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How COVID Changed What We Expect From Higher Ed

A year in review. A summer of all of 2020 in EdTech.

2020 EdTech Recap

The headlines at the beginning of the year were vastly different from how we are ending the year:

Employers influencing the higher ed landscape:

  • Employers want workers who are flexible and strong leaders. Link

  • New partnerships between corporations and universities are emerging. Link

New models of learning are being considered in higher ed:

  • The way gamers learn from each other online ‘could be future direction’ for student engagement by universities. Link

  • Some universities are re-imagining the four-year learning model. Link

  • AI, virtual reality, and other innovations in technology are changing the landscape of higher ed. Link

COVID’s evolving role in Higher Ed:


  • UNESCO has been monitoring global school closures in response to COVID-19 - report that schools in China started closing as early as February 8, 2020. Link

  • Schools in Asia started closing at a national level due to COVID-19 mid-February (2/14/2020). Link

  • By the end of February, U.S. universities had started cancelling study abroad programs in Italy (2/26/2020). Link


  • In early March, COVID-19 became a real threat for many Americans.The U.S. started planning for national school closures (3/6/2020). Link

  • The bleak reality of what college closures means for low-income and disadvantaged students became all the more clear (3/11/2020). Link

  • The security and privacy of Zoom started to be questioned as “Zoombombers” entered the scene (3/26/2020). Link

  • Many educators weighed in on how the current form of distance learning is not representative of what successful online learning looks like (3/27/2020). Link


  • Critiques on Zoom and synchronous teaching (4/2/2020). Link

  • Boston University is the first school to announce they may not reopen their campus in the fall and remain online (4/11/2020). Link

  • Colleges and universities offer virtual study abroad programs (4/11/2020). Link

  • Universities experience significant losses, resulting in a different approach to their budgeting for the next fiscal year (4/20/2020). Link


  • Self-reflection by an ed-tech skeptic on their teaching experience during the COVID-19 crisis (5/28/2020). Link

  • Boston University’s plans for hosting a virtual new student orientation (5/29/2020). Link


  • Invite students to be at the center of decision making for the fall (6/5/2020). Link

  • Can you create online learning communities? (6/11/2020). Link


  • How Spring’s transition to remote learning is shaping how universities plan fall (7/1/2020). Link

  • Colleges are getting creative in attempts to retain students (7/16/2020). Link

  • The investment in remote learning due to COVID-19 could increase online offerings in the future (7/21/2020). Link


  • * Various reopening models for roughly 3000 universities (9/21/20). Link

  • * Several colleges were met with strikes over fall reopening plans (9/8/20). Link

  • * Online learning programs will have to differentiate their student experience offerings to make it “worth” the price tag (9/2/20). Link


  • “Overall undergraduate enrollment is running 4 percent below last year’s levels” (10/15/20) - Link

  • Emotional wellbeing tops problems for college students (10/15/20) - Link

  • Students are not satisfied with remote learning (10/6/20) - Link

  • Around 10% of students report losing a loved one to COVID this fall (10/15/20) - Link


  • Schools are lowering tuition. (10/30/20) - Link

  • Student impressions of online learning improve slightly. (11/13/20) -  Link

  • Debate heats up over test monitoring tools. (11/13/20) -  Link


  • More students are invited to return to campuses this spring (12/9/2020)  - Link

  • The need for non-course related community is evident (12/16/20) - Link

  • Federal plans for relief are unclear (12/2/20) - Link

News Outside of COVID:

Racial Justice:

  • 50 libereal arts colleges join together to fight systemic campus racism. (11/12/20) - Link

  • Harvard lawsuit over civil rights law potentially going to Supreme Court. (11/12/20) - Link

  • There is undeniable inequality in the college pipeline. (11/17/20) - Link

  • Academics also went on strike for racial justice (9/9/20). Link

The Election:

  • What Biden as president could mean for higher education. (11/7/20) - Link

  • Biden’s proposal for immigration policy impact on international students. (10/30/20) -  Link

  • Jill Biden to be first First Lady currently working in Higher Ed. (11/12/20) -  Link

Disclaimer: This recap is based on what the Yellowdig team came across in the edtech news media in this month. We do not endorse any 3rd party sources or claim this list is comprehensive.

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