospective students. "I do think that students will be more willing to consider some combination of in-person and virtual learning in the future. Not every class needs a physical classroom," Lewis added.
Despite nearly a third of students hesitant about their fall semester attendance if classes remain web-based, the survey found that most students are still planning to pursue a college education.
To read more about Lewis's conversation with Newsweek and additional findings from the NSHSS survey, visit Newsweek.com.