Lessons from the Pandemic

How COVID-19 has accelerated the Pace of Academic Innovation  

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” It’s an old proverb paraphrased from the teachings of Plato. Yet, it is as true today as it was then. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought great tragedy to the world, but it has also forced many sectors to innovate in order to survive during these difficult conditions, higher education being one of them.

Even before the world went on lockdown, ECPI University was developing new educational tools, next-generation simulations that enhance learning and create a more interactive environment. When the pandemic required all students to migrate to remote learning, however, that created a greater sense of urgency and a team of experts got to work. This resulted in new modalities that make the virtual learning environment even more active and engaging.

Many of these technologies will continue to be employed after COVID because they have proven to be valuable tools for online students and provide opportunities for on-campus students to reinforce what they learn in the classroom. One such example is ECPI University’s new eCity. Like any city, the eCity has people, homes, and businesses. It also grows and changes over time. In this new virtual environment, students in programs throughout the University will be able enter this community and participate in various exercises and projects, both individually or as part of a team.

For example, the College of Business has created a virtual company that develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes a variety of products. In this simulated environment, business students will be able to experience a more active form of learning that engages the visual and auditory senses in a way that a printed case study simply cannot. Moreover, it is envisioned that this virtual company will begin offering cross-disciplinary opportunities for students in the College of Technology. Engineering students will become involved in various manufacturing functions and Computer and Information science students in the IT department, setting up servers, establishing protocols, and defending the network from hackers. In this way, these simulated conditions will be threaded throughout the curriculum.   

ECPI University’s eCity is still in its early stages, but the potential is clear. eCity will give faculty members the capability to present students with an exciting array of new challenges and change conditions on the fly. Read on to learn about some of the other ways ECPI University is reimagining delivery models and creating a more engaging learning environment.

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