Higher education and student experience under COVID-19

COVID-19 pandemic that has killed thousands of people in many countries and forced many countries to close their borders and citizens to stay at home for several months has come to stay for at least two years according to the World Health Organisation forecast before the vaccine to tackle the pandemic can be fully developed and commercialised. Therefore, educational institutions, businesses and professional bodies are adjusting to a new normal. The question the public and education stakeholders ask is how do we achieve student experience or student engagement in the new normal, especially in developing countries like Nigeria? In this article, I critically examine the elements of student engagement and experiences during the COVID-19 new normal and advance some policy and practical implications.

Innovations in teaching and learning focus on applying a set of well-designed practices intended at engaging students, maintaining social interactions, knowledge sharing and excellent student experience. Several education theories and policies emphasise the need to balance the discourse of psych-sociology of learning and student’s engagement, “sense of belonging” with teaching and learning pedagogy. Students certainly pursue education to gain subject or discipline knowledge, achieve social networking and gain economic benefit by gaining post-study paid employment or self-employment. Student development must combine activities focusing on their experiences from recruitment to graduation.