The future of 4-year colleges?

I hope this below does not happen, because UVa men’s basketball and football have always been religions to me.

I was exchanging emails with a UVa college fundraiser yesterday, and I told him/her that this pandemic may make people re-think how a college education should be received. In other words, universities said, “We would not play intercollegiate basketball/football if students were not on campus.” Well, they were wrong. The games are being played and the non-athletes are taking classes online. So, will parents still feel that their kids need the old-fashioned college experience? Why pay for a dorm room, go to fraternity parties, buy heavy, overpriced textbooks, drive home and back on weekends, eat at a student cafeteria, when the parents can save money by letting their child take all of his classes online? In the past, online colleges were looked on as giving inferior degrees. The pandemic may have changed that.

What will that do to big-time college basketball and football? I’m sure UVa will continue to have football and men’s basketball teams. But I predict that all other men’s teams will be scrapped to be able to still follow Title IX. I hope my prediction is wrong. Does anyone know how many employees Carla Williams had to lay off recently?

**Will students still want to leave the house to go to college? Last week, China recently honored the scientist who may have discovered and then “accidentally” let out the virus that causes COVID-19. She makes it sound like we may have to get used to our present way of life as the norm- **

"Despite intelligence probes into whether her laboratory may have been responsible for the outbreak, Dr. Shi is forging ahead with her research, which she argues is more important than ever in preventing a new pandemic. She said she plans to head a national project to systemically sample viruses in bat caves. She estimated that there are more than 5000 coronavirus strains “waiting to be discovered in bats globally.”

Frankly, to really dive into the first half of the question, you would need to write out a twenty page paper to really scratch the surface of it.

And honestly, no matter what conclusion you come to in the first part of the question, it’s impact on sports is impossible to predict because by the time those changes either manifest or don’t manifest, college sports will have changed so much from a paying players and conference realignment perspective that that it’s sorta a moot point


Well my daughter is a fourth year and I can yell you as a parent I in no way think the online education she has received is remotely equivalent to what she had her first two years. If academics are the focus, Zoom U isn’t going to cut it. If your focus is a degree, not an education, perhaps you are more likely to look for a lesser expensive, online option. But they were there before COVID. Athletic effect, I have no idea, but I suspect in the long term not much.


Online school straight up sucks. If my family and I have the money and it’s safe enough to do so there’s no way I’m not going to college in person, but that’s just me lol.


Yeah, as a parent watching my kids with on-line school, I almost feel the opposite of the OP’s point. With college tuition continually going up I’ve questioned whether it was time to shift more societal resources to trade schools and JCs (and I do still feel this is the case). But Covid-19 has really shown the importance of in-person school vs on-line (at least for conventional schooling. If I was working on a degree part time after work this might be different). And also really made me appreciate sports all the more after they went away for a while.

I’m sure this past year has kicked off some new serious trends that will become clearer in the years to come (like increased telecommuting and the attractiveness of smaller towns and cities vs living in NYC/LA/Chicago/etc), and accelerated some that were already happening (the strength of Amazon, the companies that do streaming entertainment, etc). But its also made clear some things that maybe looked like trends but at least at the moment don’t really work super well like on-line schooling. And that it sucks to go months barely interacting with anyone.


Yes, speaking from experience, zoom school is straight up awful. I don’t know how else to say it. I haven’t met a single person who likes learning in this environment, and I have met a single person that likes teaching in this environment. And I’m just in high school - I can’t imagine what college/university is like. Imagine everything they’re missing out on…
I can’t imagine a single person would want this. With that said, it’s out of our control. But…100% DO NOT RECOMMEND keeping this. If you do prefer it though, to each’s own.


Honestly I have to agree with a lot of the sentiment on this board. I come from a family of educators so our discussions often revolve around these topics. I can remember 10 or so years ago as Blackboard and other online tools were becoming common place in colleges, my mom who was the president at a college at the time, mentioning how she’d like to see the online route explored more because of the possibilities it could open from the schools standpoint and from the students. I tended to agree with her. However, after a year of COVID it’s interesting to see how her opinion along with many others has shifted. There’s an intangible value to in person learning and even watching my nieces who are elementary school age seeing them online makes it obvious they are missing out on the aspects of school they enjoy and as a result not fully embracing the opportunity because it doesn’t suit them. Obviously there is no one size fits all.

While I am a big believer that traditional 4-year college is not for everyone. And an even bigger believe that the price tag on 4 yr schools is beyond insane (predicted UVa will run me 94k in total expense a yr for my daughter in 17 yrs). I do think the traditional in-person experience is an important one. Personally, the growth and lessons I learned from college had little to do with the classroom or the degree (Poli Sci maj with a business minor, and I work in digital marketing). The lessons I learned were from the interactions and exposure to new people places and things. If I stay home and learn on a computer I don’t get the opportunity to be exposed to new things and expand and push my comfort zone.


Yeah, you said it. These tools such as Blackboard, Canvas, PowerSchool, zoom, and others are great tools but there needs to be a steady balance between those and actual real life. In an ideal world, everything works out perfectly, uva won March madness last year, and there’s a great balance of everything… but I couldn’t probably count on my fingers what’s ideals about this world we’re living in now


I think having classes online obviously makes it more accessible for more people, but as a current college student, I don’t know a single person who would choose the online experience over the in-person experience. Quality of online just doesn’t compare.


While I tend to agree, I think to say that online education does not work is an overgeneralization. I graduated medical school a couple years pre-pandemic but 90% of us were watching our lectures at home. We all used premium (read: non-free) on-demand educational resources such as lectures and question banks to study and learn. These resources were of a consistent high quality that eclipsed whatever was lost in the impersonalization. I propose that the age and maturity of the learner and the subject matter are important considerations when deciding how much of a curriculum can be shifted online without detriment. Grad schools and STEM majors would be ideal candidates to be largely remote, with the exception of labs.


Yeah, I never said that it doesn’t work; there’s certainly data to prove that it does, but it’s certainly not mine (or anyone that I’ve talked to’s) first choice. I can imagine that the situation is similar for most people trying to work in this environment right now. Good for you if has worked for you though.

I think that’s a great point. Honestly I think a lot of it has to do with the curriculum. Certain things lend themselves to fitting the online model. In the case of grad or med school, the assumption can be made you’ve had the traditional 4 yr experience and you’re in a different point of your life and really zeroing in on something. That’s a very different mindset than the typical incoming first year.

As with all things, you cannot make broad sweeping generalizations. As I’ve said 1,000 times, this is why I do not believe in absolutes. You can always find an exception.

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This is a very good point. There’s definitely no right or wrong to this, and this changes on a case-to-case basis. I’m just saying that from personal experience and from what I’ve heard talking to other people, this isn’t ideal for our or their situation

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