The pandemic has helped both educators and students realize the intangible benefits of on-campus education. Poised against the rising digital offerings and the ease of remote learning, the appeal of having a cohort and sharing experiences has drawn students back on campus — from boarding schools to post- secondary institutions around the world — overcoming travel risks and quarantine times to be part of a physical learning group. The shared experience is integral to education. Peer-learning accounts for many aspects of student development.
An environment where students can come together and work as teams will foster problem-solving and communication, skills that are always in demand by businesses. The holistic learning that comes from being inside the classroom, developing a real life social network on campus, is hard to replicate through remote alternatives.
Vancouver Island is an attractive place for students, given the incredible public health efforts during the pandemic by the government and Island Health, allowing educational institutions to offer world-class campus experiences despite health concerns.
Another advantage of the campus experience is the international cohort, contributing to a formative experience for students and enriching communities. Diversity on the Island’s campuses is fostered carefully, with much effort put into widespread recruitment. Being in the classroom can create a more equitable environment, removing inequalities of lifestyle broadcast through Zoom sessions.
Forward-thinking institutions are rebuilding the student experience to ensure that quality learning remains great, despite changes in the landscape. The campus experience undoubtedly now exists in both the digital and physical environments, but institutions that can find a symbiotic or mutually beneficial balance between the two will strengthen their appeal and leverage the value of campus life.