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Pandemic Impact on Education Pt. 3: higher ed



MINOT, N.D. – College level students are typically more independent and mature, making the shift to remote learning not as drastic as it has been seen in K-12 education, but that does not mean it has not had an impact.

Grace Kraemer visited Minot State University and Dakota College at Bottineau to find out how college students’ education has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

College students are no strangers to online classes, however when the pandemic shifted many classes to the web, some students like Samantha Ostrowski had to adjust.

“My Tuesday night lecture is online, it’s so easy for me to get distracted by wanting to wash the dishes or do something in the house. Where I can understand if you do not have the drive you can totally lose concentration easily,” said Samantha Ostrowski, a sophomore at MSU.

She said having a strong sense of motivation can help.

“I want to get this class done, I want a good grade, so I need to login on time,” said Ostrowski.

However, for some, the shift to online learning did not as come easy.

“We probably had a higher percentage of incompletes as final grades at the end of the semester,” said Larry Brooks, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Academics at DCB.

Add to that, some subjects are just difficult in general to learn on your own.

“Math has its own fears that are built into it for some students. And having a person actually there to talk to and to ask questions, really can make a difference in being able to be successful,” said Cheryl Nilsen, a math professor at MSU.

Remote study also raises the issue of how they take tests.

“There is an issue about being able to monitor students as they take an exam. We really had to go on an honor system in some ways to assume that students were really doing their own work and that what they turned in was really representative of what they knew,” said Nilsen.

With COVID-19 cases trending down and restrictions lifting, university staff and students are hopeful that the upcoming school year will be better.

“I see a return to normal this semester. I really do. and students even if they had to go in isolation or quarantine or we had to shut down, they are now familiar with the technology and I don’t think they would have any problems,” said Brooks.

Remaining hopeful that education even in a time of crisis can persevere.

Minot State University and Dakota College at Bottineau both offer hybrid classes for their students. More students have headed back to the classroom for the spring semester and are expected to in the Fall 2021 semester.