COVID 19 has been challenging for us all. Industries across the board are feeling the effects of the global pandemic especially engineering studentsIt has not been an easy year for anyone, and it won’t get better next year. There is going to be a rise in inflation next year because of the virus. It is safe to say that this pandemic has changed how we see and interact with the world. People are distancing themselves from each other and following strict guidelines on how they conduct themselves.
The education sector has also had to go through a severe crisis. Most of the schools got shut down, and once-bustling university campuses look abandoned. Students have to shift all their courses online. Teachers have had to adapt their coursework accordingly. But those disciplines that rely on hands-on training were left to rely on their wits to bridge the gap. One such field is engineering. There are new dilemmas that engineering students must face in today’s world. Let’s consider some of the issues that might cause a problem for engineering students in the future.
THE DILEMMA OF ONLINE LEARNING
As we mentioned previously, engineering degrees often rely on on-campus learning, research, and practical application. In a post corona world, access to labs and on-campus education is quite tricky. Though most universities offer online options, the online module is not up to the level of on-campus learning. Some universities also have a separate faculty for online courses, who aren’t as well-experienced as the permanent faculty. But as the world shifts online, some schools have made great online learning experience their priority. Students will be able to opt for rigorous online engineering programs with the same benefits of on-campus education. The only thing they must do is do the proper research about which universities are not compromising the quality of their online learning experience. Some instructors and teachers are also finding it difficult to adapt to the online experience. Others report zoom fatigue.
THE DILEMMA OF LAB-LESS LEARNING
Most of the work of an engineering student takes place in labs. If you’re a grad student, you’re likely to make leaps and bounds in your research. STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, and Mathematics) students learn by collaborating in on-campus labs. COVID 19 forced these labs to close, leaving students helpless. Some teachers are trying to work their way around lab learning by making these sections more literature heavy. But as they improvise this learning experience, they worry about another important lesson in research. These teachers have to amend the approach and reassure students that it’s okay to falter.
THE DILEMMA OF ACCREDITATION
How do you accredit hands-on programs when they become hands-off programs? It is a difficult question faced by accreditation bodies in the wake of COVID 19. Most accreditation bodies have stated that they will cooperate with universities. ABET has been facilitating universities fully during this difficult time. Accreditation reviews have had to be canceled and shifted to remote reviewing. Students can rest assured that any temporary changes to programs will not affect their degree’s accreditation process.
THE DILEMMA OF CANCELED STUDY TOURS AND CONFERENCES
Many grad students look forward to fellowships and international conferences. These experiences help them get in touch with industry leaders in their fields and open up future avenues for them. Such opportunities are essential to learning new techniques under the guidance of knowledgeable professors and instructors. As with everything else, COVID 19 has thrown a wrench into the works. Students on international fellowships have had to miss great opportunities and move back to their home countries.
THE DILEMMA OF LOSING STUDY SPACE
Most international and national students had to shift back to their homes when the pandemic hit. For students returning to chaotic environments, finding a dedicated study space is a struggle. It was another blow to lose libraries and coffee shops in one go. Students might have more family commitments than usual in this troubled time and leave them with limited time for studying. However, with the world slowly reopening, these students might escape to quieter study environments.
It is no secret that the education sector faced a lot of hurdles in this troubling time. But on the bright side, the pandemic’s response has pointed out the weaknesses in our education sector. The changes made in the education sector in response to COVID 19 will make courses more accessible to nontraditional students. Students with disabilities will also be able to use the material prepared. The pandemic has forced engineers to create new ingenious ways to solve the problems they encounter. Or take away from this that humans are resilient and innovative creatures, no matter the circumstances.