3 Ways Universities Can Thrive Post-Pandemic In Spite Of Post-Covid Backlash

Iustin Ghergu
6 min readDec 25, 2022

The covid-19 pandemic had brought a tide of events that we never-before seen in our lifetimes (and even longer than that). Countries were taken by surprise all over the world and it was difficult to foresee the future, even in terms of weeks or days.

So we can safely say that things have been chaotic for the last years all around the planet. The pandemic seems to be over, and the world is still turning. But not without huge changes.

One of the biggest marks that covid has left on the workplace is the introduction (or mass-adoption) of remote working. Many organisations have been dedicated to a physical workplace. It’s how people have always been doing things. Now, it has been demonstrated that there is another way, which is an economical game-changer for people who simply cannot commute or relocate.

Universities have traditionally used classrooms and offices. The global pandemic has left its mark on remote working and also on remote academic studies. We will explore in this article some of the options that universities have in order to accommodate students and to keep things going forward.

Not all tips here apply to all universities, as they have diverse specialties which imply different ways of doing things, but some you might find useful.

Solution #1 — Upload Your Courses Online

Stanford University has been one of the first academic institutions to move its courses online. On their website they state: “Learn 100% online Access content on your computer, phone, or tablet anywhere with an internet connection.”

Other Universities have followed suit, such as Harvard University, University of California, Georgia Institute of Technology, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, University College London and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). If these big names have switched to remote learning and teaching, it clearly marks the beginning of a new era. The era of online education.

People have been using online resources for a long time now, and the pandemic only accelerated the adoption of it.

What you can do as a University is run an experiment and have some courses recorded and put online. There are platforms like Teachable that content creators are using to educate their audience in domains such as programming, IT, etc. Maybe using and external platform isn’t the best option for you, and you would rather host the content on your own site (this is the recommended path for an academic institution which can handle this task and has the personnel to facilitate this)

We are living in times where everything is “made digital”. Academic education needs to jump in the boat so that it doesn’t get left behind.

Solution #2 — Specialise On a Focused Targeted Audience.

The idea is to niche down and cater to a specific demographic. Spreading yourself thin will only gain superficial consumers. What you want is to have a deep impact and a lasting effect on students. Universities must also embrace openness by sharing resources and collaborating with competitors, building ecosystems rather than sets of transactions.

The software industry does this very effectively by sharing projects and allowing collaboration between developers. Github is the best example. It is a huge repository of projects and knowledge on which people work, study and contribute openly.

So how should institutions respond? They must place greater focus on their purpose and who they intend to serve. Moving away from institutional standings and focusing on their public role will build a more sustainable position.

The gist of it is to choose your domain, be it Law, IT, Biomedical, etc. And cater to that audience. Create educational material (content) for your students and even for the public, as this will attract more people to apply to your courses. The basis of it is the trust you transmit when you can prove to your target audience that you are a reliable source of knowledge and education (and links to the industry) that will be able to guide your students and nurture their skills. This is the whole point of Universities: shaping people into skilled professionals.

Solution #3 — Exploit Digital Technologies to Reframe Interactions and Experiences.

While the pandemic has tested universities, it also provides a compelling mandate for change. It’s offered a glimpse of how universities can respond to disruptive forces and discover untapped capacities for rapid and radical transformation. This means that the drawbacks that the pandemic brought also came with new tools for us to use in the digital age. It is up to us to implement them and make the most of them. Universities adapted with extraordinary agility and innovation to the need for more online teaching, socially distanced campuses and remote working; while also responding to rapidly shifting Government requirements In just weeks or even days, early adopters have made their move and had a body of work already uploaded on the internet, backed by marketing strategies to propel this new business model forward.

Every UK university now depends on its ability to compete for students, research contracts and academic services for income. This has come as a result of the end of most grant funding, replaced by state-controlled tuition fees and competitive research awards.

The “old limitations” can be surpassed by making education more interactive. Everybody can connect to University resources from their phones, tablets or computers. It’s just a matter of which University provides the more value and puts it in front of the prospect student.

Video calls, live lectures, online exams, course-based forums, etc. With the technological advancements present in our day and age, the sky is the limit. As long as Universities can shape a roadmap for the students, in order to track their progress and make it easy for them to keep on track and succeed, students will keep using their resources, recommend them to others, and even contribute themselves.

We have to be able to view the academic institution as an ecosystem of educational facilities and resources. Just like we view Apple as an ecosystem for consumer devices and content.

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, many UK universities were already grappling with economic, competitive and regulatory challenges, but Covid has accelerated the dawn of the digital era for universities.

The whole reason why universities are not as prolific as they have traditionally been is because of the recent development in technology which changed the way we, as people, consume and process information.

Not to worry!

This doesn’t mean it’s the end for academic teaching, and that everybody will learn what piques their interest or what they need in a train commute, from Youtube. It just means that there is an untapped capacity for change that is waiting to be made use of for the benefit of the students.

If universities can sustain this type of innovation and mindset, they can address higher education’s current vulnerabilities and overcome the ‘old normal’ limitations.

This research paper from PA Consulting has exemplified a couple of ways that universities can differentiate themselves:

How will 2023 look?

It’s difficult to make any predictions, given what a rollercoaster ride the past 3 years have been.

But one thing is for sure. The world is changing at breakneck speed every year.

And every draw back has forced the global community to cater and contribute with new solutions (most of them being digital solutions or eco-friendly breakthroughs) which makes the world a better place. But the changes are harsh and unpredictable.

So the best thing that any organisation can do is to stay on top of news, not be put down by the pessimism and fear that is prevalent on almost all news channels and tinker with the new technologies so that they won’t be lagging behind when something (like Zoom video calls and remote working) becomes ubiquitous.

Originally published on www.TheJobLobby.com



Iustin Ghergu

Web Dev, Business, Training Facilities, Community 🤖⚡